This year's edition of the Red River Rivalry will feature a pair of ranked teams for the first time since 2012
For many college football teams, week 6 marks the halfway point of their season. September didn't lack for surprises, great games or impressive performances, both from a team and individual standpoint. So what does the first weekend of October have in store for us?
2012: Last time Oklahoma and Texas were both ranked entering the Red River Rivalry
For the first time in six years, the Cotton Bowl will host a Red River Rivalry matchup of ranked teams as the Sooners and Longhorns will face off in game that not only has Big 12 ramifications, but College Football implications as well. Oklahoma has won the past two meetings, but Texas enters on a four-game winning streak, including victories over USC and TCU. The last time these archrivals played each other when both were in the AP Top 25, the 13th-ranked Sooners manhandled the No. 15 Longhorns 63-21. This will be the 113th all-time edition of the Red River Rivalry, with Texas leading 61-46-5.
41.2: Margin of victory for Alabama this season
The Crimson Tide aren't just undefeated. They are absolutely destroying opponents. Alabama is No. 1 in the country in scoring offense at 54.2 points per game while the defense is giving up just 13 per contest (tied for fifth). The Tide's lowest output thus far is 45 points in a 22-point victory over Texas A&M two weeks ago. In the other four games, Alabama has scored at least 51 points with a high of 62 coming against Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide will travel to Fayetteville to face an Arkansas team that has yet to beat a FBS opponent this season (only victory came vs. FCS member Eastern Illinois). The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in scoring offense (23.8 ppg) and next to last in scoring defense (31.2 ppg).
No. 1: SEC rank of Kentucky's rushing offense and Texas A&M's rushing defense
It will be strength vs. strength Saturday night in College Station when the 13th-ranked Wildcats look to stay undefeated against the Aggies. Kentucky has one of the nation's most productive ground games, averaging 259.2 rushing yards per game (11th nationally) with Benny Snell Jr. leading the way. The junior is fourth in the FBS with 132.8 rushing yards per game but he'll face his stiffest test yet against a Texas A&M defense that has held opponents to 85 yards per game. The Aggies have already played two good running teams in Clemson (115 yards, 2 TDs, 3.6 yards per carry) and Alabama (109, 2, 3.9), and have surrendered a total of five rushing touchdowns in five games.
9: Touchdowns Ian Book has accounted for in his two starts for Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish are undefeated (5-0) but they have been a different team since Book replaced Brandon Wimbush as starting quarterback. In wins over Wake Forest and Stanford, Notre Dame has totaled 94 points compared to the 70 in the first three games combined. Book is largely responsible for this, throwing six touchdown passes and running for three more scores in the victories over the Demon Deacons and Cardinal. Next up for Book and company, a night game against a Virginia Tech team that rebounded from the shocking upset against Old Dominion to beat previously undefeated No. 22 Duke on the road.
1.1: Difference in passing yards per game for LSU in 2018 compared to '17 season
Through five games this fall, the Tigers are averaging 204.6 passing yards per game, which places them 10th in the SEC (and 91st nationally). Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow has done a good job taking care of the football (0 interceptions) but he's completing just 53.4 percent of his attempts and has tossed a total of six touchdown passes. Compare that to last year, when former offensive coordinator Matt Canada and quarterback Danny Etling received much of the criticism for LSU's offensive struggles. Etling posted a 16:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 13 games with a 60 percent completion rate. As a team, the Tigers averaged 203.5 passing yards per game (eighth in SEC, 84th nationally). So Burrow is actually on place for fewer touchdown passes (11 when using same 13-game sample size) with a lower completion rate than Etling. The big difference? Burrow is leading an LSU team that is 5-0 heading into Saturday's game against Florida in The Swamp. Through five games last year, Etling's Tigers were 3-2 and coming off of a painful home loss to Troy.
2004: Last time Miami posted consecutive wins against Florida State
The all-time series between the Hurricanes and Seminoles stands at 32-30 in favor of Miami. The 'Canes snapped FSU's seven-game winning streak last season and now looks for back-to-back victories in this Sunshine State rivalry for the first time in more than a decade. The last time Miami beat Florida State in consecutive games was in 2004 — first in the Orange Bowl (16-14) on New Year's Day and then that September (16-10). Since that victory, Florida State has won the past six road games in this series.
93.5: Rushing yards per game for Auburn over the last two weeks
The Tigers are 4-1 but the offense is not producing anywhere close to like it was last year. In 2017, Auburn's offense ranked third in the SEC and 26th nationally at 451.6 yards per game. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham's arrival certainly helped jump-start the passing game, but the Tigers still did plenty of damage on the ground, averaging 218.3 rushing yards per game. This year, that number sits at 178.6 but even that is misleading. Take out the 429 rushing yards Auburn piled up against FCS opponent Alabama State and the Tigers have averaged 116 yards on the ground per game in their matchups with Washington, LSU, Arkansas and Southern Miss. In fact, Auburn didn't even reach the century mark in either of its last two games — wins over the Razorbacks (91 rushing yards) and Golden Eagles (96). Gus Malzahn is hoping for better results from his offense on Saturday against a Mississippi State defense that is ranked 31st in the country against the run (120.4 ypg).
64.7: Percentage of San Diego State's rushing yards belonging to Juwan Washington
Washington was expected to be the latest Aztec running back to threaten the 2,000-yard mark, following in the footsteps of Rashaad Penny and Donnel Pumphrey. Through the first three games, Washington was on a 1,800-yard pace but that all changed when he broke his collarbone on Sept. 22 against Eastern Michigan. Now with Washington sidelined, San Diego State must face Boise State on the road in a key Mountain West showdown without its leading rusher. After Washington, the Aztec with the most rushing yards is sophomore Chase Jasmin (233). The Broncos enter this game ranked fourth in the conference against the run (125.8 ypg).
10.5: Penalties per game assessed on Nebraska
The Cornhuskers are 0-4 for the first time since 1945 and while plenty of things can be blamed for this, head coach Scott Frost sounded off on one in particular following Saturday's 42-28 home loss to Purdue. "We look like one of the most undisciplined teams in the country," Frost said. "And it kills me." Through four games, Nebraska has already been penalized 42 times for 387 yards. Only one FBS team has seen more flags on a per game basis (Kent State, 10.8) and the Huskers are tied with South Alabama for the most penalty yards per game (96.8). This is something that must be corrected quickly if Nebraska wants any chance of even hanging with No. 16 Wisconsin this Saturday in Madison.
312: Rushing yards for Arizona State's Eno Benjamin last week against Oregon State
Benjamin set a school record with his monster performance over the Beavers, one that included touchdown runs of 47, 40 and 10 yards. Not only did Benjamin smash the previous Sun Devils record (250 by Ben Malone), his 312 yards place him eighth in Pac-12 history for a single game.
Bonus stat: It should be pointed out that in this same game Oregon State freshman Jermar Jefferson finished with 254 rushing yards. The 566 yards (on 61 carries) Benjamin and Jefferson combined for in one game are more than 21 teams have gained all season (through at least four games).