Numbers and statistics are a huge part of college football. Every Sunday, reading updated box scores and stats is like Christmas for fans and media members. Some stats like total offense and total defense are overrated, but each help paint a picture for a team or particular game.
Whether the stats are historic, advanced or just an observation from a box score, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 1
10.5: Baylor’s Average Yards Per Play Against SMU
As expected, Baylor’s offense didn’t miss a beat with Seth Russell under center. The Bears scored 56 points, accumulated 723 overall yards and set a school record by averaging 10.5 yards per play against the Mustangs. Russell’s final stat line was also impressive, averaging 25.1 yards per completion on 30 attempts and hitting on five passing plays of 40 yards or more.
9: Sacks Generated by Texas A&M Against Arizona State
Texas A&M’s offseason hire of John Chavis as its new defensive coordinator was arguably the best in the nation. And the Aggies wasted no time showcasing how much the addition of Chavis will mean to this group. Texas A&M wreaked havoc against the line of scrimmage all night against Arizona State, recording a whopping nine sacks and 14 tackles for a loss in the 38-17 victory over the Sun Devils. The Aggies struggled in recent years at giving up big plays, but Chavis’ group allowed only two of 20 yards or more to the Sun Devils. Texas A&M’s defensive effort was arguably one of the best performances of Week 1.
8-8: Record by College Football’s New Coaches for 2015 in Week 1
College football’s new coaches had a mixed bag of success in Week 1. Interim coach Bill Cubit guided Illinois to an easy 52-3 win over Kent State, while Gary Andersen (Oregon State), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh), Tom Herman (Houston), Lance Leipold (Buffalo), Mike Bobo (Colorado State) propelled their teams to wins over FCS opponents. Jim McElwain (Florida) and Philip Montgomery (Tulsa) were victorious against FBS foes, while Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Chad Morris (SMU), Mike Riley (Nebraska), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Neal Brown (Troy), David Beaty (Kansas), Tony Sanchez (UNLV) and John Bonamego (Central Michigan) lost their debuts with their new teams.
351: Passing Yards by UCLA Freshman QB Josh Rosen
As a true freshman making his first start for a Pac-12 title contender, all eyes were on Josh Rosen in Week 1. The freshman isn’t short on confidence or ability, and Rosen was sharp in UCLA’s 34-16 victory over Virginia. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three scores. In addition to becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UCLA in a season opener, Rosen also set single-game records for a freshman in completions, attempts and passing yardage.
10: Sacks Allowed by Penn State Against Temple
Penn State’s offensive line was considered the weak link for this team last season. With better depth and the addition of junior college recruit Paris Palmer at left tackle, improvement was expected in 2015. However, Saturday’s matchup against Temple showed the Nittany Lions still have a lot of work to do in the trenches. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times, and the Owls generated 11 tackles for a loss. Additionally, Penn State never managed more than 19 yards on each of its last 12 drives.
29: Nebraska’s Streak of Wins in Openers Ends at 29
Nebraska’s 29-game winning streak in season openers was the best mark in the nation, but that run ended in stunning fashion on Saturday afternoon. BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with Mitch Mathews on a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play to knock off the Cornhuskers 33-28. Florida now owns the nation’s longest winning streak in openers with a streak of 26 consecutive victories after defeating New Mexico State on Saturday night.
7.8: Stanford QB Kevin Hogan’s Average Yards Per Completion
After a solid three-game finish to 2014, hopes were high for Stanford’s offense to pickup where it left off. However, the Cardinal managed only 240 total yards against Northwestern, averaging a paltry 3.9 yards per play. While blame has to be shared at each level on the offense, more big plays are needed out of the passing attack. Hogan connected on 20 of 35 throws for 155 yards and one interception, averaging just 7.8 yards per completion. Additionally, the longest passing play from Stanford was just 16 yards in Saturday’s loss.
20: Points Scored by Texas in Last Three Games Under Charlie Strong
Texas finished 2014 ranked ninth in the Big 12 in scoring offense by averaging a paltry 21.4 points a game. While major improvement wasn’t expected this year, the Longhorns were expected to take a step forward on offense. However, if Saturday night’s game against Notre Dame is any indication, Texas’ offense is an even bigger concern than it was at the end of 2014. The Longhorns managed only three points against the Fighting Irish and have just 20 over their last three games. Additionally, Texas averaged 3.1 yards per play against Notre Dame and generated only two plays of 20 yards or more. Needless to say, coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Shawn Watson have a lot of work to do to get this unit on track.
233: Maryland CB William Likely’s Punt Return Yards Against Richmond
Likely set a Big Ten single-game record with 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s 50-21 victory over Richmond. The junior scored on a 67-yard return in the fourth quarter and finished Saturday’s action with a 29.1 average on punt returns. Likely is one of the Big Ten’s top defensive backs, but he’s also solidifying his place among the nation’s best on returns.
12-1: The SEC’s Record in Week 1
After a sluggish bowl season, the SEC had its share of doubters and took plenty of criticism in the preseason. While it’s only Week 1 and there’s plenty to be decided in the next few months, the SEC turned in a strong opening performance. Vanderbilt was the only SEC team to lose its opener, while LSU’s matchup against McNeese State was canceled due to weather. Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M headlined the weekend action from this league, scoring key non-conference victories at neutral sites.