Run Affinity: An Analysis - The Basics (Thru Purdue)

Run Affinity: An Analysis - The Basics (Thru Purdue)

Submitted by Noleverine on November 20th, 2010 at 2:43 AM

So, I had some spare time at work and decided to look into something that I have been wondering for a while: does it seem like Rich Rod sticks to the run too much, even in games where we are losing?  At this point I’m sure you all know RR likes to run the ball—duh.  But how often, exactly, does he run the ball?

This analysis is just a basic overview of my dataset.  I will follow up with more in-depth looks at point margins and down and distance, but I thought you all might be interested to see basic percentages for our offense through Purdue.  If anyone has anything specific regarding playcalling vs. score margin vs. down and distance, let me know and I will see what I can do.

A few notes and stipulations on the dataset: 

1.) All data is taken from Brian’s UFRs for games this season. 

2.) Analysis stopped at end of UFR, so if Brian didn’t include it in his UFR (i.e. blowouts), it is not in my analysis.  If Brian doesn’t think its worth looking at, well, neither do I.

3.) Plays in which either team got a penalty are included ONLY IF the ball was snapped, since if it didn’t, we can’t know what play was called.

4.) Every snap weighted the same regardless of time left in half/game, because my thought process, we are almost as likely to run the ball in a 2 minute drill as the rest of the game (almost, though not quite).

5.)2 pt. conversions left out.

Disclaimer: 4th down numbers are not very accurate due to low sample size.

Now, for a chart:


  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 230 103 69.1%
2nd Down 150 108 58.1%
3rd Down 44 92 32.4%
4th Down 6 7 46.2%
Total 430 310 58.1%

A few things here are obvious.  First, RR likes to run on 1st down (69.1% of the time).  His affinity for running decreases every down, with the exception of 4th down.  Most of the runs on 4th down are 4th and short, and the passes 4th and long.

Next, we will take a look at the distribution when the game is tied:

Tie Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 51 21 70.8%
2nd Down 33 18 64.7%
3rd Down 8 16 33.3%
4th Down 1 2 33.3%
Total 93 57 62.0%

What we see here is that RR is more likely to run the ball on every down when the game is tied than his average, except fourth down.  

Now, we look at when we are winning the game:

Winning Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 115 31 78.8%
2nd Down 78 43 64.5%
3rd Down 23 45 33.8%
4th Down 2 1 66.7%
Total 218 120 64.5%

So, RR is more likely to run when we are winning, though not to a statistically significant level except on 1st down.

And when we are losing:

Losing Game
  Run Pass % Run
1st Down 50 51 49.5%
2nd Down 39 47 45.3%
3rd Down 11 31 26.2%
4th Down 3 4 42.9%
Total 103 133 43.6%

So, RR is much less likely to run on all downs (except 4th) when we are losing.  

This data all flushes out pretty much as expected, but I thought I'd share anyway.  In the next edition, I will analyze run-calling affinity per down based on score margin.  Stay tuned, folks for all upcoming editions of 2010 Playcalling so far: An Analysis.

P.S. If anyone is interested in seeing my whole dataset for validation or to do your own analysis, please leave a comment/message me (can you message people on here?) and I will be pleased to share!

EDIT: Title and Tags edited to be more informative

Fascinating (and long) read on corruption at Auburn

Fascinating (and long) read on corruption at Auburn

Submitted by BoMoLloRo on November 19th, 2010 at 11:50 PM
With the expected caveat that this comes from the internet (and sorry to diverge from UM FB per se), a friend just sent this to me - It is a long read on the current Auburn situation, but extremely fascinating and makes all the hullabaloo over the last year regarding M's practice violations seem like a tinklely afterthought. If any of this is remotely true, I am glad I am not an Auburn fan. Link is

Moving Picture Pages - More Throwing Rock

Moving Picture Pages - More Throwing Rock

Submitted by Chris of Dange… on November 19th, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Original Picture Pages is at  As always, text and analysis courtesy of Brian.

This is actually an instance of 'N+2 in the box' (where N is the number of available Michigan blockers) executed by Purdue, holding Vincent Smith to a six-yard gain despite all the linemen getting good blocks.  By walking down both safeties, Purdue creates an 8-to-6 overmatch in the box. 


Wha'hoppon: Michigan has the ball on their own 43 to start their final drive of the first half.  They run a zone stretch left.  Kerrigan at left DE rushes straight upfield and is blocked by Huyge.  It looks like Denard may have a keeper option to the right, but he reads the safety staying down low and hands off to Smith.  Omameh blows the backside DT off the ball, Molk gets a good reach block on the playside DT, Schilling helps Molk get that reach block and then releases to go after an LB.  Lewan kicks the playside DE out, and Koger takes out the other playside LB.  HOWEVA, because Huyge stayed in to block Kerrigan, LB Will Lucas is free to flow down the line and tackle Smith after a gain of six yards.

NCAAFB: Fresno State @ Boise State

NCAAFB: Fresno State @ Boise State

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on November 19th, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Getting this up early, about 1.5 hours to gametime.

Only one game on the schedule tonight  (9:30p ET) as we get some WAC-tion. Fresno State comes in as a massive underdog. How much you ask? The line is Boise State -30.

Fresno State isn't quite the WAC power of years past. They enter the year 6-3 overall with a win over Cincinnati and a bunch of crappy teams. They've lost to Ole Miss, a decent-to-good Hawaii team, and a ranked Nevada. The first two losses were both by fairly large margins, but the Bulldogs did put the pressure on Nevada last week, losing just 35-34.

FSU is fairly balanced on offense, averaging 180 yards rushing per game and 219 passing yards. That's 36th and 61st nationally respectively.

Boise State is still Boise State, playing well against bad to meh competition; they're hated by some, lauded by others. No one is right. Boise State hasn't played anyone at their prime. Virginia Tech still looks like a good win, but that was against a VT team that lost to James Madison, not the VT that's gotten it together in time for the ACC. That win against Oregon State - well, Oregon State never proved themselves as good as everyone was hoping.

We all know nothing and are all swayed by hype from one side or the other.

The best way to fix that, watch the game. Watch the Boise game plan rip apart the Fresno defense. Watch Kellen Moore's weak arm drop precision passes against a WAC secondary. Watch Winston Venable eat small children.

But most of all, bitch about that fucking smurf turf and how much epilepsy it causes the nation because that's one thing I think we can all agree on.

FSU to cover. I'll take the over on the ~66.