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Gauging the Ole Miss quarterbacks by offensive success rate

Using some of that 'Good Will Hunting' math to explore the success of Ole Miss' QBs on Saturday.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Let's open things here by stating the obvious that all of the numbers you're about to process took place against what we shall call "mild-to-moderate not good competition." But seeing as it's Wednesday and I'd like to take some time away from obsessing over whether or not Laremy Tunsil will be back for the Alabama game, we're gonna take a look at something called success rate.

If you're unfamiliar with this, it's used to help measure offensive efficiency by determining whether or not a play was successful. What makes a play successful (other than not having the guy behind you scream RUN THE DANG BALL)?

Check out this video from Team Speed Kills:

If clicking play is too much work or you believe all videos on the Internet should just be animals being awesome, here's the basic idea: a play is successful if it gains 50% of the yards to go on first down, 70% of the yards to go on second down, and 100% of the yards to go on third and fourth downs.

As the video similarly points out, a 15-yard run or screen pass on third and 25 will pad the stats nicely, but you're punting after that so it's not really successful unless you enjoy the art of the punt. Also, thanks to that example, you are now having flashbacks to the David Cutcliffe era at Ole Miss.

With all of that information in mind, let's examine the success rates of Ole Miss' quarterbacks (hint: PRETTY GOOD), keeping in mind the average success rate in college football is the low-40% neighborhood. Oh, one more thing: normally we would throw out garbage time stats, but since this game was mostly garbage time stats, I included them up until the final two drives when Ole Miss attempted no passes in an effort to get everyone out of the heat (here's Football Outsider's garbage time definition).

Passing success rates

These only take into account plays in which Ole Miss attempted to pass.

  • Chad Kelly: 15 attempts, 8 successful plays - 53.% success rate
  • DeVante Kincade: 7 attempts, 5 successful plays - 71.4% success rate
  • Ryan Buchanan: 6 attempts, 3 successful plays - 50% success rate

As previously pointed out on this fine site, Kelly's number would certainly be higher (70%-ish) if three of his passes hadn't been dropped. Kincade's numbers are surprising until you recall (as that last link does) he didn't throw it downfield and, you know, UT-Martin.

Overall offensive success rates

These are the total numbers for when each quarterback led the offense, include handing the ball off and watching Jaylen Walton run for a long time.

  • Chad Kelly: 23 plays, 12 successful plays - 52.1% success rate
  • DeVante Kincade: 23 plays, 15 successful plays - 65.2% success rate
  • Ryan Buchanan: 9 plays, 4 successful plays - 44.4% success rate

So what did we learn from today's exercise? Swag was hurt by a few drops, Kincade played well, Buchanan found himself in the meaty part of the success curve, and you just spent the time it takes you to read 500 words not thinking about when Laremy Tunsil will finally get to play.