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LA Tech at UTEP: Advanced Stats Preview

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LA Tech is a damn good football according to the world of advanced stats.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Statistical opposites meet up Saturday afternoon in the Sun Bowl as their respective seasons are also headed in opposite directions.

UTEP will patch together a depth chart rotation at their offensive skill positions, and in the secondary, while LA Tech is locked and loaded for a chance at their first C-USA division title.

Here are some advanced stats that will decide the outcome of this game.

The BIG EDGE

LA Tech has the big edge when it comes to their explosiveness, efficiency, field position, ability to finish drives, and not turning the ball over on offense.

LA Tech's five factors

Offense Defense
Category Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.29 49 1.20 39 1.26
EFFICIENCY Success Rate 50.9% 4 39.7% 55 40.3%
FIELD POSITION Avg. FP 31.0 40 30.2 78 29.8
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 5.48 10 4.51 56 4.65
TURNOVER MARGIN EXPECTED 4.89 24 Turnover Luck (PPG):
-0.45

The Bulldogs IsoPPP which combines the five factors mentioned ranks 49th in the country, while UTEP's defense ranks 128th in this category.

Standard downs IsoPPP is a 1.17 for the Bulldogs which ranks 36th in the nation, while UTEP's defense ranks 124th in standard downs IsoPPP.

The combination of Trent Taylor who has 75 catches for 1,018 yards, Paul Turner, and Carlos Henderson should produce big days against the UTEP secondary. Throw in Jeff Driskel's impressive overall passing numbers and it leads to LA Tech having the 12th best passing success rate in the country.

LA Tech's IsoPPP in the rush game ranks 115th in the nation, but that shouldn't stop Kenneth Dixon from a big day.

UTEP ranks 120th in their IsoPPP rate in allowing explosive/efficient plays in the run game.

LA Tech's score projection is 45.2 according to advanced stats data, if UTEP is unable to force a couple of three-and-outs, with some turnovers, 45 points on the LA Tech side of the scoreboard could be reached by halftime.

What's UTEP's advantage?

It's hard to find an area where UTEP has a legit advantage on LA Tech, but UTEP's passing down IsoPPP is something UTEP can take advantage of, if efficient and balanced play calling allows it.

UTEP ranks 12th in the nation in passing down IsoPPP, although LA Tech ranks 45th in allowing IsoPPP numbers in the passing game.

The UTEP offense will have to rely upon Jaquan White, Tyler Batson, Warren Redix and Autrey Golden as Hayden Plinke who is UTEP's most targeted pass catcher could be out with an MCL injury.

Ryan Metz is averaging 6.7 yards per attempt, but gives UTEP their best option in stretching the field, and creating explosive and efficient plays/drives through the air.

If UTEP can efficiently pass, not turn the ball over, and finish drives with touchdowns through the air, the Miners can keep things interesting with their pass game.

UTEP's passing advanced stats

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Passing S&P+ 79.3 117 80.4 123 100.0
Passing Success Rate 37.5% 92 43.5% 92 40.3%
Passing IsoPPP 1.58 38 1.78 124 1.48
Adj. Sack Rate 262.4 5 96.7 66 100

What should translate the most?

LA Tech's defensive footprint should stand out the most on Saturday.

The Bulldogs have an overall havoc rate of 19.2% which is the 19th best havoc rate in the nation.

While the UTEP offensive line has done a great job in pass protection, UTEP's stuff rate on runs has steadily rose over the past couple of weeks. LA Tech's stuff rate ranks 12th in the nation as they stack up rush attempts 25.6% of the time.

Throw in a few injuries to center Eric Lee, and uncertainty at right guard, the UTEP offensive line will be challenged against a talented front six that will also blitz in creating more havoc.

The UTEP offensive line is only creating 2.7 yards per attempt in UTEP's run attack, while LA Tech has only allowed opposing offensive lines to average 2.3 yards per carry.

UTEP wants to win every game in the trenches, LA Tech will make sure the Miners will have to earn every yard starting up front.

LA Tech's Defensive Footprint

Team Rk Nat'l Average
Std. Downs Run Rate 55.4% 103 59.8%
Pass. Downs Run Rate 23.6% 126 33.5%
Overall Havoc Rate 19.2% 19 16.1%
DL Havoc Rate 6.6% 27 5.1%
LB Havoc Rate 4.3% 66 4.5%
DB Havoc Rate 8.1% 17 6.4%
PD to INC 35.4% 37 32.6%

Impressive numbers that standout.

First off, Jeff Driskel has 346 pass attempts with a sack rate of 3.9% which is absolutely impressive.

In the run game, the LA Tech offensive line gives running back Kenneth Dixon 7.3 yards when it comes to big play opportunities in his 144 rushes on the season.

LA Tech wide receiver Trent Taylor has been targeted 96 times with a catch rate of 78.1%, and averages 13.6 yards per catch. That's what you call #production as a wideout.

UTEP's passing down sack rate is at 1.6 percent, and ranks third in the country.  If UTEP can give Ryan Metz a clean pocket, UTEP will have a chance to move the ball.

Even though UTEP hasn't been very successful to the run game eye test, UTEP's power success rate in the run ranks 43rd in the nation.  With the amount of injury issues UTEP has had at running back, this says the offensive line, and running backs are still getting the job done when it comes to the power run game.

Prediction

UTEP has a 6% chance of beating LA Tech, and the projected score according to advanced stats is LA Tech 45.2, UTEP 17.7.

Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Win
Probability
Proj.
W-L
Proj.
Margin
Proj.
Score
Cumulative
Proj. Wins
21-Nov Louisiana Tech 35 6% L -27.4 17.7 - 45.2 4.06