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September 28, 2010
Each week during the season, we look at some statistics involving individuals and/or teams that we find intriguing. Here is this week's version:
1. Four teams -- Hawaii (66 points), Michigan (65), Ohio State (73) and Wisconsin (70) -- joined the 60-point club last weekend. There now are 14 teams that have scored at least 60 points this season, and two (Oklahoma State and Oregon) have done it twice. Ohio State's point total, which was accumulated against MAC bottom-feeder Eastern Michigan, is the highest this season, followed by Oregon's 72 (against New Mexico) and Wisconsin's 70 (against FCS member Austin Peay). Research by the great stats website cfbstats.com shows that 21 teams reached the 60-point mark last season; there were 25 such scoring outbursts in 2008, 21 in '07 and just 12 in '06. Air Force and Houston are the only teams that have scored 60 this season that also did it last season. Texas Tech is the only team has scored at least 60 in each of the past four years, but the Red Raiders' streak seems likely to end with Mike Leach gone.
2. The best defense on third downs thus far? It's Florida International's. And before you cast aspersions on the level of competition, FIU has played three consecutive Big Six teams (Rutgers, Texas A&M and Maryland). The Golden Panthers have allowed foes to convert just 20.5 percent of their third downs (8-of-39 -- and that number could get even better this week, considering punchless Pittsburgh is next up). Second is Oregon, at 21.2 percent (14-of-66). At the other end of the spectrum, Western Kentucky -- which has played four consecutive Big Six schools -- is allowing a 59.1 conversion percentage (26-of-44). At 119th nationally is Oregon State (58.7 percent, 27-of-46).
3. Oregon leads the nation in red zone defense. Ducks opponents have reached the red zone 10 times but scored on just five of their opportunities (three TDs, two field goals). The three worst red zone defenses? Indiana, N.C. State and Penn State. But that's sort of misleading. Each defense has allowed its opponent to score on every red zone possession -- but there have been just six against each team.
4. There are four quarterbacks among the nation's top 15 rushers. Michigan's Denard Robinson leads the nation at 172.0 yards per game. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez is 10th (124.0 ypg), Auburn's Cameron Newton 11th (121.3 ypg) and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick 15th (112.8 ypg).
5. The stat that matters? The top 12 teams in turnover margin (three teams are tied for 10th) are a combined 38-7; the bottom eight are a combined 8-22.