Published October 4, 2012 - 4:25pm
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Stats don’t always tell everything, and I’m usually not a stat rat myself. However, a few stats do interest me that I’ve been keeping an eye on this season.
Georgia averages 7.98 yards per play
Every time Aaron Murray takes a snap from his center, Georgia gets 7.98 yards per play. Last season, Arkansas averaged the most with 6.45 yards per play. Very rarely in the SEC do teams average over seven yards per play, and the most recent from the last five years has been Auburn in 2010, who averaged 7.37 yards per play. Right now, Georgia is ahead of that pace with the SEC slate coming up on the schedule. Between Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, this group can score fast and are sickly explosive. The Bulldogs have had 43 plays over 20 yards and 22 plays over 30 yards.
Johnny Manziel averages 365 yards per game
Johnny Football has created explosive play after explosive play in 2012, and he leads the SEC averaging 365 yards per game of total offense. Manziel has surpassed 1,400 yards of total offense in just four games – 366 rushing and 1,094 passing. He’s playing out of his mind, and he takes his talents to Oxford this weekend looking to keep his Tebow-like numbers up.
LSU runs the football 64 percent of the time
I’ve been keeping an eye on this percentage since Zach Mettenberger took over the reigns this season. Last year, even with Jarrett Lee starting the year with more passing plays and Boots Jefferson taking over for him midway through the season, LSU ran the ball an astounding 68 percent of the time. That margin is obviously lower this season with Mett at the helm, but LSU’s offense really hasn’t gotten going yet. But if any team had four running backs like LSU, I’d probably run well into the mid 60’s too.
Florida averages 34.47 minutes in time of possession per game
The key for the Gators this season was to increase progress in the running game, which would allow the defense to not be on the field so much like 2011. Florida has done just that, thanks to the running game and in part to quarterback Jeff Driskel’s efficiency. The Gators lead the SEC in time of possession at 34.47 minutes per game. It’s allowing the defense to stay fresh throughout the game. We saw this against Texas A&M and Tennessee, when the Gators won both games in the second half.
Mississippi State +13 TO margin; Arkansas -13 TO margin
MSU and Arkansas are on opposite ends of the spectrum in turnover margin. MSU’s defense is creating a takeaway every 19 snaps, while Arkansas creates one every 201 snaps. The Bulldogs’ secondary is very greedy and opportunistic with Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks at corner. Arkansas’ secondary has been putrid through five games, giving up nearly 350 yards per game through the air and 14 touchdowns.
Touchbacks are up to 51 percent
I’ve been barking about the touchbacks since Vanderbilt and South Carolina kicked off on the first Thursday night. Last season the SEC averaged 24 percent touchbacks, and it’s jumped up to 51 percent this season with the new rule change of kicking off from the 35-yard line. We’ve witnessed four kickoff return touchdowns this season from Todd Gurley, Onterio McCalebb, Jaylen Walton and Christion Jones.