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God bless the USA!!!




The Scoop on stats - Week 10

As the year goes on, the stakes get bigger, and the games just keep getting better and better. This past weekend was a perfect example of that. Here's a look at some of the statistics that caught our eye through week 10. There's some real good ones in here this week.

Let us know if there is anything out there that caught your eye that you think should have made the cut.

- Of the top scoring offenses nationally, just one is in the Pac 12 (#1 Oregon), one is from the WAC (#2 LA Tech), one is from the SEC (#4 Texas A&M), one is from the MAC (#10 Northern Illinois), two are from the ACC (#3 Florida State and #7 Clemson), and the remaining four are from the Big 12 (#5 Kansas State, #6 Baylor, #8 Oklahoma State, and #9 West Virginia).

- Texas A&M is averaging 45 points per game, which is a touchdown more per game that it averaged in the Big 12 last season.

- On Saturday, Kenjon Barner rushed for more yards in a single game (321) than Washington State has rushed for all season.

- Also, Barner ran for more, or as many touchdowns, against USC on Saturday than 12 FBS had during the entire month of October. LSU, Iowa, Miami (OH), Virginia, Wake Forest, and New Mexico State all accounted for 5 touchdowns last month, while Washington State, Colorado, Miami (FL), Illinois, UConn and UMass each had 4 or less on the month.

- Oregon became the first team ever to put up 60+ on USC. The Trojans have been playing football for 124 years.

- Though nine games, Mississippi State has not allowed a single punt return yard in just eight return attempts. Three other teams (Auburn, Ball State, Kansas State) are allowing single digit return yardage.

- Three of the top five scorers in the country are running backs (Kenneth Dixon - LA Tech, Kenjon Barner - Oregon, Giovani Bernard - UNC), and just two specialists (Quinn Sharp - OK State, and Dustin Hopkins - Florida State) are in the top ten.

- Nine games in the books, and Air Force has yet to allow a sack (67 attempts on the year). Perhaps more impressively, Oklahoma State has 317 passing attempts, and has given up just four sacks on the season.

- Arizona is the team that has benefited the most from penalties this season, with over 900 free yards in nine games (939 yards on the season). Teams commit nearly 11 penalties per game against the Wildcats.

- Kansas State is the only team in the country to have converted 100% of their fourth down attempts (2 for 2). Florida State is dead last in offensive fourth down conversions, going 0 for 2 through their first nine games.

- The most aggressive staffs when it comes to going for it on fourth down are Army (34 attempts), Penn State (30 attempts), Air Force (27 attempts) and UMass (27 attempts).

- Nebraska, Florida and Florida State all have defenses that are holding their opponents to a less than 50% completion rating.

- Stanford has the nation's top run defense, and is the only defense in the country that is allowing less than 2 yards per carry (1.91).

- Louisiana Tech and Alabama are the only two teams in the country yet to throw an interception. On the flip side, Western Michigan, Washington State and Idaho have all thrown 16 picks each. Our research shows that there are no starting quarterbacks at the FCS, D-II or D-III level that can say that.

- Seven players in the FBS have reached the 100 tackle mark, only two of them are from the same conference (SEC). Toledo, UAB, Kentucky, Boston College, Iowa, Tennessee, and Army all have linebackers with 100 tackles or more and all of them but Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson (10 games) have done it in 9 games.

- Houston has two linebackers in the top seven players nationally in tackles for loss.

- Tulane, San Jose State, and Alabama are the only teams with kickers who have converted 100% of their field goal attempts. All three kickers have at least 9 attempts.

- Texas State, UMass, Eastern Michigan, Army, New Mexico, Idaho and Colorado are all giving up an average of 7 yards per play on defense. Not surprisingly, none of those teams have more than 4 wins on the season (New Mexico is 4-6).

- Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen has booted the ball almost two yards more on average (48.79 yards per punt) than the top punters from the last two seasons (2011 - 47.04 yards per punt, 2010 - 46.37 yards per punt)., .

- Western Kentucky's Quanterus Smith and Bowling Green's Chris Jones have the exact same amount of sacks (11.5 which is tied for first nationally) for the exact same amount of yardage (79 yards). However, Smith has put up the numbers in one less game.




Mike MacIntyre notes maturity as main reason for San Jose State's turnaround

San Jose head coach Mike MacIntyre has Spartans sitting at an impressive 7-2 and 4-1 in WAC play. Their only two losses this season were a three point loss to Stanford and a 22 point loss to a hot Utah State team last month.

The seven wins is more than San Jose State had combined to win over the past two seasons and one more win in their next three games will equal their win total from the last three seasons combined. There's no doubt that MacIntyre has these guys on the right path.

Asked about the strides that they have made since being named head coach back in December of 2009, MacIntyre noted the team's maturity and love of the game, even during grueling practices, as a few of the reasons that they're now able to put together consistent wins on Saturday afternoons. 

"Those young men are hungry, they can taste it, they enjoy winning...It's contagious."

"There is such a fine line between winning and losing," McIntyre explained. "There's three or four plays here or there. Fortunately we've been making those plays and our kids are hustling and understanding what to do."

"One thing that we do a good job of is our kids concentrate and practice hard all week. Well people say, 'Everybody practices hard.' Yeah but there's a difference, our kids are focused, they're thinking, they're enjoying practice. They really are enjoying practice and when you do that, it ends up showing up on Saturdays."

"It's kind of like osmosis, it just shows up because they're so ready. Eventually all those fundamentals and all those things that we've taught them...they're more precise than the other team and they're good enough athletes to make plays."

This weekend the Spartans take on a New Mexico State team that took them down to the wire and beat them on the last play of the game three years ago. MacIntyre said that loss on their home field left a bad taste in the mouths of his players, and they've had this one circled on the calendar for a while now.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm ET. San Jose State's remaining two games following Saturday are at home against BYU and WAC frontrunner Louisiana Tech to finish out the year.




Tuesday TV - MACtion on tonight

Tonight and tomorrow night we'll have some MACtion to enjoy as the only games on. It will be nice to enjoy some mid-week college football on a Wednesday night (Bowling Green at Ohio).

Eastern time is listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

Ball State at Toledo - 8 - ESPN2

High School:

No games

 




First and 10 - November 5, 2012

1. With the presidential election upon us, San Diego State accomplished something that hasn't been done since George H.W. Bush won the presidency. San Diego State went to Boise and defeated the Broncos 21-19 on Saturday. Coupled with the Aztecs' 39-38 overtime win at Nevada on Oct. 20, they became the first team to win at Boise State and Nevada in the same season since 1998. Both programs competed in I-AA at the time. That's a heck of an accomplishment that Rocky Long's team can hang their hat on. SDSU has won five straight games, its longest in-season winning streak since 1995, The Aztecs are 7-3 overall and 5-1 in Mountain West play. They will need some help, but an MWC championship isn't out of reach.

2. Army has a shot at its first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 1996. Rich Ellerson's team played by far its best game of the season in defeating Air Force 41-21. The Black Knights compiled 414 yards of total offense while holding the Air Force offense to just 103 yards on the ground. You know things are going good defensively when you force the Falcons to throw the ball 29 times, which is what happened on Saturday. The winner of the Army-Navy game on Dec. 8 will take home the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Navy last won the prize in 2009, the tail end of its seven-year streak that began in 2003. Army is looking to break a 15-year skid. 

3. The SEC title game could be set by Saturday night. Alabama can clinch its first SEC West title since 2009 by toppling Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). A few hours to the east, Georgia can win the SEC East for the second straight year with a victory at Auburn (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). A little bit of superstition to keep in mind, Alabama has won the West seven times and in all seven years its SEC Championship opponent from the East has been Florida. 

4. For the second straight week, the FootballScoop staff is deeming a Sun Belt match-up as Thursday night's best game. Florida State at Virginia Tech will draw more viewers on ESPN, but the more competitive, high-stakes game will take place on ESPNU when ULM visits Arkansas State with first place in the Sun Belt on the line. After a slow start, first year head coach Gus Malzahan and Arkansas State are heating up with a four-game winning streak, averaging nearly 40 points per game in the process, in defense of their 2011 league title. ULM suffered its first Sun Belt loss last week, 40-24 to Louisiana - Lafayette. Both teams (4-1 in league play) share first place in the league with Middle Tennessee. Arkansas State won last year's meeting, 24-19. 

5. Offense may be coming back to earth in the Big 12. Two weeks after six of the league's 10 teams topped 50 points, no Big 12 teams hit the half-a-hundred mark and only two teams topped 40 points. There were actually more punts (56) than touchdowns (37) on Saturday. 

6. Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson may not exactly be happy about it, but Indiana still controls its Rose Bowl destiny. "People talk about us controlling our own destiny but we're not trying to be an upper-level team, we're just trying to play hard every Saturday," Wilson told Yahoo's Dan Wetzel last week. Nevertheless, the Hoosiers beat Iowa 24-21 on Saturday and still control their destiny to play in the Rose Bowl. A home date with Wisconsin on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2) will determine whether Indiana's Leaders Division hopes remain afloat.

7. Seven staffs reached bowl eligibility last weekend. Congratulations to the coaching staffs at Arkansas State, East Carolina, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Oklahoma and TCU on reaching bowl eligibility. 14 more squads will compete for bowl eligibility this weekend.

8. Notre Dame has the biggest home-road dichotomy of any 9-0 team in recent memory. The Fighting Irish have been the best road team in the country with a 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin, Ireland, a 24-3 triumph at Michigan State, a 41-3 win over Miami in Chicago and a 30-13 victory at Oklahoma. At home it's been a different story with a trio of three-point victories and two wins by seven points. According to Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, 10 of Notre Dame's 11 turnovers have occurred in South Bend, as well as 33 of their 48 penalties. Two of Notre Dame's final three games are on the road, including Saturday at Boston College (8 p.m. ET, ABC). 

9. All four major networks showed college football on Saturday afternoon. In the 3-6:30 p.m. ET time slot, ABC showed a split-national telecast of Nebraska at Michigan State and Texas at Texas Tech, FOX televised the double-overtime thriller of TCU at West Virginia, NBC showcased the triple-overtime Notre Dame win over Pittsburgh and CBS showed Ole Miss at Georgia. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but college football is the only American sport regularly broadcast on all four major networks, much less at the same time. God bless college football. 

10. The players, coaches and staff at Ball State and Toledo had better get their votes in early. The Cardinals and Rockets kickoff two days of MACtion tomorrow night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Bowling Green and Ohio keep it going on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). 




Jimbo Fisher encourages staff changes

Jimbo Fisher knows there will be many head-coaching jobs will come open this off-season, and potential employers could target members of his staff to fill vacancies.

In fact, Fisher hopes it happens.

"I hope [ defensive coordinator Mark Stoops gets an offer.] When I was that guy, that's what I wanted to do," Fisher told ESPN.com on Monday. "Change is inevitable. You've got to have a plan for it and where you want to go and what you want to do. I hope he stays here forever. As long as I'm here, I want him as defensive coordinator. But I also want him to reach his dreams and goals to become a head football coach."

Stoops, who is in his third season as the Seminoles' defensive coordinator, may not be the only target on Fisher's staff this off-season. Florida State is 8-1 this season, leads the ACC Atlantic Division and statistically dominates the ACC on both sides of the ball. The Seminoles lead the ACC in nine statistical categories including total offense, total defense, scoring offense and scoring defense. 

It's great to see Fisher encourage his assistants to find bigger and better jobs for a few reasons. First, he wants to reward his assistants' hard work. Like every other head coach, Fisher rose through the ranks as an assistant and wants to pay the help he got along the way forward to his assistant coaches. 

Next, Fisher's philosophy benefits his program because it will only make working on his staff more attractive to any future assistant coaches. Any potential hire that wants to one day become a head coach will be eager to work for someone that wants him to realize his goals. Finally, Fisher's philosophy demonstrates a great level of confidence in himself and his system to win no matter what assistants he may lose.

If change does indeed come to Fisher's staff, he'll be prepared. 

"You hope your system helps develop head coaches. I love that," Fisher said. "I want to be known as that. It makes the other top assistants want to come and makes other people want to be here. You have good players, you have a good system, you're organized well, you understand the big picture and what you want. I think that's another thing -- just like players want to come somewhere to get developed, hopefully coaches can do the same thing."

Fisher is far from the only head coach across the country that thinks this way, credit him for putting his thoughts out there. 




Rutgers will wear patriotic helmets on Saturday

Rutgers SID Jason Baum revealed Monday the patriotic helmets that Rutgers will wear this Saturday.

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According to Baum's tweet they will be worn to "show our support for the women and men who protect our country."

Considering the Scarlet Knights' opponent this week is Army and that Veteran's Day will be celebrated next Monday, and of course the devestation that New Jersey endured caused by Hurricane Sandy, this is the perfect time for Rutgers to break out the red, white and blue. 

I've always been a fan of Rutgers' silver helmets, so I think this is a great look.

What do you think?




Motivational video that West Virginia watched before the TCU game

The hype video that the Mountaineers watched before taking the field against TCU was really good, and very well done. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to stop the Horned Frogs from putting together a strong fourth quarter and successfully converting the two point conversion in double overtime to escape with the win.

There's one line that flashes on the screen that's worthy of pointing out on it's own, which was a great analogy for how the Mountaineers entered the game (coming off two straight losses).

"A season is like a flame and any flame can be put out. But at any moment it can be reignited."

"It's time to reignite."

You can bet that this one had everyone jacked up.