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October 13, 2009

Inside the stats: Top defenses face tests

Each week, we'll look at some statistics involving individuals and/or teams that we find intriguing.

1. Make your point. There are just five teams nationally allowing fewer than 10 points per game -- and each plays a team this week averaging at least 32.6 points per game. Florida is No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing 6.4 points per game; this week, the Gators play Arkansas, which is averaging 37.4 points. Nebraska is No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing 8.0 points; the Huskers play Texas Tech, which is No. 2 in scoring offense at 43.2 points. Oklahoma is No. 3 in scoring defense, at 8.4 points per game; the Sooners meet Texas, which leads the nation in scoring at 47.2 points. USC is No. 4 in scoring defense, allowing 8.6 points; the Trojans play at Notre Dame, which is averaging 32.6 points. And USF is fifth in scoring defense, allowing 9.4 points; the Bulls play Cincinnati, which is third in scoring at 42 points per game.

2. The flags are flying. The four teams assessed the most penalty yards per game are in the Big 12 -- No. 117 Texas A&M (penalized 82.4 yards per game), No. 118 Colorado (83.0), No. 119 Oklahoma State (84.0) and No. 120 Texas Tech (90.3). All six Big 12 South teams are used to seeing yardage marked off against them. The division team with the best penalty "stats" is Baylor, which is No. 97 nationally (70.2 yards) in penalty yards per game. Texas is 101st (72.8 yards) and Oklahoma is 110th (76.4 yards).

3. Making his case. Houston's Case Keenum is averaging 426 passing yards per game. At that pace, if Houston plays in the Conference USA title game and a bowl game, he would throw for an NCAA-record 5,964 yards. Given that the rest of his regular-season games are against C-USA defenses, you have to like his chances.

4. Pick-free. Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson quietly is putting together a solid season. Johnson, a junior, has thrown for 1,579 yards (315.8 per game), 14 touchdowns and no interceptions; he also is completing 60.2 percent of his passes. Johnson is the only full-time starting quarterback in the nation who has not thrown an interception. Granted, he has not played against any good defenses -- and he won't for a while. A&M's next four games are against Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Colorado. The good numbers should continue.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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