Stats Academy: Numbers That Shaped 2012

Air Force's first halves, Army's defensive playmaking, and Navy's comebacks acquire the spotlight in this week's statistical review of the three FBS service academies.


STATISTICAL SPOTLIGHT: ONE STAT THAT STOOD OUT FOR EACH ACADEMY TEAM IN 2012

NOTE: Army stats are courtesy of the website http://www.cfbstats.com

Air Force: 1-4 in FBS games when scoring fewer than 14 points in the first half of a game


There are two sides to this statistic. One is naturally that when Air Force started slowly, it was usually not able to make up the difference in the second half and play catch-up. This fact should not be surprising. However, there's also some good news in this statistic: Air Force started slowly (at least if 14 points is a metric…) in only 5 of its 12 FBS games. On most occasions, the Falcons' offense was able to produce at a higher level before halftime. If this level of first-half proficiency can be increased, Air Force could become even more formidable this fall.

ARMY: Tackles for loss – registered the most TFLs of the season in an FBS game (nine) in a win over Air Force, while creating the most lost yardage via TFLs (38 yards) in its other win over Boston College.

Can there be any doubt about the importance of wreaking havoc on defense? Army will undeniably have to play containment-based defense on many Saturdays; the offense will have to help the Black Knights on every gameday. However, when Army's defense can rise to a higher level of performance, this team flourishes. It's not an idle coincidence that the two best TFL-related games for this team in 2012 were its two wins.

Navy: Comebacks – completed three comebacks of at least eight points last season and completed three fourth-quarter comebacks as well.

Navy was down by eight points to Air Force in the fourth quarter, nine to Indiana in the fourth, and by 10 to Florida Atlantic in the second quarter. The Midshipmen also trailed Army by three points in the fourth quarter. Ken Niumatalolo's team won all four of those games. Navy, during its period of prosperity under Niumatalolo and Paul Johnson, has pulled so many close games out of the fire after trailing. Cucumber-cool crunch-time composure is the essential characteristic of a team that knows how to win. It's an elusive skill that's hard to quantify, but you know it when you see it in evidence. Navy teams, sans the 2011 group, have gained and retained the art of knowing how to win.

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