STATISTICAL SPOTLIGHT: ONE STAT THAT STOOD OUT FOR EACH ACADEMY TEAM IN 2012
NOTE: Stats are courtesy of the website http://www.cfbstats.com
AIR FORCE: The Falcons gained 16 first downs due to penalties by opponents
Florida gained 16 first downs due to penalties committed by opponents in 2012. Ohio State gained 15 first downs in such a manner. Florida and Ohio State clearly maximized their breaks. Air Force was unable to do the same. When a team succeeds due to penalties committed by its foes, one can say that it made good use of fortune. When a team fails to cash penalties into prosperity, it's reasonable to conclude that the offense was frail and needed a push at times just to remain on the field. Penalties weren't so much gateways to production as they were masks of relative inefficiency. If Air Force gets 16 first downs via penalties in 2013, it needs to clean up – that's how a team must respond when an opponent litters a field with laundry.
ARMY: Opponents scored touchdowns on 32 of 48 red-zone possessions
Army's defense, like any comparatively undersized defense, can't and shouldn't be expected to stop opposing offenses from moving the ball. That's going to happen – it's a fact of modern-day academy football. This isn't 1945 anymore. What Army needs to be able to do better, though, is to make the stands that count, to take advantage of the fact that the red zone limits the amount of space in which opposing receivers can make adjustments. When an opponent scores a touchdown on two of every three red-zone trips, it is gaining too much scoreboard leverage. Let's see if Army's defense can move that touchdown rate on red-zone possessions to 55 percent in 2013.
NAVY: 18 of 28 fourth-down conversions
You don't need to whip out your calculators. An 18-of-28 rate on fourth downs is a 64-percent clip (64.29 percent, to be exact). This is why Navy didn't pay a (steep) price for converting only 41 percent of its third downs, compared to 48.43 percent for its opponents. This was a live-on-the-edge season for Navy, but as was the case in the previous years when the Midshipmen found their way to a bowl game and the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, coach Ken Niumatalolo's club regularly managed to thrive on that edge instead of falling off it.
OPPONENT RED-ZONE TD CONVERSIONS (2012)
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS (2012)