TO KNEE OR NOT TO KNEE?

Arizona Stadium, Tucson Arizona. Casey Skowron kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give Arizona a 27-26 victory in what was a heartbreaking loss to Washington fans on Saturday.

Defeat was snatched so quickly from the jaws of victory that it felt like I had just dropped my iPhone 6 Plus, which, by the way, is a whale of a phone. The following is for adults only:

Washington (6-5, 2-5 Pac-12) was running out the clock but rather than take a knee -- three times, say, and run the scoreboard down to 6 seconds and fourth down -- the Huskies handed the pigskin off to running back Deontae Cooper, who was stripped of the ball by Tra'Mayne Bondurant. Derrick Turituri recovered for No. 14 Arizona (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) at the Washington 45 with 1:23 to go; and then the gut-wrenching loss was played out on the desert stage, as in "to knee or not to knee," which turns out to be our coaching staff's newest hit tragedy. At least my iPhone is insured against LOSS and meltdown.

In regards to eschewing the old take-a-knee-play, the Seattle Times quoted Washington coach Chris Peterson as saying, "Well, with our chart we felt like we had to run the ball again and get a first down. They had one timeout left and that’s the information we got.”

“All you can tell ‘em (is), that’s how the game needs to be played. You need to go out and you need to play that hard and bring it every snap, and we did that. When you do that, you give yourself a chance to deserve to win. That doesn’t mean you’re always going to win, but you give yourself a chance, put yourself in position to do that. And they did that, and against a good team. You make too many errors, too many turnovers, too many penalties — that catches up with you. And eventually, it’s going to slip away.”

The coup de grâce: Poor clock management, so it seems, and a comedy of errors

The Good

-- Won OL efficiency battle 209.657 to 149.901
-- Out-rushed UA 245 yards to 133 yards
-- Out-gained UA 504 yards to 375 yards
-- Pass efficiency rating of 153.52 to 83.32
-- Cyler Miles ran for 34 yards and passed for 223 yards with a PE 133.56
-- Miles threw a beautiful lateral to Marvin Hall who completed a 36-yard TD pass
-- Four out of six kickoffs were touchbacks
-- Made 13 of 22 third down conversions
-- Won TOP 36:05 to 23:55
-- Dwayne Washington had 19 carries for 148 yards (7.8 ypc) and 2 TDs
-- Danny Shelton had 9 tackles and 1 sack
-- The coaching staff had the players highly motivated and they played their guts out


The Bad


--  First time in two years UW has won OL efficiency battle and lost game
-- Three turnovers, the last of which cost UW the game
-- Thirteen penalties for 111 yards
--  Blown try for point


The Ugly


-- Scoreboard, Baby, and the questionable chart.

The QB efficiency ratings on the game follow:

QB School PA C YDS I TD Eff. Rate
Marvin Hall UW 1 1 36 0 1 732,4
Cyler Miles UW 29 20 223 1 0 133.56
Anu Solomon UA 39 17 242 2 0 85.46
Team UA 1 0 9 0 0 0.0
               
               

Computing a hypothetical per game offensive line efficiency

Our hypothetical measure is a function of a team's passing efficiency rating, its rushing yards per carry, its rushing touchdowns, its offensive line's penalty yards and its sacks allowed. That is,

OLE = PEO + YPC * X + RT * Y - OLPY - 5 * SA

Where PEO = pass-efficiency offense; YPC = yards per carry; x and y = normalizing numbers; RT = rushing touchdowns; OLPY = offensive line penalty yards; SA = Sacks Allowed

UW Offensive line efficiency = 153.52 + 4.1 * 20.57 + 2 * 5.9 - 30 -10 = 209.657

UA Offensive line efficiency = 83.32 + 3.3 * 20.57 + 3*5.9 - 9 - 10 = 149.901

(*) The normalizing numbers X=20.57 and Y=5.09 were chosen so that YPC plus RT would be equivalent to a Passing Efficiency Rating of 100. X and Y are the averages for the Pac-12 stats involving YPC (X = 90/4.375) and RT (Y = 10/1.96) for the 2013 season. The numbers 90 and 10 were chosen so that YPC would have more weight in the computation than RT; the numbers 4.375 and 1.96 are the Pac-12 averages for YPC and RT. To guard against a meaningless rating resulting from a limited number of carries, the normalizing number x needs to be restricted. For one, if the number of carries is less than z then set x=1, with the value of z yet to be determined. Alternatively, the value of the factor ypc * x could be controlled in a similar way to the limits placed on the NFL's passer rating computation.

More specifically, the equation for OLE is a function of 10 metrics:

Pass attempts (PA)

Pass completions (PC)

Yards passing (TY)

Number of passing touchdowns (TD)

Number of interceptions (I)

Yards per carry (YPC; sack yardage figures into the calculation)

Rushing touchdowns (RT)

Offensive line penalty yards. (OLPY)

Sacks Allowed (SA)

The values for x and y (Pac-12 averages for the 2013 season)

The complete equation is as follows:

OLE = (TY*8.4+PC*100+TD*330-I*200)/PA + YPC * X + RT * Y - OLPY - 5 * SA

Complete Statistics

Team 1 2 3 4 Total

Washington

7 10 9 0 26

Arizona

7 14 0 6 27

 

Category

UW

UA

1. Ball Control                                                                                 

Time of Poss.

36:05 23:55

3rd-down conversions

13 of 22 3 of 15

4th-down conversions

0 of 0 1 of 2

First downs

25 22
Total Offensive Plays  90 80

2. Blocking and Tackling

Rushing Offense

245 133

Passing Offense

259 242

Pass Eff Offense

153.52 83.32

Total Offense

504 375

Sacks By

2 2

3. Mistakes

Penalties

13-111 2-14

Turnovers

3 3

4. Field Position

Kickoff Returns

3-50-0 2-45-0

Punt Returns

3-2-0 0-0-0

Punting average per punt

45.0 44.5

Average Yards Per Kickoff

64.0 58.6

Net Yards Per Kickoff

39.8 38.6

Kickoff touchbacks

4 2

5. Scoreboard, Baby

Field Goals

2-3 2-2

Redzone Offense

3-4 4-5

Points For

26 27

 

 

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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