Stats Academy: Numbers That Shaped 2012

Here's the latest attempt to unpack one 2012 statistic for the three service academies.


NOTE: Air Force and Navy stats are courtesy of the website

AIR FORCE: Tackles for loss – created only 22 lost yards in three losses decided by an average of 5.33 points

Against Michigan (31-25), UNLV (38-35), and Navy (28-21), Air Force's defense did not register many negative-yardage plays. The Falcons fought well against Michigan, and their defense performed particularly well for three quarters against Navy, but when "winning time arrived," Air Force could not deliver a drive-halting sack or an equation-changing moment. Teams that finish around .500 (as Air Force did in the 2012 regular season) are regularly sitting on the precipice of defeat. The Falcons fell off the edge too many times. If they can make more negative plays on defense in 2013, they should finish the regular season with a winning record and maybe even a snappy 8-4 mark.

ARMY: 2-4 record in FBS games when leading or tied at some point in the second half

Army was plainly outclassed in several contests last year, but on the afternoons when the Black Knights either carried the play or fought on even terms, they still finished with a losing mark. If Army can merely turn close-shave stomach punches into occasions for smiles, it will threaten to reach the .500 mark. It will also break a certain losing streak against a certain team from Annapolis, Maryland.

NAVY: Pass break-ups – none in 4 of 5 FBS losses last season

In its past 10 prosperity-kissed seasons (2003 through 2012), Navy's defensive backs and linebackers have managed to make high-impact plays in the passing game at some point during a season. Navy continued to defend the pass well in 2012, but it's instructive to note that when the Midshipmen didn't have their A-game in the secondary, they paid a steep price.

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