[divider]COMPARE: Any CFB Player | Any CFB Team[divider]
One way to get prepared for the weekend’s games is to know things. Stats tells us things. Let’s learn.
- Despite losing to TCU last week, Oklahoma State remains the nation’s leader in first-quarter scoring at 16.5 points. They scored just seven in the first quarter versus the Horned Frogs, however and lost by 13.
- Oregon and Arkansas State are averaging 14 points per first quarter, Alabama is at 13.8 and East Carolina is at 13.7.
- Finishing games is critical and despite some struggles with turnovers, USC has done just that in 2017, averaging 15.5 points per fourth quarter. TCU ranks No. 2 at 15.0, Oklahoma‘s 14 ranks No. 3. Washington State’s 12.7 puts them at No. 4 ahead of Colorado State and UCLA.
- Efficiency breeds consistency and one metric that measures such efficiency on offense is yards per point. Central Florida (10.3), Texas A&M (10.4) and both Washington and Washington State (10.5) lead the country in fewest yards per point. The stat suggests the teams ranked at the top don’t waste opportunities to score, score touchdowns at a high level rather than field goals, create turnovers and win the field position game in all three facets.
- Another efficiency metric is points per play where Oklahoma (.703), Central Florida (.673), Oklahoma State (.668) and Washington (.661) lead the way.
- If you’re a control freak, Georgia Tech, Texas-San Antonio, New Mexico, Georgia State and Duke are the Top 5 teams in first-half time of possession share — all between 62 and 68 percent.
- In the second half, it’s Army, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Duke and … Alabama, as the Tide run out the clock on their non-conference opponents.
- Yards per play is a big stat used by a lot of offensive coaches and demonstrates the potency of the unit. Oklahoma (8.9), Oklahoma State (8.2), Louisville (7.4), Stanford (7.3) and UCLA (7.3) are the Top 5 in yards per play. Penn State is No. 6, tied with West Virginia at 7.2.
- Converting on third down is critical to sustain drives. These teams have been great at it through four weeks: TCU (63%) Georgia Tech (59.3%), Wisconsin (57.9%), Colorado State (55.1%) and Oklahoma State (54.7%) are tops in the nation. Surprisingly, UAB is No. 6 at 53.3 percent and Tulsa is at No. 8, converting 52.9 percent of their third-down chances.
- Many of the top scoring teams in the country use an uptempo style and run a lot of plays. South Florida is averaging 96 plays per game, Duke 92, Kansas 88.7 and Washington State 88. Syracuse, led by Eric Dungey, is averaging 87.7. None of those teams average fewer than 30 points per game and two of them are over 40 per week.
- Big Plays are a big part of winning in college football, which suggests massive issues in other areas if a big-play offense hasn’t led to a lot of wins. Enter UCLA, who have 87 plays of at least 10 yards, tied with Louisville for the top spot. The Bruins lead the country with 35 plays of at least 20 yards. They’re 2-2.
- No team has more plays of 70 yards or more than Baylor … Oklahoma’s three plays of 80 yards or more paces college football, one more than Penn State.
- Stanford RB Bryce Love isn’t getting a ton of love but is averaging 10.8 yard per carry this season abd it’s not due to low-yield touches. He’s carried it 73 times for 787 yards — tops in the nation.
- Miami RB Mark Walton — just two games in — has 352 yards on 27 carries for an average of 13 yards per.
- It’s not surprising Penn State’s Saquon Barkley leads the nation in all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving, returning) with 1,013, but it might surprise some who’s No. 2. That’s San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny with 920, including 117 on kick returns.
- Penn State, known for their offensive prowess, leads the country in opponent yards per point at 33.2. Minnesota (29.9), Wake Forest (27.3), Georgia (25.9) and Colorado (25.4) round out the Top 5.
- In points per play, here’s Penn State again at .115, leading Minnesota (.133), Clemson (.139), Georgia (.149) and Wake Forest (.163). Alabama is No. 6 at .165. You have to run a lot of plays against these teams to score points.
- Other than Miami, who doesn’t qualify yet due to having just two games under its belt, there are just three teams left in college football which have yet to allow a first-quarter score: Penn State, Colorado and Southern Miss. Alabama has allowed three points in the first quarter all year.
- Defenses that have fourth-quarter shutouts going: Wisconsin, Eastern Michigan, Central Florida, Minnesota, Southern Mississippi and Michigan. Wake Forest and Arizona have yielded just three points in the final quarter all year.
- Stopping the run is essential, so South Florida has stuffed opponents to the tune of a 2.0 yards per carry mark thus far. Michigan is at 2.2, Clemson 2.5, Auburn 2.6, tied with Middle Tennessee for the fifth-best YPC mark in the nation.
- Pressuring the QB may be one of the more necessary aspects of playing defense at any level of football. These five teams have the best sack percentage (of drop-backs) entering Week 5:
Michigan — 14.6
Clemson — 14.1
San Diego State — 13.0
Tennessee — 13.04
Auburn — 12.22
- South Florida’s turnover margin of plus-10 leads college football. Texas A&M and Alabama are No. 2 at plus-8 with Texas Tech and SMU next at plus-7. Only 46 teams are on the plus side, and 14 others are even, leaving 70 teams on the wrong side of the margin, including Auburn (-1), Oklahoma State (-1), Georgia (-1), Florida (-2), UCLA (-5) and Michigan State (-6).
- Preventing big plays consistently can keep a team in a game. Michigan is proof. The Wolverines have allowed just 30 plays of 10 yards or more through four weeks, tops in the country for teams that have played four games.
- Washington State leads college football in fewest plays allowed of 20 yards or more, surrendering just six in four games.
- Washington and Auburn have allowed just one play of 30 yards or more to lead the country.
- Three SEC members — Alabama, Auburn and Georgia — and Washington are the lone teams in the nation with four games played that have yet to allow a play of 40 or more yards.
- Ball State DE Anthony Winbush, who was spotlighted here by Andrew Doughty — leads the nation with 7.5 sacks. He also leads college football in tackles for loss with 10.5, one more than Northern Illinois‘ DL Sutton Smith.