It's time to go "Next Level" with some of the bowl games involving SEC teams.
The good people at ESPN Stats & Information have come up with more extra interesting stats for a few bowl games involving the SEC.
Stats & Info checked out the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl, the AT&T Cotton Bowl and the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. We don't want to overload you with info, so we'll start with the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Outback Bowl and the Capital One Bowl.
There are some interesting notes in here, so take a look:
Chick-fil-A Bowl -- Virginia vs. No. 25 Auburn
Clint Moseley has been an upgrade on long passes since taking over as Auburn’s starting quarterback. Moseley has completed more than 50 percent of his throws of 15-plus yards in three of five games against SEC opponents this season. Neither Barrett Trotter nor Kiehl Frazier accomplished this feat once against SEC opponents.
Auburn has not rushed for 300 yards in a game this season, after having eight such games last season. The Tigers have 16 rushing touchdowns this season and 12 rushes of 20 yards or longer. It only took 11 games last season for Cam Newton to surpass those totals by himself.
Auburn’s lack of a running game has hurt its play-action passing game. The Tigers have not thrown for more than 76 yards off play-action against an AQ opponent (nine games) this season. Last season, the Tigers threw for at least 100 yards off a run fake in three of its final four games, including 234 in the BCS Championship Game.
Virginia has held its opponents to no gain or a loss on 39.9 percent of its plays this season, second best in the ACC and sixth best in FBS. The Cavaliers have been even better in their last four games, holding opponents to no yards or less on 43.8 percent of their plays.
Outback Bowl –- No. 17 Michigan State vs. No. 16 Georgia
Isaiah Crowell was limited to 6 yards on seven carries inside the tackles against LSU in the SEC championship game. It was his fewest yards and lowest average inside the tackles. Crowell entered the game average 60.5 yards and 4.7 yards per carry on the same run.
If Georgia is unable to run the ball, it could make the Bulldogs predictable on first down. Aaron Murray leads the SEC and is tied for fourth nationally with 17 touchdown passes on first down this season.
B.J. Cunningham has emerged as Kirk Cousins’ big-play threat. Cunningham has five of the team’s six receiving touchdowns on passes thrown 20 yards or longer this season, including one in each of the Spartans’ last four games.
Georgia and Michigan State’s defenses are both ranked in the top six of FBS in yards per game and yards per play this season. The Bulldogs and Spartans have both forced 106 negative plays, which is the fifth most in FBS.
Capital One Bowl –- No. 20 Nebraska vs. No. 9 South Carolina
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez completes 40.8 percent of his throws of 15-plus yards for his career against AQ opponents. Nebraska is 7-0 against AQ opponents when Martinez completes at least 50 percent of these passes, including the win in its last game against Iowa.
Nebraska leads the FBS with 17 rushing touchdowns of 40 yards or longer since the start of the 2010 season. The Cornhuskers are 9-1 when they have one such run with the only loss coming in the 2010 Big 12 championship game to Oklahoma.
Connor Shaw completed 7 of 12 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns when Clemson sent five or more pass-rushers on a play. It was Shaw’s seventh straight game where he completed at least 58 percent of his passes against the blitz this season. The Gamecocks were 6-1 in those games with the only loss coming to Arkansas.
Shaw has been more productive at home, averaging 107 more passing yards per game at home than on the road in the games that he started. One reason for Shaw’s increased success in Columbia is the accuracy of his deep ball.
South Carolina has only given up 112 plays of 10 or more yards this season, second fewest in FBS. In their last game, the Gamecocks held Clemson to a season-low eight such plays, including just four pass plays.
South Carolina has 10 plays of 20 yards or more in its four games against FBS opponents since Marcus Lattimore got hurt against Mississippi State. It’s tied for the third fewest such plays during that time period (from Oct. 16 on).