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The Numerical, Week 13: Giving thanks for Andre Williams, Jordan Lynch, and fake jump passes

In this run through the week's most important college football numbers, we give thanks for Aaron Murray, young cornerbacks, and losing streaks that will probably come to an end in a few games (next year). Also, win probabilities for eight remaining conference battles.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


Yards allowed by California in 2013, at a disturbing rate of 7.1 yards per play. The Bears rank 100th in Def. F/+ just two years after ranking 31st and allowing 5.2 yards per play.


The last time Boise State lost to a conference foe two years in a row. Back then, Big West foe North Texas took out the Broncos, 17-10, after winning 21-13 the year before. It took 14 years for it to happen again, but Saturday's 34-31 overtime defeat by San Diego State, a year after a stunning upset in Boise, did the deed.


The last time SMU won a game while scoring 16 or fewer points. The Mustangs did it back-to-back then: 10-6 over TCU and 10-7 over UNLV. Fifteen years later, they finally pulled it off again with a 16-6 win over USF. This means that in 2013, SMU has scored 16 points in a win and 52 in a loss.


Points allowed by Rutgers in 13 games last season. The Scarlet Knights have now allowed 186 in their last five games. That "52 points in a loss" feat by SMU above? That came against Rutgers. RU can't even pretend to defend the pass this year, and it's jarring to watch.

The latest example? UCF's Blake Bortles completed 21 of 30 passes for 335 yards in an easy 41-17 win on Saturday. This game actually represented improvement, though: Rutgers did sack Bortles five times.

In his last three games, he has 897 yards. Six teams haven't done that all year.


Teams that haven't rushed for 2,073 yet in 2013. That, of course, is what Andre Williams has rushed for by himself. The bruising BC running back has been good for most of the season (USC and Clemson held him in check, but otherwise...), but he has taken things to a rare level of late.

In his last five games, he has 163 carries for 1,235 yards and nine touchdowns (7.6 per carry). Thirteen teams haven't reached that total this year.

In his last three games, he has 104 carries for 897 yards and six scores (8.6 per carry). Six teams haven't done that.

Let's put it this way: On Saturday against Maryland, he carried 32 times for 263 yards and a couple of scores. That was his worst game in a few weeks. He is almost the only weapon on the BC offense, but he is putting up ridiculous totals anyway, and BC is now 7-4 because of it.


Trevor Ruszkowksi, USA Today

Ohio State's chances of winning the next two games, according to F/+ win probabilities. Some key probabilities heading into the final two weeks of the regular season:

  • Ohio State has an 82.4 percent chance of winning at Michigan on Saturday and a 70.2 percent chance of beating Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.
  • Florida State has about an 88.6 percent chance of winning out -- 96.3 percent against Florida and about 92.0 percent of beating either Duke (if the Blue Devils beat UNC) or Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.
  • Alabama has about a 67.0 percent chance of winning out -- 77.8 percent against Auburn and about 86.1 percent against Missouri (if the Tigers beat Texas A&M) or South Carolina.
  • Missouri has a 73.5 percent chance of beating Texas A&M and winning the SEC East.
  • Duke has a 39.9 percent chance of beating UNC and winning the ACC Coastal. (If you're wondering why that's so low, you perhaps haven't noticed how well UNC has played of late.)
  • East Carolina has a 68.5 percent chance of winning at Marshall and taking the CUSA East crown. Meanwhile, Rice has a 65.7 percent chance of beating Tulane and taking the CUSA West title. If the Owls lose, then Tulane would win the West unless UTSA beats Louisiana Tech ... and UTSA has a 93.7 percent chance of doing so.
  • Buffalo has a 54.9 percent chance of beating Bowling Green in a winner-takes-the-MAC-East battle.
  • Utah State has a 96.8 percent chance of beating Wyoming and holding off Boise State in the MWC Mountain division.

Full win probabilities will be shared later this week at Football Study Hall.



Non-sack rushes by Oklahoma in a 41-31 win over Kansas State. Granted, there's a bit of the "You run when you win, not win when you run" truism in there, but with Trevor Knight at quarterback, the Sooners are slowly coming to grips with the fact that they are a run-first team this year. Brennan Clay carried 31 times for 200 yards and two scores; he's averaging 7.5 yards per carry in the last two weeks after averaging 3.5 in the three previous games. OU's best chance of winning this year comes from leaning on the run and occasionally opening up some play-action to Jalen Saunders. It goes against this team's recent personality, but it works. At least, it worked on Saturday. KSU's Tyler Lockett had one of the best receiving days you'll ever see -- 17 targets, 12 catches, 278 yards, and three touchdowns (and a 32.4-yard average on five kickoff returns) -- but OU came away with a big road win anyway.


Consecutive losses for Southern Miss. Clearly the Golden Eagles enjoy streaks -- this epic losing streak was preceded by an almost-as-epic, 18-year streak of winning records -- but this one's getting kind of scary. There are only seven FBS losing streaks longer than this one:

  • 1979-82 Northwestern (34)
  • 1958-61 Virginia (28)
  • 1945-48 Kansas State (28)
  • 1988-90 New Mexico State (27)
  • 1980-82 Eastern Michigan (27)
  • 2008-10 Western Kentucky (26)
  • 1960-63 Colorado State (26)

Perhaps sensing this, however, Southern Miss has scheduled for a quick end to the streak. If USM loses at UAB on Saturday for loss no. 24, the 25th will come next August 30 at Mississippi State. However, Alcorn State visits on September 6, and after a trip to Alabama (!), Southern Miss hosts Appalachian State on September 20. If this streak reaches 27, it will almost certainly reach 34. But it won't reach 27.


Johnny Manziel passes targeting Mike Evans on Saturday. Guarded mostly by true freshman Rashard Robinson (who was given the task because he's a tall corner at 6'1), Evans caught just four of these passes for 51 yards. In fact, while Manziel completed six of 12 passes for 130 yards to Derel Walker, his other 29 passes found their mark just 10 times for 94 yards. Not surprisingly, LSU rolled, 34-10.

This was easily the best defensive performance against Manziel and A&M since ... LSU last year. LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has had a tough year while fielding an incredibly young lineup. But they can defend A&M. And it's not hard to imagine them defending everybody pretty well, once again, in 2014.


Career 200/100 games (200 passing yards, 100 rushing yards) for Jordan Lynch. Granted, eight of them came in 2012, but he posted his third of the season in a division-clinching, surprisingly easy win at Toledo last week. He threw for 202 yards and passed for 161, and while his double-doubles have trailed off a bit, his pace hasn't. After going for 3,138 passing yards and 1,815 rushing yards last year, he's on pace for 3,077 and 1,825 this year. And since NIU has moved ahead of Fresno State in the BCS standings, then he could actually end up becoming a two-time BCS bowl starter in January. We can talk about whether NIU or Fresno State is truly deserving, as a team, to go to a BCS bowl; but there's no question that Lynch himself is deserving of a spotlight that big.

Of course, Lynch hasn't done what Keenan Reynolds and Derek Carr did this past weekend. Reynolds, the Navy quarterback, rushed 33 times for 261 yards and seven touchdowns in a 58-52 overtime win over San Jose State. Meanwhile, Fresno State's Carr completed 27 of 37 passes for a ridiculous 522 yards and seven touchdowns. Yards per pass attempt: 14.1.

How impressive was Fresno State's pass attack on Saturday? Isaiah Burse caught six of eight passes for 107 yards and was a distant third in the "most impressive receiving line" award behind Davante Adams (9-for-14, 246 yards, four touchdowns) and Josh Harper (10-for-11, 161 yards, three scores).


Arizona State sacks on Saturday in a 38-33 win over UCLA and quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley was perfectly solid when he got the pass off -- 18-for-26 for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick -- but when you're moving backwards on over one-quarter of your passes, that can catch up to you. Of course, UCLA still almost won despite the sacks and two missed field goals (37 and 39 yards)...


Touchdowns scored by UNC freshman Ryan Switzer this season. He scored three in an 80-20 win over Old Dominion on Saturday (two receiving, one punt return) and has returned four punts for scores in the last three games alone. That's absurd. Plus, he nearly doubled his season receiving yardage with five catches for 118 yards. Yes, ODU's defense is awful, but the light bulb has clearly come on for both Switzer and the Tar Heels in recent weeks. You've been warned, Duke.


Trips by Baylor inside Oklahoma State's 40 on Saturday night. OSU, meanwhile, made just six trips inside Baylor's 40. Create more opportunities, and you're going to win far more frequently than not. But when you only score two touchdowns on six trips, turn the ball over twice, and turn the ball over on downs twice, you're probably going to lose. And when your opponent scores touchdowns on all six of its opportunities, you're definitely going to lose.

Just ask Oregon, the other typically high-powered offense that also got its butt kicked by injuries, a fired-up underdog, and a ridiculous number of blown chances. Oregon created six scoring opportunities but almost perfectly pulled a Baylor: two touchdowns, a field goal, two turnovers on downs, and an interception. Arizona, meanwhile: six trips, six touchdowns.

Damn gophers.

Hawaii currently ranks 85th in F/+, ahead of 11 BCS-conference teams with at least one win.


One-possession losses by Hawaii in 2013 following Saturday's 59-56 overtime loss at Wyoming. Thanks in part to the Rainbow Warriors' uncanny ability to make a late, hopeless charge -- Hawaii's scoring margin is minus-157 in the first three quarters and plus-24 in the fourth -- they are somehow 0-11 despite having a chance to win in about half of their games.

How strange has this season been for Norm Chow's team? Hawaii currently ranks 85th in F/+, ahead of 11 BCS-conference teams with at least one win (N.C. State, Arkansas, Rutgers, Kentucky, South Florida, Colorado, UConn, Temple, Kansas, California, and Purdue). That's all sorts of strange.

Georgia State, by the way, ranks a paltry 120th but has also managed to lose four games by a possession or less, including a two-point defeat at two-time reigning conference champion Arkansas State on Saturday.

And while Memphis has won some games, the Tigers also look out of place in the F/+ rankings thanks to close losses. The Tigers are 63rd in the rankings, ahead of both 6-5 Maryland and 6-5 Penn State, despite a 3-7 record in a bad conference. The reason? Losses by two, five, seven (twice), 10, 13, and 14 points.


Consecutive wins by Florida Atlantic since Carl Pelini's odd resignation. Average score in those wins (over Tulane, Southern Miss, and New Mexico State): FAU 43.3, opponent 11.3. Now the Owls are 5-6, on the doorstep of bowl eligibility, with a winnable home game against lowly rival FIU in the season finale.


Average price of gas in America in December 2003. Why is this notable? Because in late-December that year, Washington State wrapped up its third consecutive top-10 finish with a 28-20 Holiday Bowl win over Texas. A dominant defense held Longhorn QBs Chance Mock and some freshman named Vince Young to 20-for-49 passing for 196 yards, a touchdown, and seven sacks (yards per pass attempt: 2.4). At this point in time, Wazzu was easily the second most established program in the Pac-10.

Ten years later, the Cougars just clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since that Holiday Bowl. WSU has weathered an epic slide, and in Mike Leach's second year, and finally there is reason to give thanks once again. Hope you were nice to Bill Moos, Cougar fans...


Places to go from here now that we've seen a team win a game on a fake jump pass.

College football has had a nice run, you guys. But it's all downhill from here.

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