The three teams playing late Saturday night with hope of making the College Football Playoff didn’t make the selection committee’s job any easier. No. 4 Florida State won the ACC Championship Game, No. 5 Ohio State rolled to victory in the Big Ten Championship Game, and No. 6 Baylor held off No. 9 Kansas State in a Big 12 game. Here are the top stats to know from each game.
Florida State outlasts Georgia Tech
Florida State Rush Defense,
Saturday vs. Georgia Tech
No. 11 Georgia Tech became the first team this season to score a touchdown on its first three possessions against Florida State. With their triple-option offense, the Yellow Jackets appeared capable of wearing down the Seminoles after crafting three scoring drives of 10 or more plays. Florida State had allowed five such drives entering the game.
A key for Georgia Tech was rushing outside the tackles. Through three quarters, the Yellow Jackets averaged 7.97 yards a carry outside the tackles and gashed the Seminoles for 239 yards and three touchdowns on 30 rushes. In the fourth quarter, though, Georgia Tech had three rushes outside the tackles for five yards. Overall, Georgia Tech had 54 rushes for 322 yards through three quarters and five rushes for nine yards in the fourth.
Florida State, conversely, did its damage inside the tackles. Dalvin Cook, who set career highs in carries (31) and rushing yards (177) for the second week in a row, got 149 of his rush yards inside the tackles. The Seminoles averaged 49.8 yards per game inside the tackles coming into the game -- third worst among Power 5 teams.
Jameis Winston Passing,
Saturday vs. Georgia Tech
As usual, Jameis Winston predominantly targeted Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary. Those two combined to catch all three of the sophomore quarterback’s touchdown passes. Winston averaged 14.7 yards per attempt when targeting them and 5.9 yards when targeting anyone else. He had his first game without an interception since Oct. 11 at Syracuse.
Greene finished the game with seven receptions for 123 yards. With 3,771 career receiving yards, he broke the ACC record of Duke’s Conner Vernon (3,749, 2009-12).
Ohio State dominates Wisconsin
The Buckeyes' shutout victory over Wisconsin was not only the biggest shutout in a Power 5 conference championship game but also the only shutout in such a contest.
Cardale Jones, Ohio State’s third-string quarterback, did a first-rate job in leading the Buckeyes to a dominant win over Wisconsin. On throws of 10 or more yards, Jones completed five of seven passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. His counterpart, Joel Stave, was 3-of-14 with two interceptions on passes of 10 or more yards.
Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon gained 76 yards on 26 rushes. His longest rush was 13 yards; for the first time this season, he didn’t have a rush of at least 20 yards. Gordon raised his season total to 2,336 rushing yards, but he remained fourth on the single-season rushing list. He is six yards behind USC’s Marcus Allen, who gained 2,342 yards in 1981.
Gordon had his record for rushing yards in a Big Ten Championship game broken by Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 220 yards. Gordon rushed for 216 in 2012.
Baylor takes care of business
Kansas State on Designed Runs Inside Tackles This Season
The Bears seemed to have an answer for Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters. On designed runs inside the tackles, Baylor held Waters to 1.5 yards per rush, compared with his 6.2-yard average entering the game. Waters threw an interception in the fourth quarter, which effectively ended the Wildcats’ hopes. It was his third interception in his past four games, after he threw three in the Wildcats’ first eight games.
The Wildcats’ Tyler Lockett caught his 27th career touchdown pass and broke the school record held by his father, Kevin.
Baylor's Bryce Petty excelled when given time Saturday and completed a season-high 31 passes when not under duress. He completed 91.2 percent of his passes for 376 yards when not under duress.
The loss continued Kansas State coach Bill Snyder’s winless run against teams in the top 10 of The Associated Press poll. Snyder is 0-11 against AP Top 10 teams.