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Hidden Points- Turnovers

Hidden Points- Turnovers

Lance Roffers
While the focus of the 2019 offseason has been on coaching changes, what will the offense look like under Coach Enos, and who will be the QB, I wanted to focus on some areas where Miami can gain hidden points outside of offensive philosophy.

Last week I went in-depth as to how Miami's punting game impacted their expected points on the season. This week I want to review how Miami fared in the area of turning turnovers into points.

Methodology
As a refresher, I looked into the concept of “expected points." Here is the expected points line for college football last year based on yard-line:
86231


I plotted each yard line with a corresponding point value and it turns out to be an expectation of 5.50 points at the 1-yard line (no extra point included) and, conversely, you are expected to lose 0.50 points from your own 1-yard line.

Capitalizing on Turnovers
Lost in the hysteria and energy from the turnover chain is the fact that Miami has been very poor at converting those turnovers into points on offense.

Housekeeping on how I conducted my results; my turnover numbers will vary from what you see in publications because I am not including return touchdowns by the defense. The defense scores a TD, there is no additional capitalization necessary.

I’m also showing how Miami converted turnovers into points against P5 teams (I.E. peer schools). Finally, I excluded turnovers that are within the last minute of a half or turnovers with a late lead (when the offense just goes into victory formation).

Applying this list of criteria to games against P5 competition, you are left with 13 turnovers forced by the defense that weren’t returned for touchdowns. For those turnovers, based on starting field position, a team would be expected to score 34 points. Miami scored a total of only 24 points in these situations, essentially leaving 10 hidden points behind on the year (not including any extra points).

Miami’s percentage of scoring 71% of expected points off of turnovers finished 60th among 65 P5 teams (including Notre Dame). Here is a chart of Miami’s results in games against P5 opponents (LSU is excluded due to the fact they didn’t force a turnover against them):
86232


The one game they outperformed their expectations drastically was the FSU game where they turned both turnovers into TD’s, and that was essentially what won the game for them. One of the TD’s came on 4th down, so things easily could’ve gone the other way but game script called for the aggressive decision since they were down 27-7 at the time.

Against Duke and Pitt they didn’t score points off of the turnovers caused so you do not see an orange bar reflecting points produced.

Miami averaged only 1.85 points per turnover on offense last year against P5 competition, which finished the year below average at 49th out of 65 teams and exactly one standard deviation below the mean. This is with a significant boost from the 2-for-2 TD's against FSU. The average of 2.65 points per turnover would get us to 34.45 points (which also helps us believe the expected points chart referenced earlier is clearly on the right track overall).

One standard deviation scores 3.44 points per turnover on offense (35 points) and the elite (two standard deviations) score 4.23 points per turnover on offense (55 points). Here is the impact of improving our rate of turning turnovers into points in chart form:
86237


Do I expect Miami to start turning turnovers into points at the rate that Oklahoma did last year? No, I do not, but you can see the impact simply turning opportunities into the expected points of an average offense would make for the team this coming year.

Please join me again next week as I look at the next area of 'Hidden Points' for Miami to improve upon and give themselves the chance to get back into the CFP discussion. As always, if you enjoy my work, please follow me on Twitter @HurricaneVision.
 

Comments (25)

Lance, what is counted when you say there is a negative points expectation if you have the ball at your own 1 yard line? is it just safeties and defensive scores on live offensive plays? I.e., the formula would be expected value of your team scoring less expected value of points the opposing defense is likely to score on your possession?

@Lance Roffers
 
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Good stuff !! I remember watching us get turnovers and hoping ithey would be returned for TDs, then when they weren’t and we came away empty, it was a feeling of frustration.
 
Great write up. Another overlooked factor is how many more points would have been scored on us if it hadn't been for the turnovers we created... we could have lost another couple of more games if weren't for turnovers our defense created..
 
Great write up. Another overlooked factor is how many more points would have been scored on us if it hadn't been for the turnovers we created... we could have lost another couple of more games if weren't for turnovers our defense created..

While true, the year-over-year correlation on turnovers is low. There’s a lot of luck involved in both forcing and losing turnovers.
 
The turnover chain’s effects if any, were simply felt by the defense as we saw during the season, and very little positive came as a result and led to scoring drives your charts confirm. We all knew something needed to change and thank God it did.
Offense that can play with the elite boys of P5 is why Enos was hired... I believe we will see those scoring numbers go up considerably.
 
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Great write-up Lance per usual mate. Definitely changes how one watches college football armed with this statistical fireball.
 
Hey Lance, first off, ty for doing this. Second is, was there any stats to show how many three and outs we had after these turnovers? This combined with our putrid offensive and st play might have left more points on the board that we know. Again, these are awesome!!!

Semper Canes!!!
 
Hey Lance, first off, ty for doing this. Second is, was there any stats to show how many three and outs we had after these turnovers? This combined with our putrid offensive and st play might have left more points on the board that we know. Again, these are awesome!!!

Semper Canes!!!

One of the Hidden Points articles addresses something similar. I’ve written up several and it started getting longer so I decided to break it into bite sized chunks.
 
Gotcha, thanks again, I really do appreciate all your hard work.

Semper Canes!!!
 
Essentially this is a measure of our perfomance against the odds of scoring from any particular point on the field, right? And we underperformed the odds which is not a surprise except that it looks like we were almost 30% worse than the average team. That sucks . . . unless I'm not understanding this correctly.
 
Excellent post!

Failure to turn turnovers into points is an underrated reason why we crumbled down the finish in 2017.

Pitt - Defense recovered 2 fumbles in the first half. Offense went 3 & Out after both.
Clemson - Defense recovered a fumble on Clemson's 2nd possession. Offense went 6 plays for 8 yds and missed a FG.
Wisconsin - Defense recovered a fumble on Wisconsin's 1st possession. Offense went 6 plays for 33 yds and missed a FG.

The Offensive failures after these turnovers sucked the life out the Defense in those games.
 
And people wonder why the defense finally quit in the bowl game.
 
I remember the days when it seemed like whenever we got a turnover, we immediately went for the jugular downfield, and often converted. But yeah this was a major source of frustration. I would guess that even in the 2017 season, if you ran this analysis you'd find that they scored well below expected points.
 
Lance, what is counted when you say there is a negative points expectation if you have the ball at your own 1 yard line? is it just safeties and defensive scores on live offensive plays? I.e., the formula would be expected value of your team scoring less expected value of points the opposing defense is likely to score on your possession?

@Lance Roffers
@Lance Roffers
 

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