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The Scoop on Stats: Best of the Best (Defense)

Yesterday we took a look at the major NCAA offensive statistics to see which teams stood alone as the best in college football. Today, it's time to look at the defensive side of the ball. 

Without further ado...

Rushing Defense - Mount Union (D-III - OH): 48.2 yards per game. This category was like walking down a set of stairs. The lower you got, the closer you got to the floor. Alabama led FBS with 79.8 ypg, Harvard led FCS with 69.4 ypg, Shepherd (W.Va.) led Division II with 52.6 ypg, and then there was Mount Union. The Purple Raiders limited opponents to just 1.58 yards per carry this season.

Passing Defense - Wisconsin - Lutheran (D-III): 123.2 yards per game. Opposing passers completed just 122 passes for 1,232 yards in 10 games against the Warriors. For the record, Mount Union placed third in this category.

Pass Efficiency Defense - Carroll (D-III - WI): 78.1 opponents' quarterback rating. Carroll allowed just 43.6 percent of passes to be completed for just 4.56 yards per attempt, while permitting just 10 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. For the record, Mount Union finished second in this category.

Total Defense - Mount Union: 180.6 yards per game. The Purple Raiders, who won the Division III championship with a 15-0 record, finished more than 40 yards ahead everyone else in the NCAA. With an average of 2.93 yards allowed per play, a typical series ended with the opponent faced with a 4th and 1. 

Scoring Defense - Mount Union: 8.93 points per game. The Notre Dame defense, led by FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year Bob Diaco, placed second but, really, could it have been anybody else? Mount Union allowed 18 touchdowns and three field goals, 134 total points, in 15 games. The Purple Raiders did not allow a single point between Sept. 15 and Oct. 20, pitching six straight shutouts.

Other defensive statistics....
Turnovers Gained - Winston-Salem State (D-II - NC): 43
Tackles For Loss - West Virginia Wesleyan (D-II): 11.09 per game
Sacks - Linfield (D-III - OR): 5.25 per game
First Downs Defense - Mount Union: 11.07 per game
Third Down Defense - Salve Regina (D-III - RI): 23.39 percent (40-for-171)
Fourth Down Defense - Wesleyan (D-III - CT): 12.5 percent (2-for-16)
Red Zone Defense - Heidelberg (D-III - OH): 50 percent (13 TDs and 4 FGs in 34 attempts)