The Numerical: Comebacks, Interceptions And A Dink-And-Dunk Masterpiece

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 03: Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Cougars looks for room to run on a bootleg against UCLA at Robertson Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Looking at the numbers from a week that saw crazy comebacks, a heavyweight slugfest in Tallahassee, and some video game statistics.

0: Touches received by running back Bryce Brown in Kansas State's 37-0 win over Kent State. Before the season, I was a little concerned by the assumptions of greatness for both Brown and Darrell Scott, two former five-star backs who had shown anything but five-star talent at the college level before transferring. Scott is showing promise -- he gained 230 yards in just 13 touches in South Florida's 70-17 win over Florida A&M this week -- but for one reason or another (word seems to be oscillating between "He's in Bill Snyder's doghouse" and "He's got an undisclosed injury"), Brown is struggling to even see the field. All is not lost for the Brown family, however: Bryce's brother Arthur, a former five-star linebacker who also transferred to KSU, is doing well. He had 8.5 tackles, two for loss, on Saturday.

1: Passes Army quarterback Trent Steelman completed in the Cadets' 21-14 upset win over Northwestern. He was 1-for-7 for six yards and was sacked once, resulting in a per-attempt average of minus-0.6. But he carried 27 times for 119 yards, and Army backs Raymond Maples and Malcolm Brown combined for 174 yards on 23 carries. Army played keep-away beautifully, running 82 plays to Northwestern's 57, and their defense made some noise of its own: they registered five tackles for loss to Northwestern's one.

2: Passes Ohio State quarterback Joe Bauserman completed in 15 dropbacks during the Buckeyes' 24-6 whipping at the hands of Miami. He completed two of 14 passes for 13 yards and was sacked once. That's a per-attempt average of 0.4. Freshman Braxton Miller might not be ready for prime time, but I think we've pretty clearly defined Bauserman's limits at this point: if the opposing defense is better than Akron's, Bauserman isn't going to thrive.

2.4: Per-play yardage average posted by Louisiana-Monroe after an explosive first quarter in their 38-17 loss to TCU. Twitter was abuzz with "My goodness, TCU's defense is terrible!" tweets when ULM's first three drives generated 204 yards (9.3 per play) and 17 points. The Warhawks field an underdog-friendly attack capable of fooling opponents for a little while, but TCU adjusted and took care of business pretty quickly.

3: Ole Miss drives that didn't end in a punt (six) or an interception (five) in Saturday's blowout loss to Vanderbilt. Those three drives produced one touchdown, one turnover on downs and one safety. Yikes. Quarterback Zack Stoudt completed just 13 of 26 passes for 139 yards, his five picks were worth 23.2 Equivalent Points (as defined here), and he was not bailed out by the running game. Jeff Scott and Brandon Bolden combined for just 82 yards on 23 carries.

Interceptions Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz threw in his first four passes Friday night against Connecticut. He went 18-for-25 for 200 yards and a touchdown the rest of the way as the Cyclones shook off an atrocious start to win, 24-20. He overcame what looked at first to be a pretty gruesome knee injury to boot.

Interceptions UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince threw in the Bruins' first four possessions Saturday against Texas. His final line before getting pulled in favor of Richard Breheaut: 3-for-7, 26 yards, three picks. UCLA actually played reasonably well after falling behind by a pick-addled, 21-0 margin, but not well enough to prevent a 49-20 loss.

Passes Florida International receiver T.Y. Hilton caught Saturday against Central Florida's brutal defense. He hauled in just three of the 10 passes thrown his way and managed just 30 yards ... and FIU won anyway. They forced two turnovers and sacked UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey six times; they are more than just T.Y.

One-play touchdown drives Alabama produced in the second half of their 41-0 win over North Texas. Just as I was starting to worry about their explosiveness, Trent Richardson busted a 58-yard touchdown run, then a 71-yarder; Eddie Lacy threw in a 67-yarder for good measure. Two turnovers kept Alabama's winning margin under 50, but this still wasn't a contest.

4: Boise State drives that spanned 40 or more yards and didn't end up in touchdowns in their 40-15 win at Toledo last Friday night. Only field position and some luck prevented the Rockets from getting blown up even worse, and Toledo didn't even play that poorly.

Incompetions thrown by Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege against New Mexico on Saturday. That is almost always impressive (unless you're Kevin Prince). But when you miss four times in 44 passes? That's, uh, good. His final line: 40-for-44, 401 yards, five touchdowns, zero picks, zero sacks.

Passes defensed by star Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley in the Hokies' 26-7 win over Arkansas State. He made 6.5 tackles, picked off two passes and broke up two others. I was curious how Tech would handle Hugh Freeze's offense, and after the first drive (three plays, 59 yards), they dominated (64 plays, 210 yards the rest of the way).

Fumbles Hawaii lost in their baffling 40-20 defeat at the hands of UNLV. Those fumbles were worth 18.1 Equivalent Points, which, in a 20-point loss, could come in handy, eh? UNLV built a hefty lead early on, then coasted.

5: Georgia Tech players who gained at least 68 rushing yards against Kansas. The Yellow Jackets scored 66 points and gained a staggering 768 yards, led by Orwin Smith, who gained 265 yards in seven touches (five rushes, two receptions). Kansas kept up for a while -- they gained 261 yards of their own in the first half -- but they ran out of gas.

6: Bryn Renner passes that hit the ground. Renner has become a Numerical favorite with his propensity for throwing more passes into opponents' hands (four) than onto the turf (three) through two games. He "settled" for a 15-for-21 passing line in UNC's 28-17 win over Virginia, electing to allow UVa's Michael Rocco to throw the interceptions instead.

6.5: Tackles for loss registered by sophomore LSU defensive tackles Bennie Logan and Michael Brockers in the Tigers' 19-6 win over Mississippi State last Thursday night. MSU quarterback Chris Relf had absolutely no pocket to work with and no running game on which to lean. The Tigers' defensive line was far from elite last year, but both the present and future are bright.

7: Catches by Oklahoma receiver Kenny Stills during the Sooners' 23-13 win at Florida State. He was targeted 10 times and generated 125 yard and a spectacular jump-ball touchdown. With the Seminoles hemming Ryan Broyles in for the most part (eight targets, seven catches, just 55 yards), Landry Jones needed a second target to emerge. To say the least, Stills emerged. Oklahoma saw a sophomore stud step up on defense, too: sophomore linebacker/safety Tony Jefferson registered 7.5 tackles, three for loss.

8: Touchdowns Oregon scored in their first nine possessions against Missouri State. The Bears from Springfield actually took a 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game; just once, I want to see a massive underdog go up 7-0, then charge the field and carry their coach to the locker room on their shoulders.

10: Tackles for loss generated by Stanford in their 37-10 win over Arizona Saturday night. That's 10 more than Arizona managed. Star linebacker Shayne Skov is now lost for the season with injury, but for almost a full 12 months now (basically ever since the moment last year's Oregon game ended), the Cardinal have fielded a defense capable of attacking from any angle at any time. They might -- might -- be well-equipped to absorb such a loss.

14.9: Value, in Equivalent Points, of Notre Dame's three turnovers in their easy, 31-13 win over Michigan State on Saturday. See what happens when you give away only two touchdowns per game instead of four? You win! (Seriously, that's 13 turnovers, worth 70 points, in three games. That they beat one good team and almost beat two others hints at a high ceiling for the Irish, but ... this does need to stop at some point.)

15: Total possessions in Saturday's South Carolina-Navy game, nine of which lasted at least 3:54. We know the Midshipmen will try to grind out long drive after long drive, and they succeeded in doing so, but the Gamecocks survived, 24-21, thanks to some grinding of their own. Marcus Lattimore touched the ball 41 times (37 rushes, four receptions), generating 271 yards in the process. That was enough to get past a trio of Navy backs who did their own damage -- Alexander Teich, Gee Gee Greene and John Howell combined for 184 yards on 25 carries. Carolina didn't run the flexbone, but in a different way, they beat Navy at their own game.

30: Advantage, in yards, of Florida's average starting field position (as compared to Tennessee's) in the first half of the Gators' 33-23 win over the Vols in Gainesville. In building an early cushion, Florida started their drives at their 47-yard line. Tennessee started at their 17. Throw in a devastating injury to star Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter and a killer performance from Chris Rainey (108 rushing yards, 104 receiving yards), and it's actually rather impressive that Tennessee lost by only 10.

103: Receiving yards Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins generated in seven targets (and six catches) in Illinois' 17-14 win over Arizona State. Jenkins is perhaps the most underrated receiver in the country. He was targeted with 32 percent of Illinois' passes last year, catching a healthy 68 percent of them for 13.3 yards per reception. This year has seen much of the same.

311: Yards Houston gained on four consecutive touchdown drives in their stirring, 35-34 comeback win over Louisiana Tech. The Cougars fell behind by a 34-7 margin with 5:11 left in the third quarter; at the time, their first ten drives had generated just 141 yards and one touchdown over 42 plays (3.4 per play). But like any good Air raid offense, they kept attacking. Meanwhile, Tech folded, committing two turnovers and averaging just 3.7 yards per play over their final five drives. It was a weekend for surges, actually. Iowa fell behind Pittsburgh by a 24-3 margin before scoring four consecutive touchdowns (and gaining 261 yards in the process) and winning 31-28. San Diego State trailed Washington State, 24-14, before scoring four touchdowns (and gaining 279 yards) over six late drives and winning 42-24. Meanwhile, Maryland went down 24-3 before scoring 28 points over their final six possessions; they were driving for the winning score before Danny O'Brien threw his third pick of the game.

574: Length, in seconds, of Clemson's game-ending drive in their 38-24 win over Auburn. After a fumble recovery, Auburn began to drive and kickstart what seemed like their inevitable comeback, but CU picked off a pass, then ate up the game's final 9:34 over the course of 18 plays and 73 yards. After a slow start, the Clemson offense was simply magnificent, particularly quarterback Tajh Boyd (30-for-42, 386 yards, four touchdowns) and young receiver Sammy Watkins (12 targets, 10 catches, 155 receiving yards, two touchdowns; 44 rushing yards).

700: Yardage margin in Missouri's 69-0 win over Western Illinois Saturday night. The Leathernecks were an FCS playoff participant in 2010, but they had nothing to offer, getting outgained 744-44. Missouri's Henry Josey ran for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, and walk-on fullback Jared Culver (playing because the next three Missouri running backs on the depth chart are all injured) rushed for another 86 on 11 carries. Thirty Tigers made tackles, and including sacks, WIU quarterback Josh Hudson averaged minus-0.4 yards per pass attempt.

Infinity: Sideline passes Duke attempted and completed in their 20-19 win at Boston College. Quarterback Sean Renfree (40-for-52, 359 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) and receiver Donovan Varner (14 targets, 12 catches, 78 yards) pulled off a dink-and-dunk masterpiece, and when Boston College missed a chipshot field goal in the final minutes, the Blue Devils had their third conference road win of the David Cutcliffe era.

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