- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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We continue our look at some "Next Level" bowl stats, courtesy of the good folks at ESPN Stats & Information.
Today, we're looking at the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl between Florida and Ohio State, and the AT&T Cotton Bowl between No. 6 Arkansas and No. 8 Kansas State:
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl –- Ohio State vs. Florida
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has run for 100 yards in three of his past five games with the majority coming on designed running plays. During that time period, Miller has averaged 85 yards per game on designed runs, after averaging 21.3 in his first six career games.
Miller averages 13.3 yards per rush on draw plays. He's run 17 draws this season with 12 coming in the past five games. Miller averages 7.9 yards per scramble. Miller has taken off to run 41 times, resulting in 16 first downs with eight coming on third down.
Florida has allowed 19 rushing first downs on third down this season, tied with Alabama for fewest in the SEC and 14th fewest in FBS.
Miller is at his best when he can get outside the pocket, where he has not thrown an interception in 25 attempts. Miller has made these limited opportunities count, averaging 11.4 yards per attempt. Florida has held its five ranked opponents this season to a 51.1 completion percentage when passing inside the pocket with only LSU and South Carolina completing more than 50 percent.
Miller completes just 39.5 percent of his passes when he takes a snap from under center. The good news for Ohio State is when Miller does complete a pass in this formation it tends to gain a lot of yards with seven of his 17 completions going for at least 20 yards, including three touchdowns.
OSU's Dan Herron has rushed for 593 yards this season in six games since returning from suspension, 321 of which have come after contact. Herron has gained at least 34 yards after contact in every game this season. Yet, he might not even be the toughest running back to bring down in the game. Chris Rainey has gained 446 of his 790 rushing yards this season after contact, which is a slightly higher percentage than Herron’s.
Jeff Demps has gained 447 of his 539 yards running to the right or left side of the offensive line. Demps has 65 rushes to the left/right with 13 gaining 10 yards or more and seven gaining at least 20.
John Brantley completed 37.9 percent of his passes thrown 20 yards or longer this season, which is up 15.2 percent from last season. Florida’s two other quarterbacks (Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett) this season have completed just one of their 15 passes thrown 20 yards or longer.
Andre Debose leads Florida with four receptions on passes thrown 20 yards or longer this season with all four going for touchdowns. Debose’s four catches on these throws all gained at least 64 yards (64, 65, 65, 80), which is the most 60-plus yard touchdown receptions by any player in the SEC and tied for second most in the FBS.
AT&T Cotton Bowl –- No. 8 Kansas State vs No. 6 Arkansas
Tyler Wilson is completing 64.2 percent of his passes when opponents send five or more pass-rushers on a play this season with a plus-eight touchdown-to-interception ratio. Wilson has been outstanding against the blitz when not facing the top three pass efficiency defenses (Alabama, South Carolina and LSU), completing 66.7 percent with no interceptions in 102 attempts. Kansas State enters the Cotton Bowl ranked 73rd in pass efficiency defense.
Jarius Wright has been Wilson’s primary deep threat in 2011. Wright has more yards and touchdowns on throws of 20-plus yards than all other Razorbacks combined. His best game came against Texas A&M, when he caught five passes for 183 yards and a touchdown on passes thrown at least 20 yards in the air.
Wilson has thrown a touchdown from inside of the pocket in every game but one this season. Wilson has protected the football when throwing from the pocket with eight fewer interceptions than Ryan Mallett’s 12 last season. Out of the pocket, Wilson has thrown 14.0 percent of his passes and has not found the same success.
Arkansas leads the SEC and is tied for 22nd in the FBS with 41 plays that gained 25 yards or more. The Razorbacks had at least two such plays in every game this season, except for in their only two losses when they had one each against Alabama and LSU.
Kansas State has allowed 33 plays of 25-plus yards this season, fourth fewest in the Big 12. The Wildcats allowed 11 of these plays in its only two losses of the season to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Kansas State has scored a touchdown on 29 of 33 (87.9 pct) goal-to-go situations this season, the 13th-highest percentage in the nation. The Wildcat’s knack for the end zone is built upon quarterback Collin Klein’s legs as he has scored more close touchdowns than any other player in the nation.
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