Single-game, single-season and career records. School, conference and national benchmarks. Remarkable performances and embarrassing moments. The good, bad and ugly makes college football the great sport that it is today. Here are the 20 most intriguing, most important and most interesting college football stats of the 2012 season:
0: First quarter TD allowed by Notre Dame
The Irish led the nation in scoring defense at 10.3 points per game. Five separate times, Notre Dame allowed less than a touchdown in a game — against programs likes Michigan, Michigan State and Miami. The Irish defense allowed nine offensive touchdowns all season, (2 rush, 7 pass) and the rushing defense finished fourth nationally at 92.4 yards per game. Needless to say, there is a reason they finished the season unbeaten.
54.7: Yardage difference in Alabama’s nation’s leading defense from 2011 to 2012
Alabama led the nation once again in total defense, allowing a paltry 246.0 yards per game in 2012. However, it was 54.7 more yards per game than the Crimson Tide’s No. 1-rated defense allowed a year ago. Although the 2012 numbers aren't bad, it puts into perspective just how dominant the 2011 Alabama defense was when it allowed just 191.3 yards and 8.8 points per game.
300: Yards receiving in a single-game by four separate players
Before this year, only 15 times had a wide receiver caught at least 300 yards in a single game and never before had it happened more than twice in a season. In 2012, it happened four times — three times on the same day. West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey (303) and Baylor’s Terrance Williams (314) did it in the same game as Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton (303) did it in a loss to Rutgers on the same day. USC’s Marqise Lee (345) did it a month later against Arizona.
4: Times Washington State rushed for negative yards in a game
A team rushed for negative yards in a game 14 separate times in 2012 and four of them came from Washington State. Colorado posted the single-game low for rushing yards in a game with minus-21 against Stanford on Nov. 3, but Washington State takes the rushing cake by finishing with less than zero yards rushing against Stanford (-18), Oregon (-8), BYU (-5) and Utah (-4). Needless to say, the Cougars finished last in the nation in rushing (120th) with 29.1 yards per game.
214.3: Yards per game Auburn was outgained in SEC play
The Auburn Tigers averaged only 235.1 yards per game in eight SEC games. They allowed 449.4 yards per game on defense in those eight contests. The winless conference record was the first 0-8 SEC record on the Plains in the history of the storied Southern powerhouse. Mississippi State (216), LSU (183), Vanderbilt (212) and Ole Miss (213) posted SEC lows in yards allowed against Auburn, while Arkansas (321) and Georgia (238) posted their second-best defensive efforts of the year against Auburn. Hence, the hiring of offensive guru Gus Malzahn.
2045: Ka'Deem Carey's nation-best yards from scrimmage
No player gained more yards from scrimmage than the Arizona running back this season. He led the nation in rushing at 146.4 yards per game, while setting the single-season school record for rushing yards at 1,757. His 366 yards against Colorado were a single-game Pac-12 record as well. He caught 33 passes for 288 yards for a team that went from four wins to seven. His nine 100-yard rushing efforts were second only to…
12: Nation’s best 100-yard rushing games from Jordan Lynch
The Huskies of NIU are the first MAC team to ever land a BCS bowl bid. The play of quarterback Jordan Lynch is the primary reason DeKalb, Ill., was celebrating with Oranges this Christmas. He led the nation by topping the 100-yard mark 12 times and scored 19 rushing touchdowns en route to a nation’s best 1,771 rushing yards and MAC Championship. The dynamic junior also threw for 2,962 yards, 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
82 and 76: NCAA all-time record for total TDs and rushing TD by Montee Ball
Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball took over as the starter in Madison with five games left in his sophomore season. He scored eight total touchdowns in his first 21 games as a Badger. In his final 32 games, Ball scored 74 times for an average of 2.3 touchdowns per game. His 82 total touchdowns and 76 rushing touchdowns are both NCAA all-time records, as his team has played in the Rose Bowl three straight seasons. He is the NCAA’s active leading rusher with 5,040 yards and has one passing touchdown on his resume as well (which doesn’t count towards his totals). However, how long will his record stand? Because…
28: NCAA freshman TD record set by Kenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech tailback Kenneth Dixon broke Marshall Faulk's (1991) freshman scoring record by reaching paydirt 28 times this fall. He led the nation in total touchdowns and is setting himself up for a run at Ball’s all-time records. But that wasn’t the only remarkable accomplishment in the Bulldogs loaded backfield this fall…
444: Colby Cameron’s NCAA record pass attempts without an interception
The Bulldogs quarterback went 444 attempts without throwing an interception, breaking Russell Wilson’s previous mark of 379. Utah State’s Will Davis intercepted a Cameron pass in what turned out to be a de facto WAC championship game win over Louisiana Tech in overtime (48-41). The 9-3 Bulldogs lost twice to end the year, ironically, on the back of five Cameron interceptions. He finished with 4,171 yards and 31 touchdowns to go with those five picks.
3: BCS conference teams to go unbeaten and not play in the BCS championship game
Before this season, Auburn (2004) and Cincinnati (2009) were the only two BCS conference teams to finish a regular season unbeaten and not earn a bid into the national title showdown. The Ohio State Buckeyes became the third this season, as it will sit at home due to NCAA postseason sanctions. However, the Bearcats got hammered by the Gators in the Sugar Bowl, while Auburn edged out Virginia Tech in the same game. That leaves the Tigers and Buckeyes as the only unbeaten BCS conference teams in the final polls, leaving fans in Columbus and on the Plains wondering what-if.
71: Landry Jones career-high pass attempts against Oklahoma State
Jones chucked the football around 71 times in the crazy 51-48 overtime Bedlam Series win over Oklahoma State. He attempted more passes in that one game than the Sooners entire 1976 (63), 1975 (69) and 1953 (61) offenses posted for the entire season. It was a career-high in attempts for the OU passer - topping the 62 he threw in 2010 - also against the Cowboys. In fact, Jones attempted 220 passes in four games against the Pokes during his career, more than any other team he faced. Jones ended his career with 16,368 yards passing, 122 touchdowns, 51 interceptions and minus-368 yards rushing. David Piland of Houston was the only player to attempt more passes in a game this season with 77 against Louisiana Tech.
4.3: Career rushes per touchdown for Blake Bell
The Bell-dozer will be a junior next year and is expected to take over for Jones in Norman under center. However, his resume doesn’t look like that of a traditional quarterback. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns on 58 carries this year and has 24 rushing touchdowns on 102 career attempts. He should become the starter next fall for Oklahoma without a touchdown pass on 19 career passes.
175.94: Marcus Mariota’s nation’s leading road passer rating
The Ducks were 5-0 on the road due in large part to Mariota’s stable play away from Eugene. He completed 75.2-percent of his passes for 1,036 yards, 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his five games away from Autzen Stadium this season. He also rushed for 414 of his 690 yards and three of his four touchdowns on the road as well. And he did all of this as a freshman against the likes of USC, Oregon State, Arizona State, Wazzu and Cal. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (172.87) was the No. 2-rated road passer. Speaking of…
8: Tajh Boyd’s ACC single-game touchdown
Boyd completed 30-of-44 passes for 426 yards, rushing 18 times for 103 yards and scored an ACC record eight total touchdowns in the win over the Wolfpack. The Tigers' offense set a school-record with 102 offensive plays and finished two yards shy (754) of a school record for total offense.
38: Tennessee was first SEC team to allow at least 38 points in seven straight games
When Missouri scored 51 points in a win over Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on Nov. 10, it marked the first time in history an SEC team had allowed at least 38 points in six straight games. Then the Vols allowed 41 points to Vanderbilt in a loss that signaled the end of the Derek Dooley era in Knoxville. Tennessee allowed an SEC-worst 35.7 points and 471.3 yards per game in 2012.
572: Big 12 single-game all-purpose yards record set by Tavon Austin
Austin has done everything for the Mountaineers in his amazing career in Morgantown. He has scored 29 receiving touchdowns, five return touchdowns and six rushing scores. He owns the single-season and career return yards marks and numerous receiving records. But he also set the WVU single-game rushing record with 344 yards on just 21 carries against Oklahoma. His 572 all-purpose yards in the close loss to the Sooners were six shy of the NCAA single-game record set by Emmett White of Utah State (against New Mexico State). It might have been the most dominate single-game performance by any player at any position ever. Additionally, Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (2,977 yards) needs 274 all-purpose yards in the bowl game to break Barry Sanders’ single-season record set in 1988 (3,251).
80,000: 17 programs averaged at least 80K in attendance this fall
Thirteen of those 17 hail from either the Big Ten or the SEC. In fact, 10 of the top 12, 15 of the top 21 and 17 of the top 24 come from the two most powerful and lucrative leagues in America.
4: SEC wins by at least 23 points in the last two seasons by Vanderbilt
From 1957 to 2010, the Commodores won four SEC games by at least 23 points. In the last two seasons, Vandy has matched the total with four wins over Tennessee, Ole Miss and Kentucky (twice). Tailback Zac Stacy also became the school’s all-time leading rusher at 3,036 yards.
5,000 and 2,000: Career totals topped by Taylor Martinez before his senior year
Only three players have ever passed for at least 5,000 yards and rushed for 2,000 yards prior to entering their senior season. Missouri’s Brad Smith and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick were the only two in the club before Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez crossed those benchmarks this season. T-Mart has 6,387 yards passing (44 TD, 25 INT) and 2,812 yards rushing (31 TD) in just three seasons.