Stats & Info: Vanderbilt

Top stats to know: Best of bowl season

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
Three lead changes in the final five minutes of Monday’s BCS Championship game punctuated the 2013-2014 college football bowl season. But even before Florida State rallied to defeat Auburn, there were other noteworthy accomplishments.

Using ESPN’s new college football metrics (see explanations here), ESPN Stats & Information takes a look back at the best performances and most noteworthy plays from the bowls.

Biggest Plays in Terms of Win Probability Added
Four of the 10 biggest plays of the bowl season, measured by the swing in win probability, came in the BCS Championship. But the play with the biggest change in win probability came in the first bowl game of the season.

Best opponent-adjusted QBR
Brett Hundley, UCLA, 97.7
Hundley ran for UCLA’s first two touchdowns and passed for two more in the Bruins’ 42-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The Bruins’ sophomore QB scored on an 86-yard touchdown – the second-longest touchdown run by a quarterback this season – to stake UCLA to a 14-7 lead. His 97.7 QBR was his second-best opponent-adjusted mark of the season, behind his 98.4 in UCLA’s regular-season finale against L.A. rival USC.

Dak Prescott, Mississippi State, 97.6
Prescott passed for three touchdowns and scored two himself to power the Bulldogs past Rice 44-7 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Prescott’s first scoring pass pulled Mississippi State into a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter, and he closed the first half with his third scoring pass, giving the Bulldogs a 27-7 halftime lead. Prescott’s adjusted QBR was a season high.

Blake Bortles, UCF, 97.2
Bortles passed for three touchdowns – each when it was a one-point or tie score – in orchestrating the Knights’ 52-42 victory over Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Bortles’ raw QBR (92.4) was the second-highest this season against Baylor (a top-10 team in defensive efficiency according to ESPN’s team ratings).

Davis Webb, Texas Tech, 96.6
Webb propelled the Red Raiders to a big lead with four touchdown passes in the first 20 minutes of what ended up a 37-23 victory over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. His raw QBR (91.3) was the second-highest this season against Arizona State, which played FBS’s toughest schedule, according to ESPN’s strength of schedule rankings.

Cody Kessler, USC, 96.5
Kessler passed for four touchdowns, all in the first half, in the Trojans’ 45-20 win over Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. His adjusted QBR in the bowl game, his third game in 2013 with a QBR greater than 90, was a season high.

Top Team Performances
Texas A&M added 28.2 expected points to its net scoring margin on offense in its 52-48 victory over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Aggies accumulated 30 first downs, averaged 8.0 yards a play and scored touchdowns on their final six possessions.

Vanderbilt added 26.6 expected points to its net scoring margin in its 41-24 win over Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl. In the first half, the Commodores forced eight punts, caused a fumble, gave up one first down and didn’t allow a possession of more than four plays.

Special teams
Miami added 12.2 expected points to its net scoring margin in its 36-9 loss to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Hurricanes put two punts inside the Cardinals’ 20-yard line, averaged 24.8 yards on kick returns (50 percent more than Louisville) and on average began drives almost seven yards closer to the goal line than the Cardinals. The special teams excellence wasn’t nearly enough to overcome an offense that contributed -18.6 expected points, however.

Numbers to know: Thursday recap

December, 7, 2012
Player of the Night - Kyle Fuller, Vanderbilt
Kyle Fuller scored all 12 of Vanderbilt’s overtime points in a 66-64 win over Xavier. Fuller finished with a career-high 25 points. Not bad for a player who scored a total of 17 points all last season.

On a team that lost its top six scorers from last season, Fuller (13.3 PPG) and Kedren Johnson (17.0 PPG) are taking on the load. On Thursday, they combined for 44 of Vanderbilt’s 66 points.

Stat Sheet Stuffer I – LaDontae Henton, Providence
He may be playing in a small state, but LaDontae Henton showed a pretty big game on Thursday. The sophomore went off for 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as Providence beat URI 72-57 in the battle for Ocean State pride.

It’s no surprise to see a Friar putting up big numbers, given their depleted bench. The Friars had only six scholarship players suited up on Thursday. Three Providence players rank in the top five of the Big East in minutes. Freshman Josh Fortune has played all but 13 minutes this season.

Stat Sheet Stuffer II – Kyle Barone, Idaho
Kyle Barone did a little bit of everything in Idaho’s 81-79 overtime win over Eastern Washington. He finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds five blocks and five assists.

He’s just the fourth player in the past four seasons to post such a 20-10-5-5 line, joining an impressive list of small conference luminaries: Tony Mitchell, Keith Benson and Kyle O’Quinn.

Scorer of the Night – Greg Gantt, Florida Atlantic
Greg Gantt had 21 points at halftime and finished with a career-high 34 points in Florida Atlantic’s 88-78 win over Stetson.

It’s the most points by a Sun Belt player this season, and the most by an Owl since DeAndre Rice’s 39 in 2007.

Ugly Stat of the Night – Arkansas-Little Rock
UALR had as many turnovers (32) as rebounds in its 87-53 loss to Cincinnati. Three Trojans finished with at least six turnovers on the night.

The 32 turnovers match the most by any team this season and is the most by a Sun Belt school in 11 years. It’s the most forced by Cincinnati in almost six years.

ESPN Stats & InformationBaylor guard Brady Heslip made nine 3-pointers en route to 27 points in leading the Bears to an 80-63 win over Colorado.

In the Baylor Bears’ Big 12 semifinals victory over Kansas on March 9, Brady Heslip made four of seven 3-pointers to help put his team over the top.

That was just a prelude to Saturday’s performance, when Heslip exploded for nine 3-pointers and helped push his Bears to the Sweet 16 for the second time in the last three seasons.

From the start of the Kansas game through Saturday's victory over Colorado, the sophomore is shooting a scorching 61 percent (22-for-36) from beyond arc.

All of Heslip's 27 points came via the 3-point shot, as he did not attempt a free throw and missed his only 2-point field-goal attempt.

Here’s a snapshot look at the other early-evening statistical highights in the Men’s Basketball Championship.

South Region
(1) Kentucky 87, (8) Iowa State 71

Kentucky scored its most points since scoring 87 against Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 22. The Wildcats join Ohio State as the two teams (so far) who have made the Sweet 16 in each of the last three seasons.

Kentucky shot 55 percent from the field, something it has done in both Men’s Basketball Championship games so far. The last time the Wildcats shot 55 percent or better twice in the same tournament was in 1998, when they won the national championship.

(4) Indiana 63, (12) VCU 61
The Hoosiers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002, when they lost in the National Championship game. Indiana is now 15-0 against non-conference teams this season.

Indiana had 22 turnovers, its second-most in a Men's Basketball Championship game in school history. The most for the Hoosiers was 23 in 2002 against Duke, a game that Indiana also won.

But the Hoosiers clamped down on the Rams in the final 12:19, forcing more turnovers (5) than they allowed points (4). VCU shot 2-for-15 from the field to close the game (all in half-court sets), 0-for-8 from 3-point range, and 0-for-2 on free throws.

VCU attempted 30 3-pointers (and made 9), its most in a game since 2006.

West Region
(3) Marquette 62, (6) Murray State 53

Marquette held Murray State to 31.3 percent shooting from the field. That's the lowest shooting percentage by a Marquette opponent in a Men's Basketball Championship game since Arkansas shot 31.2 percent to beat Marquette in the 2nd round of the 1995-96 tournament.

Those are the two lowest opponents’ field goal percentages by a Marquette opponent, covering all but its first tournament appearance in 1955 (for which the box score does not list team field goal percentages).

East Region
(4) Wisconsin 60, (5) Vanderbilt 57
It's the first time in school history that Wisconsin has made consecutive trips to the Sweet 16.

Vanderbilt shot only 26 percent from 3-point range, its fourth-worst shooting percentage from long-distance in a game this season and its second-worst shooting on 3-pointers in an NCAA tournament game.
Walker Dominated Glass in Return to Nashville
Andre Walker spent four years at Vanderbilt, graduating in May. Now playing for Xavier, his return to Nashville couldn’t have gone better. Xavier beat Vanderbilt in overtime 82-70, as Walker hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds. The Musketeers held a 54-33 edge on the boards, the worst beating the Commodores have taken on the boards at home since 2002 against Mississippi State. Vanderbilt hadn’t lost a home game in overtime since 2006. The Commodores were 35-2 at home against non-conference foes in the previous four seasons. This season, they are 3-2.

Hamilton Perfect Against Tennessee
Reggie Hamilton scored a career-high 35 points as Oakland knocked off Tennessee 89-81. He went 15-15 at the line, the second best performance in school history. In 1991, Tom Eller his all 17 free throws that he attempted. Hamilton joins Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham as the only players with back-to-back game of 34 or more points this season. Oakland is now 2-0 all-time against Tennessee, having also defeated the Vols last season.

Iona’s Double-Double Duo
Michael Glover and Scott Machado continued to put up gaudy numbers, as Iona beat Long Island 100-84. Glover went off for 28 points and 14 rebounds, his second straight game reaching at least those totals. He’s the first player to reach those numbers in back-to-back games since Lipscomb’s Adnan Hodzic in 2010. Meanwhile, Machado made it five double-doubles in five games. He’s now averaging 18.6 ppg and 12.2 apg. Only two players in D-I history have averaged double digit points and assists in a season: Southern’s Avery Johnson and Bradley’s Anthony Manuel, both in 1987-88.

Lillard Leads Nation in Scoring
The nation has a new top scorer. Weber State’s Damian Lillard scored 36 points in an 87-70 loss to Saint Mary’s to push his season average up to 25.6 ppg. Lillard had 26 points in the second half, including 21 straight during a 10-minute stretch. The junior guard played only nine games last season before suffering a foot injury that caused him to miss all remaining games. His 36 points matched a career high.

Can’t Miss, Still Lose
St. Francis (PA) shot 63.9 percent from the field, but still came up short in a 65-63 loss to Niagara. That’s the highest field goal percentage in a loss in almost four years. In December 2007, Howard shot 65.7 percent against Furman, but lost 67-62. The Red Flash shot 71.4 percent in the first half on Monday, but ultimately blew an 18-point halftime lead. The 63.9 FG pct marked the best shooting performance by St. Francis since shooting 64.0 percent in December 1998 against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
There would be no dramatic, last-second finishes for the Michigan State Spartans in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers cruised to a 24-3 victory at Memorial Stadium.

The Cornhuskers improved to 3-1 in conference play and now control their own destiny for a trip to the Big Ten Championship game as they moved into a tie for the lead in the Legends Division .

In a battle between the nation’s seventh-best rushing team (Nebraska) and the eighth-best defensive team against the run (Michigan State), the Cornhuskers were winners both on the scoreboard and in the trenches. Nebraska outrushed Michigan State 190-101 and scored two of its three touchdowns on the ground.

Rex Burkhead had 157 of the Cornhuskers' 270 total yards and scored all three of Nebraska’s touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). Burkhead has scored at least one rushing touchdown in all eight games.

The Nebraska defense dominated the Spartans, allowing a season-low three points and 187 total yards. Nebraska entered the game allowing more than 25 points and 350 yards of offense per game this season.

Nebraska has now won nine straight games at home against current Big Ten teams, with its last loss coming in 1981 against Penn State.

The Cornhuskers are 6-0 all-time against Michigan State, outscoring the Spartans 205-37 in those six games. The three points scored by Michigan State are its fewest since a 17-3 loss in the 2003 Alamo Bowl to…Nebraska.

Michigan State, which had beaten 11th-ranked Michigan and sixth-ranked Wisconsin in the previous two weeks, was trying to beat an AP-ranked opponent for the first time in school history. This was the 12th time they had played ranked opponents in three consecutive weekends in the same season.

Around CFB Nation
• Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan beat Purdue 36-14. The Wolverines piled up 535 yards of total offense, the third time this month they have cracked the 500-yard mark.

• Missouri rallied from a 11-point halftime deficit to beat Texas A&M 38-31 in overtime. The Aggies have had double-digit halftime leads in all three of their losses this season. It was Missouri's first win over a ranked team in a true road game since 1997 against Oklahoma State.

• Arkansas escaped with a 31-28 victory at Vanderbilt when Commodores’ kicker Carey Spear missed the game-tying 27-yard field goal with eight seconds left. Vanderbilt has still not beaten an AP top-10 opponent at home since 1974.

• Florida State blanked N.C. State 34-0, the second time this season the Seminoles have beaten a team by that score. The last time FSU had two shutouts in a single season was 2003, when they beat North Carolina and Notre Dame by identical 37-0 scores.
The note, stat or trend you need to know about each top-25 team in action on Saturday.

18 Penn State at 1 Alabama, 7 ET on ESPN: In the last 15 years, the No. 1 team in the AP poll is 26-0 at home against ranked opponents, with an average victory margin of nearly 22 points per game. Penn State has not allowed a touchdown in its three previous trips to Tuscaloosa. The Nittany Lions won 9-0 in 1990, 23-3 in 1986 and lost 6-0 in 1984.

12 Miami (FL) at 2 Ohio State, 3:40 ET on ESPN: Miami hasn’t won away from home against an AP top two team since Nov. 16, 1991 when the second-ranked Canes knocked off top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee. Since then, Miami has lost seven straight such games, including bowls. Ohio State is 26-2 at home under Jim Tressel against non-conference opponents. The only losses were against third-ranked USC last season (18-15) and second-ranked Texas in 2005 (25-22).

Tennessee Tech at 4 TCU, 7 ET: Seven of TCU’s last eight victories have been by at least 27 points. The lone exception was a 30-21 win over Oregon State last Saturday in the 2010 season opener.

Wyoming at 5 Texas, 7 ET: The Longhorns have won 15 straight home games, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the nation, and are 3-0 all-time against Wyoming, including a 41-10 win last year in Laramie.

Idaho at 6 Nebraska, 12:30 ET: Nebraska is 21-1 all-time against current WAC teams and has allowed 20 or fewer points in nine straight games dating back to last season, the longest streak in the nation.

7 Oregon at Tennessee, 7 ET on ESPN2: Both Oregon and Tennessee shut out their opponents in Week 1 (Oregon 72-0 vs New Mexico, Tennessee 50-0 vs Tennessee-Martin). Nine teams posted shutouts in Week 1 – these two are the only ones who are playing each other in Week 2. Tennessee’s opening week shutout was its first since 1993 against Louisiana Tech. Oregon’s was its first since 1988 against Long Beach State.

South Florida at 8 Florida, 12:21 ET on ESPN3: Florida meets South Florida for the first time. The Gators are 9-0 under Urban Meyer against teams from the state of Florida. However, Meyer is not perfect against the state of Florida. While Bowling Green’s coach in 2002, his squad lost to South Florida 29-7.

Iowa State at 9 Iowa, 3:30 ET on ABC/ESPN2: The Cyclones have been a thorn in Kirk Ferentz’s side since he joined the Hawkeyes, though he’s been better against them recently. Ferentz started 0-4 against Iowa State but is 5-2 since then. The worst of those losses came in 2002, when Iowa was prevented from an undefeated regular season by one game – a home loss to Iowa State.

17 Florida State at 10 Oklahoma, 3:30 ET on ABC/ESPN2: Oklahoma has won 31 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is facing his first ranked opponent. On September 25, 1976, Bobby Bowden coached his first game against a ranked opponent as FSU coach. It was against the fourth-ranked Sooners. Florida State lost 24-9 in what was Bowden’s third career game as FSU head coach.

San Jose State at 11 Wisconsin, Noon ET on ESPN: Wisconsin has won 14 straight home openers, dating back to 1996. They have also won 25 consecutive regular-season games against non-conference opponents. Their last loss came at home to UNLV on Sept. 13, 2003.

James Madison at 13 Virginia Tech, 1:30 on Virginia Tech has won 32 straight non-conference home games and has won all six of its meetings with JMU, outscoring the Dukes 245-44.

UL Monroe vs 14 Arkansas, 7 ET on Arkansas leads the all-time series 8-0, outscoring ULM 327-121 in the process. The Razorbacks are also 26-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference.

15 Georgia Tech at Kansas, Noon ET: This is the second meeting all-time between the two schools, with the first coming on January 1, 1948 in the Orange Bowl (a 20-14 Georgia Tech victory).

Virginia at 16 USC, 10:30 ET: USC is on a 17-game non-conference winning streak dating back to its loss in the 2006 Rose Bowl against Texas and has won 11 straight home openers.

19 LSU at Vanderbilt, 7 ET on ESPNU: LSU has won six straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings with Vanderbilt (the Commodores have not defeated LSU since 1990).

UNLV at 20 Utah, 4 ET: Utah has won 18 straight home games, the third-longest active streak among FBS teams. The school record of 26 was set from 1928-34.

22 Georgia at 24 South Carolina, Noon ET on ESPN2: Steve Spurrier went 11-1 against Georgia when he was the Florida head coach but is just 1-4 against the Bulldogs with South Carolina. He never faced Georgia while he was coaching Duke. Georgia had seven different players score a touchdown in Week 1 – most for the team since 1994, when seven players scored in a 70-6 win against Northeast Louisiana.