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 CFB Stats from Week 3
3: Texas Tech’s Possessions in Second Half Against Arkansas
Saturday’s matchup between Arkansas and Texas Tech wasn’t just a Big 12-SEC battle, it also featured an interesting clash of styles. Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense met the ground-and-pound Arkansas attack, and there was no doubt which team was better on Saturday. The Razorbacks gashed the Red Raiders defense for 438 rushing yards (6.4 ypr) and seven scores. Time of possession is overrated stat at times, but Bret Bielema’s offense held the ball for 40:39, which limited the high-powered Texas Tech offense to just three second-half possessions. The Red Raiders only registered 6:05 in time of possession over the final two quarters. Running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams and a massive offensive line were simply too much for Texas Tech’s defense.
14: Teams Washington LB Shaq Thompson Outscored in Week 3
Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson turned in one of the top defensive performances of Week 3 by returning an interception 36 yards for a score and later scoring on a 52-yard fumble return. By scoring 12 points on those two plays, Thompson successfully outscored the following teams in Week 3: Central Michigan, Kansas, UCF, Minnesota, Tennessee, Miami (Ohio), Kent State, Rutgers, Eastern Michigan, Southern Miss, Rice, Army, South Alabama and ULM.
3: Teams that Ran 100 Plays in Week 3
Coincidence or just good luck? Three teams ran at least 100 plays in Week 3: Bowling Green, Western Kentucky and West Virginia. Two of those teams (West Virginia and Bowling Green) won, while Western Kentucky fell short in overtime against MTSU. Running a lot of plays doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it’s an interesting stat for up-tempo offenses. Northern Illinois leads the nation with 284 plays through three weeks, with the Hilltoppers checking in at No. 2 (276).
147:24: Minutes of Game Action in LSU’s Shutout Streak
Since allowing a two-yard touchdown run by Wisconsin running back Corey Clement in third quarter of the opener, LSU has held its opponents scoreless. The Tigers shutout streak ran to 147 minutes and 24 seconds of game action after defeating ULM 31-0 on Saturday. LSU is allowing just 3.5 yards per play and has registered eight sacks in three games. Sure, the competition will get better, but coach Les Miles and coordinator John Chavis have once again reloaded on the defensive side. The shutout streak will be put to the test in Week 4 with Mississippi State visiting Baton Rouge.
Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:
227: Penn State’s Rushing Yardage Through 3 Games
With four new starters, it’s no surprise Penn State’s offensive line has struggled through the first three games of 2014. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been sacked eight times, and rushers are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. In Saturday’s win over Rutgers, the Nittany Lions averaged only 1.9 yards per carry. Penn State also has only one rush of 20 or more yards this season. There’s no doubt the Nittany Lions can win a lot of games behind Hackenberg, a good defense and coach James Franklin. However, averaging only 75.7 rushing yards per contest versus Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State will be tough to overcome.
2: Touchdowns Allowed by Ole Miss in Three Games
The Rebels’ defense was one of the biggest reasons for optimism surrounding this team’s breakout potential in 2014. So far, so good. Ole Miss has allowed just two touchdowns through three games and is limiting opponents to just 10.3 points per contest. The Rebels are tied for the second-fewest touchdowns allowed in the nation with Alabama, while Stanford has surrendered just one in three contests. Ole Miss will face tougher competition ahead with matchups against Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn. However, there’s no doubt this defense is one of the best in the nation.
188: Yards by Louisville After Opening Possession
After going 75 yards in nine plays in Saturday’s matchup against Virginia, all signs pointed to a Louisville victory. However, the Cavaliers’ defense dominated for most of the game, limiting the Cardinals to just 188 yards on the next 15 possessions. Louisville managed to score touchdowns on back-to-back 50-yard drives in the second half, but Virginia forced eight punts and four turnovers after allowing the successful opening possession. Despite the Cavaliers’ shortcomings on offense, this defense is good enough to keep them in games this year.
61.6: Average Yards of Baylor WR KD Cannon’s TD Catches
Baylor is known for its big-play passing offense under coach Art Briles, but the Bears have a new weapon in true freshman receiver KD Cannon. In three games this year, Cannon has caught 14 passes for 471 yards and five scores. The true freshman is averaging 33.6 yards per catch, with his five touchdown catches averaging 61.6 yards per reception. Needless to say, this true freshman is already one of the top receivers in college football.
452: Rushing Yards by Boston College Against USC
In Saturday’s surprise 37-31 victory over USC, Boston College recorded a staggering 452 rushing yards on 54 attempts. The Eagles scored five times on the ground and averaged a whopping 8.4 yards per carry. Four Boston College rushers had at least eight carries, including quarterback Tyler Murphy (13 attempts) and Jon Hilliman (19). To put the Eagles’ 452 yards in perspective: Coming into Week 3, USC allowed only 285 yards on the ground through two games. The 452 rushing yards allowed were the most by a Trojans’ defense since the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl.
20.4: Yards Per Carry by Duke RB Shaun Wilson in Week 3
Wilson has quickly emerged as one of the top playmakers for Duke’s offense. The true freshman gashed Kansas for 245 yards and three touchdowns, along with recording one catch for seven yards. Wilson also averaged an insane 20.4 yards per carry and scored three times. The freshman’s 245 yards set a school record. Through three games, Wilson has 334 yards on 21 attempts.
Other Stats to Know
* Georgia Southern leads the nation by averaging 9.1 yards per play.
* Nebraska recorded four scoring plays of at least 50 yards against Fresno State.
* Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett averaged 50.3 yards per catch on Saturday. Four of Dorsett’s eight catches have gone for scores this year.
* Stanford has recorded two shutouts in three games this year. The Cardinal recorded only one shutout from 2011-13.
* Florida receiver Demarcus Robinson recorded 216 receiving yards on 15 catches against Kentucky. Robinson recorded the first 200-yard effort since Taylor Jacobs posted 246 receiving yards in 2002.
* In Saturday’s win over Ohio, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato became the second player (Chad Pennington) in school history to throw for 100 touchdown passes in a career.
* Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown accounted for 402 of the Terrapins’ 447 yards in the 40-37 loss to West Virginia.
* All three of TCU’s touchdown drives against Minnesota took less than two minutes. The Horned Frogs’ new up-tempo attack is paying dividends, as the offense has scored 78 points through two games.
* Michigan running back Derrick Green has rushed for 332 yards through three games. He had 270 in 13 contests last year.
* Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas accounted for five touchdowns and 325 total yards in Saturday’s 42-38 win over Georgia Southern.
* Wake Forest recorded -25 rushing yards against Utah State. The Demon Deacons have recorded negative rushing yards in two out of their first three games this year.
* Indiana and Bowling Green combined for 69 first downs and 1,153 yards on Saturday.
* After falling behind 3-0 to Central Michigan, Syracuse scored 40 unanswered points to win 40-3.
* Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight has two career 300-yard passing performances. Both have come against SEC opponents (Alabama and Tennessee).
* East Carolina recorded 502 yards of offense in Saturday’s upset win over Virginia Tech. The Pirates’ 533 yards were the most against the Hokies since North Carolina recorded 533 on Sept. 15, 2012.
* Louisiana Tech quarterback Cody Sokol has nine touchdown passes through three games. The Bulldogs had 10 touchdown scores all of last season.
* Virginia Tech’s first seven drives went only 30 yards against East Carolina.
* Pittsburgh running back James Conner has 544 yards through three games. That’s the most by a Panther running back in a three-game stretch since Tony Dorsett in 1973.
* Western Kentucky has recorded at least 700 yards of total offense in two out of three games this year.
* BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams recorded 499 of BYU’s 523 yards against Houston on Thursday night.
* Vanderbilt has started three different quarterbacks in three games.
* Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle has thrown for at least 400 yards in two out of his three games this year.
* Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson has thrown for 200 yards in back-to-back games.
* Colorado State averaged 10.1 yards per play in its 49-21 victory over UC Davis.
* 20 of Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer’s 30 completions went to freshmen in the 28-21 loss to East Carolina.
* Bowling Green freshman receiver Roger Lewis grabbed 16 receptions in Saturday’s win over Indiana. Lewis ranks No. 3 nationally with 30 catches through three games this year.
* Miami, Ohio recorded only eight first downs in Saturday’s 34-10 loss to Michigan.
* USF had more turnovers than third-down conversions in Saturday’s loss to NC State. The Bulls converted 2 of 10 third-down attempts and committed three turnovers.
* Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer’s 56 pass attempts against East Carolina are a school record.
* 75 of USF’s 89 passing yards against NC State came on a touchdown pass early in the first quarter.
* West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett’s 511 passing yards ranked No. 2 in school history.
* Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya’s 342 passing yards against Arkansas State were the most by a true freshman passer in school history.
* ULL has lost seven turnovers over its last two games.
* Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin ranks second nationally by averaging 186.5 yards per game. The true freshman gashed Idaho for 210 yards and three scores in Week 3.
* Oklahoma State quarterback Daxx Garman averaged 19.8 yards per completion (16 of 30) in Saturday’s win over UTSA.
* Good sign for Texas A&M’s defense? Rice isn’t the toughest opponent, but the Aggies faced 91 plays and allowed only 10 points and held the Owls to 5.3 yards per play.
* Arizona freshman running back Nick Wilson has recorded three consecutive 100-yard efforts.
* Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel threw six touchdowns in Saturday’s win over Toledo. Kiel’s set a NCAA record for the most passing touchdowns by a quarterback playing in his first FBS game.
* Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova tossed five interceptions in Saturday’s loss to Penn State. That’s the second time in Nova’s career he has tossed at least five interceptions in a game.
* In Saturday’s win over Kent State, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett tied a school record with six touchdown passes.