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Auburn's Fumbles Were As Costly As 204 Yards And Three TDs

Illustration for article titled Auburns Fumbles Were As Costly As 204 Yards And Three TDs

Last week, Auburn forced a few turnovers late in the game to escape with a win over Ole Miss. This week Auburn had a few turnovers in critical situations in what resulted in two of the most detrimental plays of the week, according to data from fantasy sports app Pivit.

Pivit tracked in-game Win Probability for all college football games involving ranked teams this weekend. Their Win Probability is similar to Brian Burke's and accounts for time remaining, down, distance, and score. But Pivit's model places more emphasis on team strength, adjusting for the wild variation among college football teams.

With just under three minutes remaining, Auburn was a yard away from scoring a go-ahead touchdown. But Nick Marshall fumbled, which lowered Auburn's Win Probability 49 percentage points from 76 percent to 27 percent.


Texas A&M was unable to run the clock out and Auburn got the ball back. But Auburn fumbled again after miscommunication between the quarterback and center. The fumble took away Auburn's chance to at least attempt a game-tying field goal and lowered Win Probability 54 percentage points from 55 percent to 1 percent.

Illustration for article titled Auburns Fumbles Were As Costly As 204 Yards And Three TDs

The two long lines near the end of this chart show how much the fumbles reduced Auburn's Win Probability. Together the fumbles combined for a drop of 103 percentage points. To give a sense of how drastic that is, Auburn's top nine offensive plays in WPA—which combined for 204 yards and three touchdowns—boosted Win Probability 105 percentage points.


Auburn's in-state rival Alabama had two of the most helpful plays of the week in their overtime win over LSU. With just 21 seconds remaining, Blake Sims connected with Devin Smith on a 44-yard pass that set up the game-tying field goal that sent the game into overtime. The play raised Alabama's Win Probability 36 percentage points from 4 percent to 40 percent.

In overtime, Sims threw what ended up being the game winning touchdown pass. It raised Alabama's Win Probability 25 percentage points from 59 percent to 84 percent. It put pressure on LSU to score a touchdown, and led to an Alabama victory when the Tigers were unable to do so.


Below are the most and least helpful plays of the week.

Play Team WPA Qtr Time Down Distance Yd Line
Blake Sims pass to Christion Jones for 22 yards BAMA 0.36 4 0:21 3 4 48
Blake Sims pass to DeAndrew White for 6 yard touchdown BAMA 0.25 OT 1 n/a 2 6 6
Nick Marshall rush for 6 yard touchdown AUB 0.23 4 7:23 1 6 6
J.T. Barrett pass to Michael Thomas for 79 yard touchdown OSU 0.22 2 3:30 1 10 79
Nick Marshall pass to Quan Bray for 32 yard touchdown AUB 0.19 4 15:00 1 7 32
J.T. Barrett pass to Devin Smith for 44 yard touchdown OSU 0.19 2 1:02 2 10 44
T.J. Yeldon run for 3 yards, fumble, recovered by LSU-Kendell Beckwith BAMA -0.65 4 1:20 2 5 94
Nick Marshall rush for one yard loss, fumble recovered by TAM-Alonzo Williams AUB -0.54 4 1:10 1 10 28
Nick Marshall rush for no gain, fumble, recovered by TAM-Julien Obioha AUB -0.49 4 2:49 2 1 1
Daniel Carlson 41 yard field goal attempt is blocked by TAM-Myles Garrett, returned by TAM-Deshazor Everett for a 65 yard touchdown AUB -0.3 2 0:09 4 7 23
Travis Wilson pass to Kaelin Clay for 78 yards, fumbles, recovered by ORE-Joe Walker and returned for 100 yard touchdown UTAH -0.15 2 15:00 3 5 79


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