The third week of the season was not quite the bounce back week the Big Ten may have been hoping for, but there were a few good things happening around the conference after a dismal week two. Let’s dive into some of the numbers from around the Big Ten this past week and the first three weeks of the college football season.
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 3 in the Big Ten
2: Number of FBS teams with a winning record beaten by Big Ten teams
Time will tell how telling this stat is with a number of victories over schools projected to have winning records by the end of the season off to slow starts, but the numbers tell the story of how difficult it has been for the Big Ten through the first three weeks. Ohio State’s victory over Navy and Minnesota’s win over Middle Tennessee are the only FBS victories the Big Ten has claimed over teams with a winning record. Penn State’s victory over Rutgers does not count, of course.
2: Number of undefeated teams in the Big Ten entering Week 4
Nebraska and Penn State are the only unbeaten teams left standing amid the Big Ten rubble, just as we all predicted at the start of the season. It is fair to say other top contenders in the Big Ten (Wisconsin, Michigan State) have faced a stiffer challenge with games against LSU (Wisconsin) and Oregon (Michigan State), both coming away from home. Credit to Nebraska for picking up a win on the west coast in Week 3 at Fresno State. Penn State also has a win in Ireland, giving the Big Ten wins on three coastlines this season. Penn State is one of three schools with a home, road and neutral site win in the first three weeks (UCLA, Ole Miss).
3: Big Ten quarterbacks averaging at least 6.0 yards per rushing attempt
You thought Braxton Miller was the only dual-threat quarterback in the Big Ten? Think again. Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong leads the Big Ten in average rushing yardage per carry with 9.56 yards per attempt. Wisconsin’s Tanner McEvoy is also picking up good yardage when he tucks the ball, averaging 6.33 yards per carry. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown rushed for a game-high 161 yards against West Virginia to raise his average to 6.26 yards per carry. All three appear in the top ten in the Big Ten in this category.
4: Big Ten teams with a perfect scoring percentage in the red zone
You can pile up the big yards all you want, but what you do in the red zone will ultimately be a difference maker at some point during a season. So far, so good when Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern get inside the opponent’s 20-yard line as all four have left the field putting points on the scoreboard. Minnesota has had the most success in their red zone trips by scoring a touchdown each time they reach the red zone. Of course, all four have struggled at times just getting inside the 20-yard line. All four are in the bottom half of the Big Ten in total red zone opportunities (MSU and Northwestern have also only played two games).
9: Second-half lead changes between Indiana and Bowling Green
Talk about a seesaw battle. Indiana held on to a 14-13 lead at the half on the road against preseason MAC favorite Bowling Green, but things went off the hook after the break. The Hoosiers and Falcons exchanged the lead nine times before Bowling Green got the last laugh with a short touchdown pass with nine seconds to play.
11: Straight games Indiana running back Tevin Coleman has scored a touchdown
Indiana’s talented running back rushed for 190 yards and a trio of touchdowns against Bowling Green, earning quality losing effort status in week three. With Coleman’s trip to the end zone, he ties a school record for most consecutive games with a touchdown scored.
52: Red zone points scored by Ohio State vs. Kent State
The Buckeyes scored seven touchdowns inside the red zone against in-state foe Kent State. Just for good measure, Ohio State added a field goal to the mix as well as the Buckeyes dominated Kent State from start to finish. On nine trips to the red zone, Ohio State scored points on eight.
30-1: Ohio State’s record against schools from the MAC
With Ohio State’s victory over Kent State, the Buckeyes added to their dominant and lopsided winning record against the MAC. At least somebody is beating the MAC. The Big Ten has already lost three games to the MAC this season and a MAC school has defeated a Big Ten team in eight straight seasons. Ohio State also extended its winning streak over in-state opponents to 39 straight games. That will be challenged by Cincinnati after a bye week this weekend for the Buckeyes.
39: Blocked kicks by Rutgers since 2009
Forget about Virginia Tech and Beamer Ball. It is well past time to start giving props to what Rutgers is doing on special teams. On Saturday night the Scarlet Knights added to more to their FBS-leading blocked kick total since 2006 by blocking one Penn State field goal attempt by Sam Ficken and later blocking a punt.
43.9: Percent of third downs converted for first downs by the Big Ten
There are only 22 schools around the country that have converted at least 50 percent of their third down opportunities for first downs, but just two of those reside in the Big Ten. Indiana (51.7%) and Northwestern (51.2%) have kept drives alive on third down plays to lead the conference, respectively. Iowa (49.0%), Penn State (47.9%) and Illinois (46.2%) have been respectable as well, but it has been a surprise to see Ohio State (38.9%) and Wisconsin (37.0%) struggle on third downs early on this season.