Stats & Info: Virginia Tech Hokies

Adjustment helped ease Barrett into QB role

September, 3, 2014

AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyOhio State's improved blocking in the 2nd half helped open things up for QB J.T. Barrett in Week 1.
Ohio State was a different offense in the second half of its season-opening win over Navy, due in part to the play of its offensive line and the adjustments its coaching staff made in playcalling.

The Buckeyes ran on 21 of their 25 second-half plays. They averaged 3.8 yards before contact per rush in the second half, two more yards than they averaged in the first half.

Barrett’s average pass in the second half traveled 18.3 yards downfield, including 36 yards on his 80-yard touchdown to Devin Smith. All four of his second-half passes were off play action.

Ohio State's offense struggled in the first half. The Buckeyes had their fewest points (6), yards (162) and averaged their fewest yards per play (5.4) in the first half of a game in the last two seasons. As a result the Midshipmen took a one-point halftime lead.

One of the main reasons for Ohio State’s struggles was its offensive line.

The Buckeyes had their fewest rushing yards (66) in the first half of a game in the last two seasons and tied for their most rushes (6) that failed to gain yards.

Ohio State’s inability to block factored into the play calling. J.T. Barrett was eased into the game with eight of his first nine passes coming at or behind the line of scrimmage. His average pass in the first half traveled just 2.8 yards and all but six of his 96 passing yards in the half came after the catch.

Will it be enough against Virginia Tech?
Ohio State will face Virginia Tech on Saturday, a team that brings in one of the best rushing defenses in the nation. Since the start of last season, the Hokies rank ninth in the FBS in opponent rushing yards per game (108.4) and eighth in opponents yards per rush (3.2).

If Ohio State cannot run the ball, it will put Barrett into a position to make plays on third down - something he did not do against Navy. He attempted two third-down passes against the Midshipmen with neither resulting in a first down.

For the game, the Buckeyes ran on six of their eight third downs, despite the fact that their average distance to go was 6.9 yards. They ended up converting on 25 percent of their third downs, their fewest conversions in any game that they won under Urban Meyer.

This could be an issue Saturday, as Virginia Tech has allowed opponents to convert 28 percent of their third downs the last two seasons, second best in the FBS behind Louisville (25 percent).

FPI likes the Buckeyes
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Ohio State has an 80 percent chance to win Saturday. FPI is a predictive look at overall team strength. FPI ranks every FBS team by the likelihood that it would beat an average team on a neutral field.

The Buckeyes will need to play like they did in the second half against Navy if FPI’s projection is going to be correct.

The bowl winners will be ...

December, 19, 2013
With bowl season upon us, we can project the winners of the 35 Football Bowl Subdivision bowl games using the Football Power Index.

FPI is a predictive measure of team strength that uses the elements of team offensive, defensive and special-teams performance (adjusted for opponent) that correlate most with future results.

We can use each team’s FPI and the site of the game (all bowl games are treated as neutral) to calculate the expected point differential in a matchup and the percentage chance of each team winning.

In prior years, FPI has done reasonably well in projecting bowl winners (taking the team with the higher chance as the “winner”), getting about 65 percent of games right since 2004.

There have been some lean years in the past, but FPI has been quite good in the three most recent bowl seasons, accurately projecting 70 percent of winners in those games.

FPI takes into account only a team’s on-field performance to date in the given season. It doesn’t explicitly take into account players who are out with injuries or for other reasons, coaching movement before the bowls or differing levels of motivation that are sometimes thought to exist in bowl games.

In the 2013 regular season, starting with games on Sept. 26, FPI accurately projected 74 percent of winners.

FPI believes there to be a very clear favorite (80 percent or more to win) in four of the five BCS matchups, with Ohio State and Clemson as the most evenly matched BCS opponents.

The projections for all 35 bowl games this season are below. A couple of things that stand out:

The two most-lopsided matchups, according to FPI, involve a Pac-12 team facing a Big 12 opponent from Texas. FPI has Oregon as 91 percent likely to defeat Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl and Arizona State as 91 percent likely to beat Texas Tech in the National University Holiday Bowl.

The most-even matchup, according to FPI, is Kansas State versus Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, with the teams separated by a little more than a point in FPI (the Wildcats are 53 percent favorites). The closest “high-profile” bowl game is the AT&T Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri, with the Cowboys 54 percent likely to win, according to FPI.

The Vizio BCS National Championship is the only bowl game with both teams ranked in the top 10 in FPI. Three other games involve two FPI top-20 teams: Wisconsin-South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl; Oklahoma State-Missouri in the Cotton Bowl and Ohio State-Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl.

What does Thomas need to return to form?

August, 23, 2013
Andrew Weber/USA Today SportsLogan Thomas will look to reclaim the success he had in all facets in 2011.
As a first-year sophomore starter in 2011, Logan Thomas led Virginia Tech to an 11-3 season and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Optimism ran high in Blacksburg as he broke the single-season school record for total offense previously held by Tyrod Taylor.

But that promising start faded in Thomas’ junior season. In 2012, his completion percentage plummeted from 60 percent to 51 percent, and he threw six more interceptions than in 2011. As a result, Virginia Tech finished with a 7-6 record, its worst in 20 years.

Looking at ESPN’s new Total QBR metric for college football, which uses all of a quarterback’s plays (passing, rushing, fumbles, sacks and penalties) and accounts for the context of the game situation while adjusting for the quality of defenses faced, Thomas’ decline was significant.

He had a Total QBR of 43.0 last season, which ranked ninth in the conference and 93rd in the nation, after having a Total QBR of 68.6 (26th in FBS) in 2011.

Thomas will be vital to the Hokies fortunes this season. Let's look back and ahead at key numbers for him.

What went wrong?
After the 2011 season, Virginia Tech lost its top two receivers - Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. The Hokies' third-leading receiver that year, D.J. Coles, played only 13 snaps in 2012 before missing the rest of the season due to a knee injury. In addition, the Hokies lost running back David Wilson, who was the New York Giants first-round draft pick.

As a result of those departures, Virginia Tech’s entire offense took a step back. With 186.9 rushing yards per game, the Hokies’ rushing offense ranked 28th in FBS in 2011. In 2012, their rushing numbers dropped to 79th in FBS, rendering Thomas’ play-action passes less effective.

Last season, Thomas was the Hokies’ leading rusher. With the absence of a dominant running back, opposing defenses sent five or more pass rushers on almost 28 percent of his dropbacks. When facing the blitz, he completed 45 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and six interceptions. In comparison, he threw 10 touchdown passes in such situations in 2011.

What to watch for in 2013
Thomas needs to improve his passes from inside the pocket. Excluding screen passes, Thomas completed 46 percent of his passes from inside the pocket last season with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. By comparison, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (also in his second-year starting in the ACC) completed nearly 64 percent of such passes with 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Virginia Tech’s top three wide receivers in 2012 graduated, so they will look to the return of Coles and the emergence of speedy Demitri Knowles to ease that transition. The Hokies will also depend on redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds at running back.

After two drastically different seasons, this will be Thomas’ opportunity to prove that he has not plateaued. If he can bring back his success from two seasons ago, he will be in the conversation as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks.

That test begins on August 31 in Atlanta when the Hokies take on the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the season opener.

Rutgers, Virginia Tech try to get offensive

December, 28, 2012

Icon SMIKyle Flood leads Rutgers against Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Don’t expect a lot of offense in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday when Rutgers battles Virginia Tech (5:30 ET on ESPN).

Here are the most important things to know in advance of the game:

• Both teams have struggled on offense this season. Virginia Tech is ninth in the ACC in passing and total offense. Rutgers is seventh in the Big East in both rushing and passing offense.

Neither team is in the top 75 in the country in scoring this season.

• Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova has put up unimpressive numbers in each of his past five games. The sophomore has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this season, but he’s been finding the wrong color jersey a lot as well (see chart on right).

• The Virginia Tech offense hasn’t scored more than 30 points in five straight games. The strength of the Rutgers defense for most of the season has been keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Scarlet Knights have allowed just one team to score more than 30 points this season and rank fourth nationally in scoring defense.

• The Scarlet Knights enter on a five-game bowl winning streak. That’s tied with Mississippi State and Auburn for the longest active streak in FBS (entering bowl season).

• Virginia Tech has lost two straight and four of its past six bowl games, but is 2-0 against Big East teams in bowl games since joining the ACC in 2004. The Hokies did beat Louisville in the Gator Bowl in the 2005 season, and beat Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl in the 2008 season.

• At 6-6, the Hokies need a victory to keep an impressive streak going. A win here would make it 20 consecutive winning seasons in Blacksburg. The last time the Hokies failed to own a winning ledger was 1992.

• These old Big East foes are meeting for the first time since 2003. Virginia Tech has owned Rutgers in their head-to-head matchups, winning the last 11 meetings. That last time the Scarlet Knights beat the Hokies was in 1992.

• It’s quite a contrast in coaching experience here. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is in his first bowl game, while Frank Beamer is appearing in his 20th (8-11 record). He will join a select group of coaches to appear in at least 20 bowl games.

Numbers To Know: Weekend recap

December, 3, 2012
Player of the Weekend – Erick Green, Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is 7-0 for the first time in 30 years, as the Hokies handed Oklahoma State its first loss of the season on Saturday. Green scored a career-high 28 points, including the first 10 of the second half.

He’s the first Hokies player to score 20 in seven straight games to start the season since Bimbo Coles did it in nine straight in 1989-90. Green currently ranks third in the nation at 24.9 points per game.

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Williams did his best Michael Olowokandi impersonation, posting career highs with 29 points and 17 rebounds, as the Gauchos upset Santa Clara 83-80 in overtime on the road.

He’s the first Big West player to reach those totals since Olowokandi in 1998. Williams’ 17 rebounds are the most by a UCSB player since Josh Merrill’s 18 in 1996.

Freshman of the Weekend – Semaj Christon, Xavier Musketeers
Playing in his sixth career game, Christon walked into Mackey Arena and scored a career-high 25 points, as Xavier beat Purdue 63-57. It’s the most points for a Xavier freshman since Stanley Burrell in 2004-05.

Bench Star – Desmond Simmons, Washington Huskies
Simmons came off the bench to score 14 points and haul in 18 rebounds (both career highs), as Washington eked by Cal State Fullerton 74-72. It was the most rebounds for a Husky since Jon Brockman in 2009, and the most off the bench for any Pac-12 player in at least the past 15 years.

Ignoring Senior Nights where starters briefly sat, the last major-conference player with at least 14 points and 18 rebounds off the bench was South Carolina’s Tony Kitchings in 2001.

Ugly Stat Line of the Weekend – Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky shot just 29.6 percent in its 64-55 loss to Baylor on Saturday. That’s the Wildcats’ lowest field-goal percentage in over six years (2006 at Kansas). Kentucky’s 0.73 points per possession were its fewest since a 2008 game against Vanderbilt.

Kyle Wiltjer (1-for-11) had the worst shooting game by a Wildcat with at least 11 attempts since Gerald Fitch went 1-for-13 in 2004. Nerlens Noel (3-for-14) had more misses on Saturday than Anthony Davis had in his first six games combined last season.

Minimal precedent for Alabama win vs LSU

November, 2, 2012
History shows that the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, who are coming off a home win against a Top-20 opponent Mississippi State, have a tough test Saturday against another highly-ranked opponent in the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium.

The AP No. 1 team has faced a Top-20 opponent on the road the week after a home win against another Top-20 opponent nine previous times. The AP No. 1 team is just 2-7 in those games, including the Crimson Tide, who lost in that situation at South Carolina two years ago.

Some of these games are defining moments in the history of at least one of the schools involved.

Here’s a summary of each game since 2000 that fits the same description as Alabama’s game at LSU this Saturday.

2010: 19 South Carolina def. 1 Alabama, 35-21
The Gamecocks came out firing, opening up a 21-3 lead that couldn’t be overcome en route to a 35-21 victory behind three touchdown passes from Stephen Garcia and three scores from freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.

The defense limited future NFL first-rounders Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to just 64 yards on the ground, allowing South Carolina to earn the school’s first victory vs a No. 1-ranked opponent.

2008: 6 Texas Tech def. 1 Texas, 39-33
Texas was a play away from winning before Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell found Michael Crabtree on the sideline for the dramatic game-winning touchdown with one second left.

That loss would be the Longhorns’ only defeat of the season, but was enough to leave them (controversially) out of the BCS national title game that year.

2007: 17 Kentucky def. 1 LSU, 43-37 (3 OT)
The Wildcats, who hadn’t beaten a top-ranked opponent since taking down Ole Miss in 1964, rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to force overtime.

In the third extra period, Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson found Steve Johnson for a 7-yard touchdown pass, and LSU was unable to pick up a first down on its possession, setting off a wild celebration at Commonwealth Stadium.

Though it seemed like the loss dashed the Tigers’ national title hopes, they actually went on to lose another triple-overtime game later that season (50-48 to Arkansas), but still would end up playing for and winning the national title that season.

2001: 1 Miami (FL) def. 14 Virginia Tech, 26-24
The Hurricanes appeared to have the game under control after taking a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Virginia Tech rallied for two touchdowns, including one off a blocked punt.

A failed two-point conversion by the Hokies and a late interception by Ed Reed (his second of the day) helped the Hurricanes ward off the comeback, giving them a two-point win that was their only single-digit margin of the season. Miami went on to crush Nebraska in the Rose Bowl and win the national title.

Thursday recap: Curry powers Duke

February, 17, 2012
First Half of the Night – Jeffery Taylor
Taylor had 23 of his game-high 28 points in the first half, as Vanderbilt defeated Ole Miss 102-76. He hit his first seven shots and was 8-for-10 in the first half. Taylor finished two points shy of his career-high. With a 25-point halftime lead, his scoring wasn’t needed in the second half.

Second Half of the Night – Seth Curry
Duke trailed by 20 points with 11-and-a-half minutes remaining, but the Blue Devils outscored NC State 37-12 the rest of the way. Curry himself outscored the Wolfpack 16-12 in that stretch, and he had 20 of his 26 points in the second half, setting a career high at Duke (he scored 35 as a freshman at Liberty).

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Draymond Green
Michigan State made relatively easy work of Wisconsin with a 69-55 win, as Green went for 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. It’s his fourth 20-10-5 game this season. Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum (two) is the only other player with more than one such game. Over the previous 15 seasons, the only major conference players with four or more such games in a season are Evan Turner (six), Carmelo Anthony (four) and Tim Duncan (five).

Freshman of the Night – Matt Carlino
Carlino scored a career-high 30 points, including the game-winning layup with 18 seconds to go, as BYU edged San Francisco 85-84. The freshman exploded out of the gates with 20 points in the first eight minutes. He’s the first BYU player to score 30 since Jimmer Fredette, but even Jimmer never scored 20 as a freshman.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night – Virginia Tech
Perhaps credit should instead go to Florida State for erasing a nine-point deficit with less than 90 seconds remaining. But look at the ineptitude of Virginia Tech’s finish to the game. In the final eight minutes, Virginia Tech went 1-for-8 from the field and 3-for-10 from the line. That allowed Michael Snaer's 3-pointer with four seconds left to give the Seminoles a 48-47 win.
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Thursday:

Duke 78, NC State 73
NC State’s Scott Wood missed three free throws on Thursday (7-for-10) after missing three free throws in his last outing against Georgia Tech (2-for-5). Wood had made an ACC-record 66 free throws in a row dating back to last season before his first Georgia Tech miss.

Michigan State 69, Wisconsin 55
Draymond Green scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 5 assists for the Spartans, the fourth time this season he’s reached all three of those levels in game. Only one other player this season has more than one such game; Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum has done it twice.

Florida State 48, Virginia Tech 47
Florida State went 1-for-8 from the foul line in the win. They are the fifth team this season to win a game making one or fewer free throws; the Seminoles’ eight attempts are the most of those five teams.

San Diego 78, Portland 75 (OT)
San Diego’s Christopher Anderson dished out 13 assists and recorded 5 steals in the win, joining UNC’s Kendall Marshall and Iona’s Scott Machado as the only players this season to reach both those levels in a game.

Central Connecticut State 65, St. Francis (PA) 60
Trillion of the Night: Tony Peters of St. Francis (PA) played nine minutes without accumulating a stat in the Red Flash’s 65-60 loss to Central Connecticut State.
Player of the Night – Faisal Aden
Faisal Aden scored a career-high 33 points off the bench to lead Washington State to an 81-69 win over Stanford. It’s the most points off the bench by a Pac-12 player since Cal’s Amit Tamir scored 39 against Oregon in 2002. Aden was a perfect 13-for-13 from the line. That’s the second-best free throw performance off the bench this season behind Duke’s Ryan Kelly (14-14).

Breakout Performance – Robert Thurman
California picked up a tough road win over Washington thanks to the unlikeliest of players. Robert Thurman had only played in 15 of 19 games this season, averaging 7.2 minutes and 2.4 points when he did appear. But with Richard Solomon ruled academically ineligible, the Bears called on the 6’10” walk-on. He responded with 16 points on 7-11 shooting from the field.

Second-Half Star – Harrison Barnes
North Carolina trailed Virginia Tech by five at halftime. But the Tar Heels quieted the Blacksburg crowd pretty quickly in the second half with a 19-0 run to take a 55-44 lead. Harrison Barnes had nine of those 19 points as part of a huge second half. The sophomore went 6-for-6 from the field on his way to 21 points after the break. Barnes finished with a season-high 27.

Woeful Performance – Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech had its worst scoring output in 30 years in a 70-38 loss to Virginia. It’s the fewest points by Georgia Tech since a 58-36 loss at Wake Forest in February 1982. What made Thursday even worse? The Yellow Jackets were at home. It’s their fewest points at home since 1980. Georgia Tech shot just 29.2 percent from the field and hit 1-of-15 from three-point range.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night – Tony Mitchell
It’s tough to win when your leading scorer doesn’t score a point, and that’s exactly what happened to Alabama on Thursday. Tony Mitchell went scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting from the field, as the Crimson Tide lost at home to Vanderbilt, 69-59. It’s the only time in 85 career games that he’s failed to score.

Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesJunior Hemingway, who scored two touchdowns, was the only Michigan player to find much open space on offense in the Sugar Bowl.
Playing in its first BCS bowl game since the 2006 season, the Michigan Wolverines kicked a field goal in overtime to claim their first BCS win since the 2000 Orange Bowl. It was the eighth bowl game decided by three points or fewer this season and the first time that two BCS games have gone to overtime in the same season.

Special-teams play has been a strength for the Virginia Tech Hokies under Frank Beamer, but a series of special-teams miscues was the difference in the game. Michigan picked up 16 points on special teams against the Hokies.

Michigan scored its first touchdown on a drive that was extended by a roughing the punter penalty. Virginia Tech fumbled twice, once on a kickoff return and once on a fake punt, with each leading to a field goal for the Wolverines. After making four field goals in regulation, third-string kicker Justin Myer missed a 37-yard attempt in overtime.

That helped the Wolverines win a game where they were outgained by nearly 200 yards and Denard Robinson completed only two passes after halftime. Michigan’s 184 yards were the lowest for the school since a 2007 loss to Ohio State. The last team to win a bowl game when gaining less than 200 yards was Mississippi State, which beat UCF 10-3 in the 2007 Liberty Bowl.

Denard Robinson was held to 117 passing yards and 13 rushing yards. It was the first time in three seasons that Robinson ran for less than 20 yards when he had at least 10 carries. The 130 yards of total offense was his second lowest output in the last two years, and the only time he has been held below 200 yards when he was involved in 30 or more plays.

Robinson was able to connect with Junior Hemingway for two touchdowns on throws of 15-plus yards. Those were Michigan’s only two touchdowns and Robinson’s only completions on nine throws downfield.

The Hokies loss continues recent trends for the school and the conference. Virginia Tech was the first ACC at-large selection to a BCS bowl game, and with the Sugar Bowl loss the ACC falls to 2-12 in BCS games. Frank Beamer and the Hokies have been to six BCS games, but were only able to win the 2009 Orange Bowl.

David Wilson broke the Virginia Tech single-season rushing record with 1,709 yards but was held without a touchdown for the eighth time in 14 games this season.

US Presswire
Denard Robinson (left) and David Wilson (right) look for a win in tonight's Allstate Sugar Bowl.
In tonight’s Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:30 ET on ESPN), one of college football’s bluebloods from the Big Ten returns to the BCS Bowl party for the first time in five years to face an ACC team that has become a regular participant in the postseason.

The Michigan Wolverines are playing in a BCS Bowl for the first time since a loss in the 2007 Rose Bowl vs USC; their only win on college football’s biggest stage came in the 2000 Orange Bowl against Alabama.

Virginia Tech has extended its bowl appearance streak to 19 games, the third-longest active streak in the FBS. It’s the sixth BCS Bowl appearance for the Hokies, who also have just one win in the five previous matchups.

Virginia Tech Offense vs Michigan Defense
The Hokies offense is fueled by the ACC player of the year, running back David Wilson, who averages a conference-best 125 rush yards per game. Wilson has rushed for 1,627 yards this season and needs just 29 yards to set a new school record for single-season rushing yards.

Wilson gets his yards in bunches. His 34 rushes of at least 15 yards led the FBS entering the bowl season, and Wilson has had at least one such run in every game this season except the ACC Championship game.

Hokies QB Logan Thomas came on strong after Virginia Tech’s first loss to Clemson. Thomas struggled early in the season throwing downfield, but during the last eight games, Thomas is completing half of his attempts of 15-plus yards in the air and has thrown eight touchdowns on such throws.

Michigan’s seventh-ranked defense, which is allowing just 17 points per game, has made a dramatic turnaround from last season when they ranked 108th in points allowed and gave up more than 450 yards per game.

Despite a rushing defense that gives up the third-fewest yards per game among Big Ten teams, the Wolverines have had trouble stopping the long run. Michigan has allowed 25 rushes of 15 yards or longer this season, fifth-most in the conference.

Michigan Offense vs Virginia Tech Defense
Denard Robinson is the unquestioned leader of the Wolverines’ attack, accounting for over 60 percent of Michigan’s total offense with his arm and his feet. His 18 passing touchdowns are fourth-most in the Big Ten this season and his 14 rushing scores are second only to Montee Ball.

Robinson has attempted nearly 80 percent of his passes out of the shotgun this season but he’s actually had more success on snaps from under center. In conference games this fall, five of his 12 touchdown passes came in non-shotgun sets despite 97 fewer attempts.

Virginia Tech should have no problem stopping Robinson in the air. The Hokies have the ACC’s best pass defense, allowing a pass efficiency rating of 111.8. The Hokies also have a favorable matchup on the ground, giving up just 3.3 yards per carry, second-best in the ACC.

However, Virginia Tech’s rush defense has been vulnerable. The team has allowed over 200 yards on the ground in three separate games, including 217 rush yards in its loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship game.

Jason O. Watson/US PresswireDavid Wilson is tied for the national lead in most 100-yard games.
The late-afternoon slate in college football featured a pair of winner-take-all games in which the winner took total control of humbled opposition.

In the case of the Virginia Tech Hokies rout of the Virginia Cavaliers, the Hokies won the ACC Coastal Division crown for the fifth time and won its 13th straight road game overall.

This was the eighth straight win for Virginia Tech against Virginia, one that made the Hokies 35-5 against its current divisional opponents since joining the ACC in 2004.

It was the 11th win of the season for Virginia Tech, marking the second time in team history that it won at least 11 games in consecutive seasons (it also did so in 1999 and 2000).

The loss was the second-largest shutout loss for Virginia against Virginia Tech in the history of the rivalry. The only larger one was a 48-0 drubbing in 1983.

David Wilson’s 153 yards rushing gave him 10 games this season with at least 100 yards. That’s tied with Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey (who had 217 yards Saturday in a win over Troy) for the most 100-yard games this season.

The Cavaliers had their bid for their first-ever five-game conference winning streak snapped.

The taking in the Wisconsin Badgers 45-7 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions was done by Montee Ball, who ran for four touchdowns, giving him 34 this season. That’s the second-most in FBS history, five shy of Barry Sanders single-season record set in 1988.

It was the second-worst loss for Penn State since joining the Big Ten back in 1993 (it lost 45-6 to Ohio State in 2000).

Wisconsin has won 16 straight home games, matching LSU for the longest active streak among FBS teams.

Penn State entered the day as a team poised to stop the Badgers quick-striking offense. The Nittany Lions entered the day having allowed only one touchdown drive all season that was accomplished in two minutes or less, but allowed three such touchdowns in this contest.

In other late-afternoon action:

Alabama scores, now sits
Alabama won the Iron Bowl by beating Auburn, 42-14. The Crimson Tide scored their most points against Auburn since a 48-21 win in 1977.
A.J. McCarron excelled throwing play-action passes, completing eight of nine passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. McCarron’s eight completions off play-action set a new career high.

Alabama, ranked No. 2 in the BCS, will not play in the season’s final week.

This will be the sixth time that a team has been in the top two spots of the BCS and not played in the last week of season.

Each of the previous five went on to play in the national title game (in other words: none got passed in the standings).

James adds to his ledger
LaMichael James had a rushing touchdown in Oregon’s 49-21 win over Oregon State, the 49th of his career, tying former USC running back Charles White for third-most in Pac-12 history.

The touchdown also gave him 324 points in his career, passing former kicker Jared Siegel (323) for the most career points scored in Oregon history.

Darron Thomas threw four touchdown passes and became the fourth Oregon quarterback with 60 career passing touchdowns.

The 49 points tied for the third-most ever scored by Oregon against its “Civil War” rival.

Winless No More
Lastly, Florida Atlantic beat UAB, 38-35, and became the last FBS team to win a game this season. Running back Alfred Morris set school records with 198 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys continued their perfect season with a 38-26 win over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday at DKR-Memorial Stadium.

Last year, the Cowboys ended a 12-year losing streak to Texas with a big win in Austin. This season, the Cowboys made school history by beating Texas two years in a row for the first time ever. Oklahoma State is also the first team to beat Texas in back-to-back seasons under coach Mack Brown.

This was the seventh time that Oklahoma State had played Texas when they were unbeaten. In the previous six games, the Longhorns handed the Cowboys their first loss – a trend that dated back to 1916. With this win, the Cowboys are 6-0 for the third time in the last four seasons.

Justin Gilbert gave the Cowboys a 28-10 lead just after halftime when he returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. He's the second player in school history with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown. Barry Sanders had three during his career at Oklahoma State.

Fozzy Whittaker matched Gilbert on the ensuing kickoff, with his own 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. There have now been three kickoff returns for a touchdown in Texas history of at least 100 yards. Whittaker has two of them, and they've been in back-to-back weeks.

One week after losing 55-17 to Oklahoma, the Longhorns struggled on defense for the second straight game. The 93 points are the second-most they have allowed in consecutive games under coach Brown.

Texas lost this game despite outrushing the Cowboys 231-202. Entering the game, the Longhorns were 70-0 when rushing for at least 200 yards under coach Brown.

Another notable streak in the Mack Brown era came to an end in this game, as it was the first time that the Longhorns lost a game following the Red Rivalry since Brown became coach in 1998.

Around CFB Nation
•  Top-ranked LSU beat Tennessee 38-7, improving to 7-0 for the second straight season. LSU has trailed for just 6:33 in 420 minutes of football this season.

•  Ohio State handed Illinois its first loss of the season. Ohio State’s only completion of the game was a touchdown pass from Braxton Miller to Jake Stoneburner. Ohio State is the third team from a BCS AQ conference since 2000 to win a game with a single completed pass. Georgia Tech has done it twice over that span.

•  Virginia Tech upset 12th-ranked Georgia Tech, 24-21, for their first win against an AP top 15 opponent since 2005. The Yellow Jackets were held to a season-low 296 yards and fall to 1-9 in their last 10 road games against Virginia.
The LSU Tigers staked their claim to the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for another week with a convincing 41-11 win over the Florida Gators on Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge.

The Tigers could be atop the AP rankings for the third straight week when they are announced on Sunday, something they haven’t done since a 14-week stretch spanning the 1958-59 seasons.

The Tigers have dominated their opponents in their first six games, four of which have been versus ranked teams, as they have won each game by double digits. This is the first time in school history the Tigers have started a season with six consecutive wins, all by at least 10 points.

This is the second straight win over the Gators for the Tigers, and LSU has now put up at least 30 points in consecutive games against the Gators for the first time since 1977-78.

The 41 points are the second-most LSU has scored against Florida, and the 30-point margin is the third-worst loss Florida has suffered against LSU.

Florida fell to 3-9 all-time and 0-3 in road games against the AP No. 1 team. Two of those three road losses have now been against LSU, with other coming in the Tigers’ 2007 National Championship season.

Florida has lost consecutive games by double digits for the first time since 1992, and has lost back-to-back games by at least 28 points for the first time in more than 40 years. In the 1971 season they lost 40-7 at Auburn and 49-7 against Georgia.

Around the CFB Nation
• Virginia Tech won a wild game in Blacksburg, rallying for a 38-35 win over Miami as Logan Thomas rushed for the winning score with less than a minute remaining. Thomas also completed 23-of-25 passes (92 percent), the highest completion percentage by a FBS quarterback this season (min. 25 attempts).

Miami fell to 2-6 against Virginia Tech since both teams jumped from the Big East to the ACC together. Miami also dropped to 0-2 in conference games, which could be trouble for the ‘Canes. No ACC team has started 0-2 in ACC play and gone on to win the ACC title.

• Sixth-ranked Oklahoma State routed Kansas, 70-28, matching their most points scored in the modern era. They also scored 70 points in a win against Southern Illinois in 1973.

• Kansas State snaps a five-game losing streak to Missouri with its 24-17 win and is 5-0 for the first time since 2000. Kansas State held the Missouri offense to 326 yards after the Tigers had averaged nearly 600 yards per game in their previous three contests.

• Georgia Tech allowed Maryland to score the final 13 points of the game but held on for the 21-16 win. The Yellow Jackets have started the season with six straight wins for the first time since 1966.

• South Carolina defeated Kentucky 54-3, earning their largest win over an SEC opponent since joining the conference in 1992. Steve Spurrier improved to 18-1 all-time vs. the Wildcats, his most wins vs any opponent.

Clemson, Virginia Tech streaks on the line

October, 1, 2011
The 13th-ranked Clemson Tigers travel to Blacksburg on Saturday to take on No. 11 Virginia Tech (ESPN2, 6 ET). Clemson leads the all-time series 17-12-1, but has lost five straight games against the Hokies, all by 17 points or more. In their last meeting in 2007, Virginia Tech returned a punt, a kickoff, and an interception for touchdowns en route to a 41-23 win in Death Valley.

Both teams come into Saturday’s ACC contest 4-0 and ranked in the AP Top 15. It’s the first time Clemson has started 4-0 since 2007 and the first time Virginia Tech has done it since 2006. Both the Hokies and Tigers failed to reach 5-0 in those seasons, each losing their fifth game of the year to Georgia Tech.

In its past two games, Clemson has defeated No. 21 Auburn and No. 11 Florida State, the first time Clemson has beaten ranked teams in consecutive games since 2005 (No. 17 Florida State and No. 19 South Carolina). Clemson has never beaten ranked teams in three consecutive games in the program’s history.

Virginia Tech comes in with a streak of its own, winning 12 straight ACC contests, including the 2010 ACC Championship game. Last season, the Hokies became the first team since Florida State in 2000 to go unbeaten in ACC play.

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd enters the weekend leading the ACC in pass efficiency (173.8, 11th in FBS) and passing yards per game (313.8, 12th in FBS). Boyd will face a stiff test Saturday as the Hokies lead the ACC in pass efficiency defense (88.6, 6th in FBS) and are ranked among the top 10 nationally in sacks (14) and interceptions (seven).

Boyd has been successful throwing the ball downfield, especially when compared to his opponent. Hokies QB Logan Thomas has completed just more than one-third of his passes and has yet to throw a touchdown on throws 10 or more yards down field; Boyd has completed more than half of those throws and has yet to be picked off.

When Virginia Tech has the ball it will look to the ground game and junior RB David Wilson. Wilson ranks second in the ACC and seventh nationally in rushing yards per game (129.0) and is tied for third in the conference with five rush touchdowns.

Since Frank Beamer took over as head coach in 1987, the Hokies are 178-32-2 when outrushing their opponent. Virginia Tech has not lost a game to an FBS school when outrushing them since 2008 (Boston College) and has outrushed its opponents 847-to-172 in four games this season.