The bizarre, important and historic numbers about the conference title game
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we examined the Pac-12 Championship between Stanford and Arizona State to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers about the conference title game.
2: Home team has won both Pac-12 championship games
Arizona State has a small sample size of history on its side when it plays host to Stanford and the Pac-12 championship game Saturday. The home team has won the first two conference title games. Stanford defeated UCLA 27-24 last season, and Oregon defeated UCLA 49-31 in the first championship in 2011.
8: Arizona State has won its last eight home games
Being at home is certainly an advantage for the Sun Devils after having won their last eight games in Tempe. This season, they are 7-0 at Sun Devil Stadium, outscoring opponents 344-146 (49.1-20.9 PPG). Both Cardinal defeats have come on the road this season, while they have won their last 16 at home. One of those seven wins at home this season was a 42-28 victory against Arizona State.
1: Saturday’s Pac-12 title game will be the first time both teams enter on a winning streak
The third Pac-12 Conference championship game will feature both teams arriving after a win for the first time in the three-year history of the game. Arizona State and Stanford are both 10-2, ASU on a seven-game winning streak and Stanford on a two-game upswing. In 2011, Oregon arrived on a two-game win streak and won the title, while UCLA was 6-6 having just lost to USC. Last year, Stanford arrived on a six-game winning streak and won the title, while the Bruins were 9-3 and had just lost to Stanford in the regular-season finale.
17 and 39: ASU going for its first Rose Bowl in 17 years; Stanford looking for first consecutive trips in 39 years
On the line in Saturday’s Pac-12 title game is a trip to the 100th Rose Bowl. It is a game the Sun Devils have not been to since Jan. 1, 1997 — a 20-17 loss to Ohio State, which handed them their first loss (11-1). Stanford is looking to make back-to-back appearances in Pasadena on New Year’s Day for the first time since 1972. The Cardinal won their first Rose Bowl since 1972 with a 20-14 win over Wisconsin last season. They also won the 1971 game. USC is the last team to win consecutive Rose Bowls (2006-09). Stanford has appeared in 13 Rose Bowls, ASU two.
64: Arizona State has the most scores of any FBS team inside the red zone
Arizona State is sixth in the nation in red zone offense with 64 scores on 69 trips — 32 rushing TDs, 13 passing and 19 field goals. Stanford is tied for 31st in the nation in red zone defense. The Cardinal have allowed 29 scores on 37 trips inside the 20 — six rushing TDs, 13 passing and 10 field goals. Stanford’s offense is tied for 20th in red zone offense with 40 scores on 45 trips — 18 rushing scores, eight passing and 14 field goals. The Sun Devils are tied for 71st in red zone defense — 32 scores in 38 trips (12 rushing, 12 passing and eight field goals).
13: Arizona State is plus-13 in turnover margin
The Sun Devils will have to find a way to shake up the balanced Stanford offense, and turnovers could be that way. Arizona State is ninth in the nation at plus-13 in turnover margin, and it is tied for sixth in turnovers gained (30). Stanford is tied for 63 with a zero turnover margin. Both ASU and Stanford are tied for 38th in turnovers lost (17).
29: Stanford led 29-0 in this season’s meeting before ASU scored
The scoreboard showed a 14-point final margin for Stanford in the Sept. 21 conference-opening win over visiting Arizona State, but that game was well in hand in the first 30 minutes. The Cardinal scored the game’s first 29 points — all coming in the first half — and 39 of the first 46 before ASU clawed back with three fourth-quarter TDs. Stanford bookended conference play with 29-point halftime leads. The Cardinal also led California by 29 (42-13) on Nov. 23.
7 for 20: ASU’s Foster and his seven scores will likely be called upon to replace Grice and his 20 touchdowns
D.J. Foster (pictured right) has four rushing touchdowns this season — all four have come in the past three games. The sophomore had two and 124 yards in a blowout win of Arizona last week, and will be called upon heavily again with starter Marion Grice (leg) likely out. Grice leads ASU with 14 touchdowns, 966 yards rushing, and also has 50 catches for 438 yards and six receiving scores. Foster has appeared in all 12 games, rushing 65 times for 307 yards, and is second on the team with 54 catches for 550 yards and three scores. He appeared in all 13 games, starting once, as a freshman.
189: While ASU might be without its workhorse, Stanford’s Gaffney is coming off career-high 189 yards
Tyler Gaffney, FBS’ 10th-best rusher at 123.8 yards per game, arrives in Tempe off a career-best day. The senior carried 33 times for a career-high 189 yards and one score in a 27-20 win against Notre Dame last week. Gaffney is averaging 146 yards on the ground over the last seven games and has only gone below 100 once — 95 yards on just 16 carries.
13: Will ASU have an answer for Stanford’s Murphy and his FBS-best 13 sacks?
Trent Murphy leads the FBS with 13 sacks and is seventh in tackles for loss (19.5). Arizona State’s Carl Bradford is not too far behind with 16 sacks (T18 FBS), and he and teammate Davon Coleman each have 7.5 sacks. (T42). As a team, ASU is 90th in the FBS in tackles for loss allowed (6.67 per game) and 103rd in sacks allowed (2.75 per game).