5 crazy good stats in college football
Jake Rudock (QB, Michigan) is the most accurate quarterback in college football when facing pressure.
Even after Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz announced that Rudock would be replaced by C.J. Beathard as the starting quarterback last winter, the Hawkeyes were surprised when Rudock decided to transfer to Michigan. There was a feeling that he would get a chance at some point to reclaim the starting gig. Rudock saw an opportunity to compete for the Wolverines starting quarterback job and jumped. It proved to be the right decision. Beathard has led Iowa to a 12-0 record, a potential playoff berth and earned a grade of +16.7 through thirteen weeks. Rudock has regressed slightly from +5.4 last season to +2.7 this season, but was able to hold on to the Michigan starting job all season. The way Beathard has played, Rudock would have been holding the clipboard all season at Iowa.
Even though Rudock has had an underwhelming season, he has one thing going for him. He leads the country in accuracy under pressure at 71.4 percent. That’s especially surprising considering he was ranked 40th last year in the same category at 56.8 percent. It’s not a small sample size either. Only nine quarterbacks have had more snaps under pressure than Rudock. After being slammed to the ground by Joey Bosa last week, Rudock is nursing a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder. He should be healthy in time for Michigan’s bowl game.
Cody Kessler (QB, USC) is the most accurate quarterback in college football on play-action passes.
In keeping with the quarterback accuracy theme, Kessler has been phenomenal when passing out of play action completing 77.3 percent of his passes. Kessler has clearly thrived under Clay Helton’s tutelage. Since Helton took over before the week seven game against Notre Dame, Kessler has a grade of +16.7 with only one negatively graded game. During that stretch, Kessler has thrown 14 touchdowns and has only one interception in his last six games. Since taking over, Helton has emphasized the offensive running game. This not only has played to the strength of the offense (11th-ranked rushing offense per PFF), it has taken advantage of Kessler’s ability to burn the defense when they start to overplay the run. This formula as led to five victories in the last six games and a date with Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game on Saturday. The success also landed Helton a three year deal to become the permanent coach of the Trojans. This decision was clearly endorsed by the players.
Taquan Mizzell (RB, Virginia) has forced 22 missed tackles after receiving a pass.
The junior from Virginia Beach leads the country in that stat, and by a wide margin. Alex Gardner (FIU) is second with 17. The 2014 leader was current Cleveland Brown running back Duke Johnson with 15. Mizzell has proved to be a real dual threat. He has 671 yards rushing and 721 yards receiving this season. According the University of Virginia athletic department, Mizzell is only the fifth player in school history to have both 1,000 career yards rushing and receiving. He grades positively in both categories at +8.5 as a receiver and +1.2 as a runner this season. Nicknamed “Smoke” in high school, the speedy running back has caused mismatches that has created Virginia’s only real offensive threat. Virginia has an overall offensive grade of -54.2, but as a receiving offense they grade out to +10.1.
Chris Wormley (DT, Michigan) is having the best pass-rushing season by a defensive tackle in the last two years.
Wormley is the definition of a pass rushing specialist. On every one of the 269 plays that he has lined up as a defensive tackle the opposing offense has passed the ball. On every pass play, Wormley has rushed the passer. There is a very good reason for this. Wormley currently leads the country in PFF’s signature stat, pressure percentage (PRP) at 12.3. The 2014 leader (Carl Davis) was at 10.3 and this season’s second place pass rusher (Chris Jones) has a PRP of 10.9. PRP combines sacks, hits and hurries into one metric that quantifies pass rushing ability. The senior from Ohio has improved tremendously from last season. His current grade of +35.8 is over 25 points higher than is 2014 grade. He has graded positively in every game except last week’s game against Ohio State where he struggled with his run defense. Wormley has an average weight for a defensive tackle, but is abnormally tall at 6-5. With that combination, Wormley compares in size to perennial NFL All Pro, Kevin Williams.
Aidan Conlon (G, Northern Illinois) has not allowed a sack or hit on 411 pass block snaps.
The senior guard playing in his hometown state has had a remarkable career. According to the NIU official athletic site, Conlon is leading the country with a streak of 54 consecutive starts. Besides his redshirt season, he has started every college game in his career. Conlon is currently PFF’s seventh-ranked guard with a grade of +29.0 after finishing ninth last season at +27.0. Conlon has made major strides in pass protection by improving his pass blocking grade by 7.6 points from his junior season. And then there’s this – Conlon has not allowed a single sack or hit this season. His three hurries allowed is the only stat keeping him from having perfect 100 pass blocking efficiency rating (PBE). He currently leads the nation in PBE among guards at 99.5.
Ezekiel Elliott is a brick wall. He is still perfect in pass protection through Week 13 and 97 pass block snaps.