Sugar Bowl Recap: Texas vs Georgia 2018 - NinosCorner™ Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sugar Bowl Recap: Texas vs Georgia 2018

Sugar Bowl Recap:  Texas vs Georgia 2018
by B.R. Battle
Longhorn fans...what a season this was!  Who would have thought that this Texas team would have finished with 10 wins and emerge as Sugar Bowl champions with a dominant win over SEC powerhouse Georgia?   After the initial loss to Maryland, I'm not sure many of us thought that this team could accomplish such feats. Many were wondering whether or not this team had improved since their 7-6 record from the 2017 season.  Some fans questioned if Ehlinger was truly the quarterback to lead this team to heights it has not seen in over a decade. Many clamored to insert the more accurate passer in Shane Buechele.  Others began to think Texas may have given Defensive Coordinator, Todd Orlando, too hefty of a pay raise before showcasing continued success.  Well, the majority of those doubts were silenced throughout this season, especially in the culmination of last night's game.

Coming into this game, I thought that Georgia would have a decisive advantage with both lines of scrimmage.  I will admit it...I fell into the trap that the SEC lines of scrimmage would be much more physical and larger than that of the Big 12.  What I failed to realize is that Blue Blood programs, such as Texas, continually recruit at a higher level than most, regardless of recent success, or lack there of. The Longhorns were physically more dominant than Georgia in every aspect of the game.  To elaborate on this, let's dive into the analysis of the game.

BattleStat Number Definition
The BattleStat Number (BSN) for the analysis of a team showcases how efficient a team is by calculating the offensive and defensive productivity of a team. These numbers are categorized into two sections…Offense (BSN-OFF) and Defense (BSN-DEF). To calculate the BSN-OFF and BSN-DEF, Offense and Defense Success Rates (OSR and DSR) will be analyzed to illustrate how successful and effective a team is.  OSR and DSR are calculated by accomplishing successful plays.  Successful plays occur when a play gains enough yardage to keep an offense progressing towards a 1st down (50% of yardage on 1st down, 70% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd/4th down).  A higher number equates to a better overall score.

Offensively, Texas beat Georgia at their own game. The Longhorns were the more physical team and imposed their will on the Georgia defense.  The Texas offense outplayed the Bulldog offense for the majority of the game...tallying a BSN-OFF of 44.6 points compared to Georgia's 43.6 points.  The Longhorns went ahead 20 - 7 over the first half and never looked back.

A key component to the Bulldog's offense is their ability to create explosive plays.  For comparison, over the course of the season, Georgia completed 14 plays of 50 yards or more, while the Longhorns completed none.  Texas limited the Bulldogs to 6 explosive plays, with none coming in the 1st and 3rd quarters.  Ironically, these are the 2 quarters in which the Texas offense continued their push to control the game. During the 4th quarter, Georgia attempted a late comeback; however, their efforts were a little too late.

A true surprise from the Georgia offense was their inability to run the ball.  The Bulldogs rushed for only 72 yards, at an average of 2.4 yards per carry.  This is a huge drop-off from their season average of over 250 rushing yards per game.  On the contrary, Texas rushed for 178 yards for an average of 3.6 yards per carry.  The more telling stat is that the Longhorns rushed the ball 49 times.  When Texas rushes the ball more than 40 times under the Tom Herman regime, the Longhorns are undefeated ar a 10 - 0 rate.

Just as with the offensive side of the ball, the Texas defense outplayed the Georgia defense the entire night.  Again, the Longhorns were the more physical team, especially on the defensive line.  Additionally, the Texas secondary was outstanding.  With the absence of defensive back Caden Sterns, I thought that there would have been a slight decrease in defensive productivity; however, the emergence of fellow true freshman BJ Foster's on-field play was exceptional.  Texas will have a top 3 safety tandem in 2019 and 2020 with this talented safety duo.

The Longhorns compiled a 49.3 point BSN-DEF score, which is more than 4 points higher than the NCAA average.  Georgia, in comparison, posted a 39.4 point BSN-DEF...well below the NCAA average.  Usually, a team has at least one quarter in which they were above the NCAA average; however, Georgia was below the average in every quarter.  This metric was mind boggling, to say the least.

I have one theory in regards to how well the Longhorn defense played. Texas is used to dealing with Big 12 offenses that have the ability to score with ease...usually in a span of 2 minutes or less.  Georgia's SEC paced offense slows down play selection and execution.  In my opinion, this gives the Longhorn defense the opportunity to settle into their defensive sets and proactively respond to an offense, as opposed to being reactionary to speedy "air-raid" schemes.  The difference between Texas and other Big 12 teams is that Texas has the athletes that can stack up with SEC offenses.  Once mi]ore depth is built through recruiting, this Longhorn team will be competing for CFB championships soon.

QB Comparison
Sam Ehlinger completely outplayed Jake Fromm in the Sugar Bowl. Although Fromm posted a higher passing Success Rate, Ehlinger posted a rushing Success Rate 35% higher than Fromm, who posted a 0% rushing Success Rate over 5 carries.  Ehlinger's ability to make plays with his legs is what separated him from Fromm throughout the game.  His determination and grit led him to 3 rushing touchdowns that were essential to Texas winning this game.  The future is bright with Ehlinger at the helm over the next 2 years on the 40 acres.

Enjoy the win...and Hook Em

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