Five Factors preview: WKU vs. FAU

Western Kentucky looks to be a road favorite at Florida Atlantic this Saturday

Western Kentucky looks to be a road favorite at Florida Atlantic this Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 11:00 a.m. CT.

Read below for an advanced statistical breakdown.


Explosiveness:

• Yards per play—WKU 6.6 (No. 12 in FBS,) FAU 5.1 (No. 90 in FBS.)

• Points per play—WKU 0.494 (No. 19 in FBS,) FAU 0.331 (No. 89 in FBS.)

• Yards per play allowed—FAU 6.1 (No. 100 in FBS,) WKU 6.3 (No. 110 in FBS.)

• Points per play allowed—FAU 0.454 (No. 95 in FBS,) WKU 0.466 (No. 99 in FBS.)


Just how large a gap is in those numbers? Maybe the biggest I’ve seen this year for WKU.

Let’s pretend both teams run 75 plays in an average game. WKU outgains FAU by 1.5 ypp on offense, FAU allows 0.2 ypp less than WKU, creating a +1.3 margin in favor of the Tops.

If both teams run 75 plays, multiply by 1.3--That’s a 98-yard advantage for WKU in the game. Pretty significant.

WKU scores 0.163 more points per play than FAU, FAU allows 0.012 less per play than WKU, for a +0.151 margin in favor of WKU.

Again, over 75 plays—0.151 x 75 is 11.32 points in favor of WKU. VERY significant.

It’s important to note strength of schedule here though. FAU’s had to play two very tough teams already this year in Nebraska and Alabama.

Advantage--WKU.


Efficiency:

Advantage--Tossup. I would bet that WKU’s numbers are decently-sized better here, but unfortunately we don’t have access to FAU’s raw success rate numbers. WKU’s offensive success rate is one of the best in the country, but the defense allows one of the worst.


Field Position:

Football Outsiders has a metric that combines several field position stats, ranking Florida Atlantic above average (No. 41 in FBS,) and WKU also above average (No. 47 in FBS.)

Advantage--Tossup


Finishing Drives:

WKU’s converted 65 percent of their redzone possessions into touchdowns, compared to 59 percent for FAU. Garrett Schwettman is 5-for-7 on field goal attempts outside the 30-yard line, FAU kicker Greg Joseph is 5-for-8 outside the 30-yard line.

Advantage--Tossup. WKU is slightly ahead here, but the difference is marginal.


Turnovers:

WKU’s gained 8 turnovers this year and committed 5, for a +3 margin. FAU’s gained 8 turnovers and committed 10, for a -2 margin.

Advantage--Tossup. Similar to finishing drives, WKU is slightly ahead here. But not a huge differential either way when looking at just one game between the two.


Summary: So most of the categories slightly favor WKU, but in the end are tossups, with the most important (explosiveness) being largely in favor of the Tops.

Give me WKU 38, FAU 34.


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