College football Week 9: By the numbers

Our stats guy puts the biggest games in focus for Week 9, going deep inside the numbers to shed some light on college football.

No. 11 Mississippi State (7-0) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0)

0.21 — Mississippi State's defensive EqPts Per Play, an explosiveness measure attached to S&P+, a play-by-play success rate tweaked to account for disparities in competition. If the Bulldogs have done one thing well defensively, it's that they've kept explosive plays to a minimum, ranking 13th nationally in that category.

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13 — How many more interceptions the Crimson Tide have than their opponents. Alabama has yet to throw an interception on 160 attempts, while Tide opposition have thrown 13 picks in 189 attempts. That's an advantage of almost two picks per game.

No. 2 Florida (7-0) vs. No. 10 Georgia (6-1)

2.8 — The yards per play Florida averaged last week ... while still finding a way to rout a then-top-10 team in South Carolina. In fact, Florida averaged just 4.2 yards per point, scoring 44 points and gaining 183 total yards.

3.3 — What Georgia averaged per play when it played against South Carolina. Unlike the Gators, though, the Bulldogs found themselves on the wrong side of a beat-down, falling 35-7.

No. 14 Texas Tech (6-1) at No. 3 Kansas State (7-0)

132.5 — It's no secret how Kansas State goes out to win games: run the ball, and stop the run. The Wildcats are second in the Big 12 in both rushing offense (233.9 yards per game) and rushing defense (101.4), meaning Kansas State out-rushes opponents by an average of 132.5 yards per contest, or 2.3 yards per carry more.

Heisman contender Collin Klein faces another big test in Texas Tech. (

190.7 — Meanwhile, Texas Tech wins by succeeding in the exact opposite style of play. The Red Raiders are second in the Big 12 in passing offense (361.7 yards per game) and are second in passing defense (171.0). That's a difference of 190.7 yards per game.

No. 5 Notre Dame (7-0) at No. 8 Oklahoma (5-1)

8-1 — Notre Dame's record against Oklahoma. Of course, that one loss was a doozy, with the Sooners annihilating the Fighting Irish 40-0 in South Bend in 1956. At the time, Oklahoma was in the midst of a still-record 47-game winning streak. Here's the thing: the Irish provided the two losses that bookended the streak, giving the Sooners their last loss before the streak (though Oklahoma tied Pittsburgh one week later before starting the win streak), then beat the Sooners in 1957 to end the string.

52 — Oklahoma's points-per-game average in the three games after losing to Kansas State, including two wins over ranked teams at the time. The Sooners played weaker competition in the first three games (the Wildcats were the lone ranked team), and averaged 39 points per game. That number is deceiving: 69 points came against Florida A&M. Against each of the two FBS teams Oklahoma faced, it scored 24 points.

No. 7 Oregon State (6-0) at Washington (3-4)

0 — The number of times Oregon State has started a season 7-0 in its program's history. The Beavers currently sit at 6-0, a feat that Oregon State hadn't accomplished since 1907.

5 — This will be the fifth game this season that the Huskies have taken on a team ranked in the nation's top 11, a first in program history for the first eight games. The Huskies defeated No. 8 Stanford and lost to No. 3 LSU, No. 2 Oregon and No. 11 USC. Washington is 2-1 in its other three games, giving the Huskies a hard-fought 3-4 record.

Ohio State (8-0) at Penn State (5-2)

5 — You might not have noticed, but after dropping their first two games to Ohio and Virginia, the Nittany Lions have won five in a row. But even more than that, they've done so in convincing fashion, winning each of their last five contests by a minimum of 11 points and an average margin of 20.2 points per game.

6 — Ohio State's national ranking in Standard Downs S&P+ offensively. The Buckeyes do well when the other team doesn't know what's coming, but considerably worse when they're pigeon-holed into throwing the ball. The Buckeyes are 42nd in the nation in Passing Downs S&P+.

Tennessee (3-4) at No. 13 South Carolina (6-2)

-2 — Looking for a reason Tennessee has struggled? Turnovers has to be among them. The Volunteers are +4 in their three wins and -6 in their four losses. Considering that the Vols are producing offense at a high pace — fifth-best through seven games in school history in total yards — holding onto the ball and producing touchdowns is paramount. The Vols score touchdowns on just 59 percent of their red zone trips.

3.9 — South Carolina's average yards gained per pass attempt against Florida. To be fair, that was significantly better than what happened when the Gamecocks ran the ball. There, they only averaged 1.4 yards per carry.

No. 22 Michigan (5-2) at Nebraska (5-2)

12 — Last week, Nebraska overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Northwestern, tying the school record. The Cornhuskers also came back from 12 points down against Missouri in 2009 and Colorado in 1966.

Taylor Martinez is on a very short list of college football QBs with his passing and running skills. (Scott Eklund)

18 — Only 18 quarterbacks in college football history have passed for more than 5,000 yards and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in their careers. Two of those quarterbacks will face off in this game, as Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez both hit that mark. Only one other time in history have two such quarterbacks faced each other, back in 2005 when Texas and Vince Young played Missouri and Brad Smith.

No. 21 Boise State (6-1) at Wyoming (1-6)

18-2 — The touchdown-to-interception ratio allowed by Wyoming's defense. Opposing passers have also completed 66.5 percent of their passes, and have a 150.07 quarterback rating against the Cowboys.

18.1 — The difference in per-game scoring averages between last year's Boise State team — with all-everything quarterback Kellen Moore (44.2 points per game) and this year's offense, without Moore (26.1).

No. 23 Texas (5-2) at Kansas (1-6)

6.0 — What opposing runners are averaging, per carry, against the Longhorns in conference play. Not only is that the worst mark in the Big 12, it's nearly double what the Big 12's best per-carry defense allows (Kansas State with 3.3). Texas is allowing 266.2 yards per game on the ground in Big 12 play.

56 — Kansas's national rank in S&P+. That in itself isn't an amazing stat, but this is: that number puts the Jayhawks ahead of undefeated Big East teams Louisville (57) and Rutgers (58), each of whom are 7-0. Kansas is 1-6 this season.

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