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December 7, 2010

Inside the stats: Run-stoppers

Each week during the season, we look at some statistics involving individuals and/or teams that we find intriguing. Here is this week's version:

1. West Virginia still has allowed just three rushing TDs this season, which leads the nation. Just twice since the turn of the century has a run defense been that effective: Ohio State allowed three rushing TDs in 2007 and TCU allowed three in 2000.

2. Just four of the teams ranked in the top 40 nationally in run defense won't be playing in a bowl. That's the lowest in any of the major stat categories. Ten of the top 40 in pass defense and five of the top 40 in total defense won't be in a bowl. Offensively, six of the top 40 in rush offense, 13 of the top 40 in pass offense and seven of the top 40 in total offense will be home for the holidays. In terms of run defense, only one team in the top 15 -- No. 5 Kent State -- didn't make a bowl. There also was No. 17 Arizona State, No. 34 California and No. 37 Cincinnati.

3. Maybe it's something in the water, but four of the nation's 20 most-penalized teams play in Florida. Florida International is 119th, having been called for 8.6 per game. (The only team worse is Sun Belt rival Troy, with 8.8 per game.) Miami is 114th with 8.1, Florida is 111th with 8.0 and Florida Atlantic is 101st with 7.3. As for the other three teams in that state, Florida State is 77th with 6.3, USF is 57th with 5.9 and UCF is 28th with 5.2.

4. All but one of the Florida teams (FAU) is going to a bowl. Florida is tied with Texas at six with the most number of teams in bowls. Ohio has four, and Alabama, California, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma have three each.

5. There is only one senior among the top 10 quarterbacks in passing yards -- No. 10 Taylor Potts of Texas Tech. There are six juniors and three sophomores. There are four seniors among the top 10 rushers and six seniors among the top 10 in receiving yards.

6. Only one team has punted fewer than 30 times this season, and that's Stanford, with 29. Nevada has punted 30 times and Boise State 31. Auburn (37) and Oregon (38) also are at less than 40. The most is 88, by Vanderbilt -- just two fewer than Stanford, Nevada and Boise State combined.

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