Week 7 featured upsets and surprises as seven ranked teams lost on Saturday, with four of those losses at the hands of unranked opponents.
With the help of ESPN’s new college football metrics (see explanations here), ESPN Stats & Information will look back at some of these upsets and look ahead to next weekend’s matchup between Florida State and Clemson.
Best individual performances
Marcus Mariota had a 98.3 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Oregon’s 45-24 win at Washington. Mariota was responsible for 454 total yards and four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter. He leads the nation in opponent-adjusted Total QBR (97.0) this season and has posted an opponent-adjusted Total QBR of 98 or higher in three of six games.
Taylor Kelly posted a career-high 98.1 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Arizona State’s 54-13 win against Colorado. Seven of Kelly’s nine completions gained at least 15 yards as he averaged a career-high 25.9 yards per completion.
Case McCoy had a 90.3 opponent-adjusted Total QBR in Texas’s 36-20 win against Oklahoma, his highest in a qualified game in his career (a player must have at least 20 action plays in order for it to be a qualified game).
McCoy completed 13-of-19 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns in the first three quarters.
Other interesting Total QBRs
Zach Mettenberger’s QBR (46.7 Total QBR): Mettenberger completed 9-of-17 passes for 152 yards against Florida, including four completions of at least 20 yards. Mettenberger finished with a 46.7 Total QBR.
But that measure doesn't tell the whole story.
When accounting for the defense that he faced, Mettenberger's opponent-adjusted Total QBR jumped to 88.9, ninth-best in Week 7.
Entering the game, the Gators had allowed the lowest Total QBR (13.0) of any defense, and their opponents had completed 46 percent of their passes. Mettenberger's performance was significantly better than those who faced the Gators earlier this season.
Petty had seven dropbacks on third down, but failed to convert a first down on any of those dropbacks. It is important to note that Petty had two completions for 19 yards on third down, but neither of those completions resulted in a first down, which is accounted for in Total QBR.
For a full list of Total QBR leaders for the season and Week 7, click here.
Best team performances
Offense –- Oregon: The Ducks gained 631 yards and added 24.3 expected points on offense in their 45-24 win against No. 16 Washington. Entering the game, the Huskies had allowed 286.8 yards per game, and no opponent's offense had contributed more than five expected points to their team's net scoring margin. In the last two seasons, Oregon’s offense has a +49.4 offensive EPA against the Huskies and the Ducks have won by a combined 52 points in those games.
Defense –- Texas: The Longhorns’ defense added 17 expected points toward its scoring margin against Oklahoma by forcing turnovers, controlling field position and limiting the Sooners to one offensive touchdown.
It was the Longhorns’ highest defensive EPA in a game against a BCS-AQ team since they added 24.4 against California in the 2011 Holiday Bowl. Texas entered the game with the second-worst defensive EPA (-13.78) in the Big 12 behind Iowa State (-13.8).
Special teams –- Iowa State: The Cyclones contributed 16.3 expected points on special teams in their 42-35 loss at Texas Tech, the most by a team in a game this season.
That means that if Iowa State’s special teams unit had an average game, the Cyclones would have lost by about 23 points. In addition to a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown in the first quarter, Iowa State began its drives 11.2 yards closer to the goal line than Texas Tech did.
Looking ahead to Week 8
Florida State travels to Clemson (8 PM ET, ABC) in a top-5 matchup with conference and national title implications.
Throws of 15+ Yards This Season
The game features two of the top quarterbacks in the nation; Florida State’s Jameis Winston ranks fourth in opponent-adjusted Total QBR (91.3) this season, and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd finished with the fourth-highest opponent-adjusted Total QBR (81.8) last season.
A major component of success for each quarterback has been the deep ball. Winston is completing 68.3 percent of his passes thrown 15 yards or longer, best among BCS AQ quarterbacks (min. 15 attempts), and Boyd leads all AQ quarterbacks with 10 touchdowns on passes of that distance.
Florida State and Clemson both rank in the Top 10 in defensive EPA on passing plays, so it will be a battle of strengths in Death Valley on Saturday.