Burrowing Into Box Scores, Week 3: Oregon's Dominance, Alabama's Surging Tide, And More ACC Futility

EUGENE OR - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back LaMichael James #21of the Oregon Ducks heads to the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Portland State Vikings at Autzen Stadium on September 18 2010 in Eugene Oregon. Oregon won the game 69-0. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Delving into the box scores from Week 3 in college football finds Oregon trampling, Alabama rolling, and a whole lot more.

Oregon Goes Ducky. It's hard to pick just one statistic from Oregon's insane evisceration of Portland State. Do I choose the 528 rushing yards on 63 carries? The goose egg Oregon's defense handed the Vikings, who went 0-for-18 on third down? The alacrity of the Ducks' attack, which scored on 11 drives, none longer than 2:07?

It's just as hard to pick just one stat from Oregon's incredible year. Do I cite the point differential, which stands at 189-13? The fact that Oregon's yet to concede a point to a non-BCS conference school? The three running backs (LaMichael James, Remene Alston, and Kenjon Barner) with over 200 yards on the season? The idea that Oregon scores more than three times the number of points per quarter (15.75) than its defense allows per game (4.33)? I can look at this from any of many angles and still come up with a mind-blowing stat. I can only hope that continues at Arizona State next week.

Never Tried Tide. Yesterday on Twitter, I teased my favorite stat from a box score this year. This is it: Alabama went 2-of-5 on third down against Duke. Okay, fine, that's not the whole stat: Alabama went 2-of-5 on third down against Duke ... and didn't face a third down until the first Crimson Tide drive of the second half. In fact, the Tide went 11-of-12 on second down in the first half, scoring four touchdowns, kicking one field goal, and gaining 197 yards on those plays. (The lone failure was a Greg McElroy interception.) Alabama also converted second and 10 (twice), second and 11, second and 12, and second and 13 in the first quarter. Duke isn't a very good team, especially defensively. But Alabama, back to full strength on offense with Mark Ingram in the lineup, did some steamrolling on Saturday.

Longhorns' Long Drive. There are long drives, and then there are drives like Texas' epic against Texas Tech. Garrett Gilbert and Co. began their final scoring drive of Saturday night on their own 20 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter; the drive ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from Gilbert to Barrett Matthews with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter. The drive in total took 23 plays, gained 100 yards (thanks to two holding penalties), was aided by two Texas Tech personal fouls, featured just two plays of more than 10 yards, and leeched 9:07 of game clock. Oh, and Texas went 4-for-7 on third down on the drive, meaning the Longhorns faced more third downs on one drive than Alabama did in a game. It's rather unlikely that there will be another drive like that this season.

All Corpse Conference? In case you were curious about whether the ACC could look worse than it did in the first two weeks of the season: yeah, it totally did.

The ACC went 1-4 against teams from other BCS conferences in Week 3, and 0-4 on Saturday. In those Saturday games, ACC teams lost by a combined 188-68; Maryland, Wake Forest and Duke were collectively outscored 107-13 by halftime. (Maryland also began with a bungled drive for the ages, involving four penalties and a timeout on a three-and-out.)

The ACC's two remaining unbeaten teams have blasted away at cannon fodder. North Carolina State crushed Western Carolina, nearly choked at UCF, and beat a 1-2 Cincinnati team. Boston College owns wins over Weber State and Kent State, and neither by more than 18 points.

There are 27 FBS players with over 300 rushing yards on the season; none of them are in the ACC.

Perhaps most damningly, thanks to West Virginia toying with Maryland and Louisville gamely staying in an inter-conference clash with Oregon State, the Big East may have had a better Week 3 than the ACC, despite Pittsburgh and Rutgers being idle and Connecticut losing to Temple.

Why Denard Must Destroy. Denard Robinson leads FBS with 559 rushing yards and has 671 passing yards and a 158.6 passer rating. He's been great. You know this. You probably don't realize just how bad Michigan's defense has been: the Wolverines have given up 1,371 yards and 71 points to Connecticut, Notre Dame, and Massachusetts, three teams that have a combined one win over an FBS school.

Robinson may yet win the Heisman. But if he does, it will almost assuredly be for a eye-popping, Tim Tebow-esque statistic-heavy season for a team that ends up with four or five losses.

Now More People Will Hate Lane Kiffin. USC attempted three two-point conversions against Minnesota and failed on all three. It didn't change the outcome of the game, which USC won 32-21. But considering that USC was favored by around 12 points, it might have swung thousands of dollars wagered in Las Vegas. It's okay, though: I think Lane Kiffin needs more enemies who hate him irrationally and passionately.

Sun Devils Not Quite Special Enough. Arizona State gained 211 passing yards, 169 rushing yards, and 261 yards on kickoff returns, thanks to the beautifully symmetrical performances by Omar Bolden and Kyle Middlebrooks, both of whom returned two kicks for 120 yards. Alas, the Sun Devils probably needed 262 return yards to cover up a deficiency in another part of their special teams: Middlebrooks was tripped up at the Wisconsin 1 on a kickoff return as the first half ended, and a potential game-tying extra point late in the fourth quarter was blocked by Wisconsin's Jay Valai.

I Should Really Have A Conference USA Shootout Of The Week Category. This week's nutty defense-optional tilt in C-USA: UAB 34, Troy 33, in a game that featured 1,101 yards of total offense, 99 coming on UAB's game-winning drive, which culminated in a 44-yard Hail Mary caught by the Blazers' Jackie Williams as time expired. If you're keeping track, you know that's now two successful Hail Mary passes as time has expired in C-USA games this season. And it's still September.

Getting Creative. Utah and New Mexico combined to score four touchdowns in 5:01 in the second quarter of Utah's 56-14 drubbing of the Lobos, but only one was offensive. New Mexico returned a Utah fumble for a score, then watched the Utes score on a 75-yard pass, an interception return, and a punt return.

Blue Bayou Bengals. LSU continues to lack anything one would label a consistent offense. The Tigers forced five turnovers, ended every drive in Mississippi State territory, and beat the Bulldogs 29-7, but had just four drives of over 30 yards and settled for five field goals. The defense and special teams are the big sticks in Baton Rouge. It's the offense that seems to be speaking softly.

Wild Ivy. The Ivy League had a couple of dramatic finishes this week: Brown beat Stony Brook in double overtime, and Yale edged Georgetown on a one-yard touchdown run as time expired.

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