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Monday, May 14, 2007

How Important is Maurice Purify

I finished charting the 2006 season this weekend. As a result, we get to see some findings from my first level of analysis. With Purify’s assault dominating Nebraska coverage, I decided to attempt to determine his relative worth to the team.

On the surface Purify had 34 catches for 630 yards and 7 TDs in 2006. He averaged 18.53 yards/catch. He also carried the ball one time for 1 yard and threw a 28-yard TD pass to Terrence Nunn against Missouri.

He was also responsible for perhaps the greatest moment of the 2006 season. I’ll take any excuse to post this again.

All of that is great, but doesn’t really tell the whole story. For that we need to go a little deeper. When I did that, I was a little shocked by what I found.

First, of Purify’s 34 catches, 29 went for either a first down or a touchdown. In other words 85% of Mo’s receptions either moved the chains or put points on the board. That is pretty much unbelievable.

Purify was perhaps even more impressive on 3rd down. For me this is where a go-to wide receiver earns his keep. In Mo’s case, Nebraska leaned on him big time on 3rd down. Here is what his third down numbers look like.

Nebraska threw to Purify 23 times on 3rd down and he made the reception 14 times. Of those 14 completions, 11 moved the chains and three resulted in touchdowns. These are just amazing numbers on third down for any receiver, yet alone a JUCO transfer in his first year in the offense.

And if you weren’t already impressed enough the average distance Nebraska faced on third down on Purify’s completions was 6.06 yards.

So. yeah, if Purify misses any time next season we can more than assume that Nebraska will miss him. Especially come third down.