Countdown to Roses - The Championship Game, OSU vs MSU
I shall repeat this again:
Numbers do not win games, no matter how cleverly they are presented and/or manipulated. Statistics can only give probabilities based on quality data. In the Countdown to Roses post I acknowledged that there were insufficient data for a good analysis. However, I also wrote that I had my spoon ready and I expect the crow to fly.
The biggest question going into the game was which would win: the irresistable force (OSU rushing attack and OSU scoring offense) or the immovable object (MSU rushing defense and MSU scoring defense)?
It would seem the OSU rushing attack won that part of the contest being held back merely 48 yds below average while the MSU rushing defense was pushed around by 198 yards more than their season average. On the other hand, the OSU scoring offense was held to 24 pts, 50% of their season average while the MSU defense was bullied 12 pts (100%) above their season average. The irresistable force was not so irresistable and the immovable object was bent and slipped, but did not break.
In the statistical sense, OSU rushing was held to 85% of their season average, OSU passing was 48% of average, total OSU offense was 70% of average, and OSU scoring was 50% of average. So while the MSU defense got bullied by the OSU rushing (6.8 yards per rush) and scoring, OSU was ultimately stopped.
On the flip side, while MSU rushing was held to 72% of their season average, the MSU passing attack was magnificent at 157% of their season average and posted the best passing yards of the season. MSU total yards was also above average (115%) and so was the scoring (116%). The much maligned MSU passing game gained a respectable 12.7 yards per completion.
Pregame assessments by the media and fans questioned whether or not the MSU defense could stop the "explosive" OSU offense. It seems it did, but OSU had the edge. OSU gained 273 yards rushing, including Miller breaking out for 48, 21, and 24 yards (the other 18 Miller rushes totalled 49 yards, 2.7 yd/carry). But, the MSU defense stood tall and stopped Miller and the OSU rush when it needed to, more than once. OSU was 1 of 10 in 3rd down conversions and 0 of 2 in 4th down attempts.
Pregame assessments also saw the MSU pass defensive scheme as vulnerable and that was proven wrong. The two OSU passes for 20 or more yards did result in a TD (20 yd) and led to a FG (36 yds), but the total passing was held to 101 yards. OSU completed 8 of 23 passing attempts with 6 averaging a pedestrian 7.5 yd/catch.
Others saw it as the MSU offense would have to score on a tough OSU defense with assertions that MSU would need at least 28 points to ensure a win. MSU had 4 TDs, a 72 yard pass, a 33 yard pass, a 26 yard rush, and a 9 yard pass -- 3 big play TDs. As reported, MSU's Langford became the first 100 yard rusher versus the OSU defense. MSU had its season high passing game. MSU scored 34 points.
MSU won the time of possession 32:51 to 27:09.
The MSU special teams matched the OSU special teams. The MSU defense stopped OSU allowing the MSU offense to win the game. In other words, a complete TEAM victory.
The statistical predictions and results follow:
Ohio St. rush offense (No. 2) 321.3 yd/gm versus Michigan St. rush defense (No. 1) 64.8 yd/gm
Prediction: Ohio St. 131 yards rushing (+25/-35 yards) Actual: 273 yds MISSED by +117 yds
Ohio St. pass offense (No. 83) 209.3 yd/gm versus Michigan St. pass defense (No. 9) 172.9 yd/gm
Prediction: Ohio St. 164 yards passing (+54/-52 yards) Actual: 101 yds OFF by - 11 yds (-10%)
Ohio St. scoring offense (No. 3) 48.2 pt/gm versus Michigan St. scoring defense (No. 4) 11.8 pt/gm
Prediction: Ohio St. 20 points (+6/-6 points) Actual: 24 CORRECT PREDICTION
Michigan St. rush offense (No. 47) 186.2 yd/gm versus Ohio St. rush defense (No. 5) 100 yd/gm
Prediction: MSU 112 yards rushing (+20/-33 yards) Actual: 134 yds OFF by +2 yds (+2%)
Michigan St. pass offense (No. 95) 194 yd/gm versus Ohio St. pass defense (No. 98) 255.8 yd/gm
Prediction: MSU 212 yards passing (+67/-66 yards) Actual: 304 yds OFF by +15 yds (+5%)
Michigan St. scoring offense (No. 63) 29.4 pt/gm versus Ohio St. scoring defense (No. 18) 20.3 pt/gm
Prediction: MSU 21 points (+10/-9) Actual: 34 OFF by +3 pts (+10%)
Only 1 of 6 correct (4 of 6 close calls).
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