Skip to main content

Winning Box Scores: Week 5

Tracking how often our five favorite statistics correlated with victory in Week 5.

Week 5 has come and gone in college football, and 61 box scores have been trawled for our five favorite stats. Let's dive right in.

In Week 5 in FBS, the teams that won the following went on to win the game:

-- Rushing yards: 51-10 (.836)
-- Passing yards: 30-31 (.492)
-- Score first: 52-9 (.852)
-- Lead at halftime: 51-6 (.895)
-- Force more turnovers: 41-7 (.854)
-- Win all five: 14-0 (1.000)

For the season:

-- Rushing yards: 287-82 (.778)
-- Passing yards: 221-148 (.599)
-- Scoring first: 280-90 (.757)
-- Lead at halftime: 297-54 (.846)
-- Win all five: 64-0 (1.000)


-- Two weeks ago, teams that were a plus in the turnover column went just 29-21 on the scoreboard. We wandered aloud whether that would last, and it's clear it hasn't. Turnover winners went 34-13 last week and 41-7 this week. A theory: In non-conference play, teams with gaping talent advantages managed to overcome a number of 1-0 turnover deficits to win the game. With conference schedules now in full swing, turnovers are now and will remain much more determinative to victory.

-- Case in point. Nevada was plus-3 in turnovers in its 41-31 win at Boise State; UTSA was +3 in a 24-17 win over UNLV; Marshall was +4 in a 34-28 defeat of Middle Tennessee; Clemson was +3 in a 19-13 win over BC; Texas was +3 in a 32-27 win over TCU.

-- On the flip side, No. 19 Oklahoma State out-passed No. 21 Baylor, doubled their ground efforts (219-107), led 17-0 at halftime and even committed fewer penalties (nine to six). So how did that game end with a 24-14 final? Baylor won turnovers 3-0.

-- Hawai'i scored a 27-24 upset of No. 18 Fresno State by snaring six turnovers and committing only one.

-- No. 5 Iowa pulled a quinfecta (winning all five categories) in their 51-14 win over Maryland, but the turnover column was a bigger blowout than the scoreboard. Hawkeyes: 0 turnovers committed. Terrapins: 7. I'm not sure we've seen a greater discrepancy all season. 

-- Kentucky was out-passed (211-87) and out-rushed (171-137) by Florida. Florida scored first and led 10-7 at halftime. So how did they lose the game? The kick-six hurt, sure, but the back breaker was Emory Jones' interception to Kentucky's JJ Weaver at the Gator 30-yard line. Kentucky promptly scored a touchdown to go up 20-10 in their 20-13 win. That touchdown prevented Florida from simply kicking a game-winning field goal.  

-- Georgia Southern's 59-33 demolition of Arkansas State brought us an enormous yardage discrepancy. The Red Wolves out-passed the Eagles 443-37, but Georgia Southern won the ground game 503-91. The Eagles entered the game averaging 233.8 yards per game and 4.8 a carry but doubled both numbers (9.86 a carry) against A-State. 

In a related story, Arkansas State ranks fifth in the country in passing offense (379 yards per game) and second-to-last in rushing defense (263.2 per game). 

-- I remain amazed at the durability of the 3- or 7-0 lead as well as the halftime lead. A third of the way through the season, getting to the halfway point with a lead turns into a victory nearly five out of six times.