College football Week 5: By the numbers

Our stats guy puts the biggest games in focus for Week 5, going deep inside the numbers to shed some light on college football.

Mississippi (3-1) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0, 1-0)

33.0 — Average points per game given up by Mississippi over the last two weeks. But the Rebels have had two very different performances to put them there. Two weeks ago, Ole Miss allowed 66 points to the visiting Texas Longhorns. Then last week, the Rebels put together their best defensive effort of the season, shutting out Tulane.

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85.9 — The difference in Defensive S&P+, a play-by-play success rate tweaked to account for disparities in competition, between Alabama and the nation's No. 2 defense, Oregon. How big is that gap? The gap between Oregon and the No. 58 defense, Northwestern, is 85.3. The Crimson Tide has a defensive S&P+ of 270.9, an off-the-charts figure. Oregon is at 185.0.

No. 4 Florida State (4-0) at South Florida (2-2)

256 — This isn't the same Florida State team you're used to. Running backs James Wilder Jr. and Chris Thompson rushed for a combined 256 yards in the Seminoles' 49-37 win over Clemson. The Seminoles are taking pride in being more of a smash-mouth team than previous versions, and Wilder and Thompson give them a great 1-2 punch — along with the legs of quarterback E.J. Manuel — to plow through teams with.

341 — The combined rushing and passing yardage put up by South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels in the lone meeting between South Florida and Florida State, a 17-7 Bulls win in 2009. Daniels, a redshirt freshman at the time, passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 126 yards.

Tennessee (3-1) at No. 5 Georgia (4-0)

17.5 — How many sacks Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones has in his last 17 games. After missing the Florida Atlantic game with an injury, Jones came back to register a sack last week against Vanderbilt. This year, he has 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in just three games.


Can Tyler Bray lead the Vols to an upset of Georgia? (US Presswire)

302 — The per-start passing average of quarterback Tyler Bray, over the course of 16 starts in a Tennessee uniform. Bray has led the Volunteers to an 11-5 record in those starts. This season, he's 3-1 as a starter, while passing for 1,301 yards, or 325.3 yards per game.

No. 8 Stanford (3-0) at Washington (2-1)

126.93 — The quarterback rating of Husky signal caller Keith Price this season. That's 34.97 points down from his mark last year. Price's 2011 season was the best, from an efficiency standpoint, of any quarterback in the proud quarterback tradition at Washington. But this year, things haven't quite gone as well, at least not early on.

1952 — The last time Stanford was able to go 4-0 for the third consecutive season. The Cardinal went 4-0 in each season from 1950-1952, but haven't been able to tie together a similar three-year string since. Stanford started 4-0 in both 2010 and 2011, and enter Thursday's contest 3-0, so a three-year run is still on the table.

No. 25 Baylor (3-0) at No. 9 West Virginia (3-0)

34 — The improvement in Baylor's defense in the national S&P+ rankings from 2011 to 2012. The Bears featured the 83rd best defense in the country in 2011, with the Bears ranking as a bottom half team in both rushing (62nd) and passing (91st). This year, the Bears are 49th nationally, and are top-40 in both rushing (33rd) and passing (40th).

150.9 — The offensive S&P+ of West Virginia, good for No. 1 nationally. The Moutaineers have been effective in both offensive phases, ranking No. 2 in rushing S&P+ and No. 1 in passing S&P+.

No. 12 Texas (3-0) at Oklahoma State (2-1)

20-5 — Oklahoma State's record in Big 12 play since 2009, the best mark in the league in that time period. The Cowboys went 6-2 in 2009, falling to Texas and Oklahoma and 6-2 in 2010, losing to Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Cowboys topped those marks in 2011, going 8-1 and winning their first ever Big 12 title. Iowa State was the lone squad to clip the Cowboys last year.

202.8 — Texas quarterback David Ash's passer rating on second- and third-and-long situations. Looking for a reason the Texas offense is more explosive this year? It probably isn't a stretch to put a lot of that improvement on Ash, who has even been effective when other teams have known that he has to pass.

No. 14 Ohio State (4-0) at No. 20 Michigan State (3-1)

2 — The number of sacks by Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen in last year's game against the Buckeyes. As a team, Michigan State rang up nine in that contest. Allen finished with 11 sacks on the season, but he hasn't been as deadly this year. His first, and only, sack this season came in last week's win over Eastern Michigan.

10 — The number of 70-plus-yard drives by Ohio State's offense through four games this season. The Buckeyes only had nine such drives in the entire 2011 season. All 10 of those drives have ended with Ohio State adding a six to the scoreboard, including five drives of 75 yards in the past two weeks.

No. 15 TCU (3-0) at SMU (1-2)

0 — It wouldn't hurt the Mustangs' cause to start games a little faster. SMU has yet to score a first-quarter point this season. The Mustangs are losing both the second and third quarters. SMU has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter, but the 38-point gap in the first three quarters has been tough to overcome.

11 — TCU's current winning streak, the longest in the country. The Horned Frogs haven't lost since ... wait for it ... last year's game against SMU, when the Mustangs pulled out a 40-33 overtime upset. The Horned Frogs have allowed just one touchdown so far this season.


Which version of Rich Rod's Arizona team will show up against Oregon State? (Jason Scheer)

No. 18 Oregon State (2-0) at Arizona (3-1)

53.5 — The rushing yards per game allowed by Oregon State's defense, good for second in the country. What makes that figure even more impressive is the fact that the Beavers have played some good backs, led by Wisconsin's Montee Ball and UCLA's Jonathan Franklin.

59 — The difference, in points, between Arizona's first game against a BCS conference foe and its second one. The Wildcat offense was rocking and rolling in a 59-38 victory over Oklahoma State. But Arizona couldn't ever get off the ground two short weeks later against Oregon, falling 49-0.

Wisconsin (3-1) at No. 22 Nebraska (3-1)

90.0 — For most players, averaging 90 rushing yards per game is the start of a good season. After all, over the course of a 12-game season, that's 1,080 yards. But for Wisconsin power back Montee Ball, it's been a disappointment, with Ball averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. Ball left the Badgers' game against UTEP with a head injury and is questionable for Saturday's game.

1964 — The year Tom Osborne joined the Nebraska athletics department, hopping on the Cornhusker football staff as an unpaid offensive assistant. Five years later, he was offensive coordinator. And in 1973, Osborne started his head-coaching career that carried through the 1997 season. Osborne rejoined the department in 2007 as athletics director, and on Jan. 1, 2013, he'll step down and retire from the school into which he's invested so much.


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