John Thompson's win percentage at Arkansas State. For the second straight year, the ASU defensive coordinator served as interim head coach in the GoDaddy Bowl, and for the second straight year, his Red Wolves took down a top MAC team.
Passing yards for Fredi Knighten on ASU's final drive. As a new wrinkle, Arkansas State's run-first sophomore quarterback played a heavier role than normal, first as a "Screw it, it's a bowl game" wrinkle, then as a replacement when starter Adam Kennedy went down with injury. When the Red Wolves got the ball back with 1:25 left, down 20-16, Knighten was 12-for-17 for just 65 yards, an interception, and a sack. Yards per pass attempt: 3.4. He had also rushed 16 times for 91 yards (not including the sack), and ASU had crawled out of an early 10-3 deficit with him behind center.
Still, he had to pass on the final drive, and wow, did he do so. Ball State did ASU a favor with an ill-advised squib kick that R.J. Fleming returned to the ASU 41, and Knighten immediately found Julian Jones for 11 yards, then found J.D. McKissic for 26. After a six-yard scramble, he hurried back to the line and found Allen Muse for a 13-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left. It would eventually become the game-winner when, after BSU drove back down the field (with help from a personal foul penalty), senior Ryan Carrethers blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Arkansas State's average starting field position. It seemed like the Red Wolves were going with the wind all night in Mobile, and it helped that when BSU failed, it failed quickly. Twice in the first half, ASU took over in Ball State territory after punts, and in the third quarter the Red Wolves stopped a fake punt at the BSU 30. Throw in an interception that was returned to the BSU 8 (the Cardinals picked off Knighten three plays later), and ASU started in BSU territory four times; Ball State, meanwhile, only twice started beyond its 25; the Cardinals' average starting field position was their own 20.
Over the course of 23 possessions, field position gave ASU about 300 hidden yards ((23 drives/2) * (46 - 20)). BSU outgained ASU by 32 in terms of real yardage, but with field position added in, it's a wonder ASU didn't win this game by two touchdowns.
Yards per pass attempt for Keith Wenning.
One of the narratives for the ESPN GoDaddy broadcast was "Keith Wenning only had one FBS offer, and now he's an NFL prospect!" That might be perfectly true, but the narrative didn't jive well with what was one of Wenning's worst performances of the season.
Battling wind and some creative blitzes, Wenning completed just 23 of 44 passes (52 percent) for 215 yards, a touchdown, a pick, and two sacks. He completed just nine of 17 passes to star wideout Willie Snead for 87 yards (Snead did also draw two pass interference penalties), but because of wind, rust, or ASU (or, of course, a combination of all three), Wenning was off-target on a lot of intermediate passes. It wasn't the best way for him to go out, but he did work BSU back down the field, and the game did still go to overtime despite the drastic field position difference.
Game remaining in the 2013 college football season. And it's going out with a bang. There have been 11 college football games in the 2014 calendar year, and all 11 were within a touchdown at some point in the fourth quarter. After a pretty dreadful few days of bowls (December 28-31), the Chick-fil-A Bowl late on New Year's Eve livened up the festivities, and they've stayed live ever since.
Hopefully we can say the same after the 12th game of 2014.