Digging into some of Week 7's statistical trivia...
-- This spring we wrote that Florida State's offensive line had been exceptional in creating space for the ground game, but had some work to do when it came to pass protection (though we also noted some of the high sack rate was attributed to Jameis Winston hanging on to the ball a bit too long). Oddly, the reverse is true this season.
On non-QB runs, the ground game has seen its yards-per-carry drop from 6.5 to 5.1, its percentage of negative runs jump from 17 percent to 19.5, and its yards-per-rush before contact dip from 3.8 to 2.4. Meanwhile, Winston was sacked last season once every 16.4 dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. This season, that number has improved to once every 24.6.
Before we go crediting the O-line for an improvement in pass protection though, it's probably good to remember our earlier caveat about FSU's sack rate. Winston is being blitzed at roughly the same rate as last season and completing roughly the same percentage of passes against the blitz, but a couple of numbers have changed dramatically.
Last season, Winston was sacked 13 times when blitzed (once for every 10 pass attempts), while this season, he's been sacked just once (with 56 pass attempts) against the blitz. The difference is he's checking down quicker instead of looking for the big play downfield. His yards-per-attempt vs. the blitz has fallen from 11.8 to 8.1, and his percentage of throws of 10 yards or more on plays when the opposition brings the blitz has dropped from 53 percent to 36 percent.
-- Duke Johnson has rushed for at least 90 yards in nine straight games, the longest active streak among Power 5 tailbacks in the nation and the longest by an ACC runner since Tashard Choice went nine straight games in 2006-07. No ACC running back has had a 10-game streak of 90-plus rushing yards since at least 2003.
Against Cincinnati on Saturday, Johnson ran for 162 yards on 10 carries and added 16 more receiving yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, those numbers pushed Johnson past Santana Moss for Miami's all-time record for all-purpose yards and past Clinton Portis for fifth on the school's career rushing list.
Johnson's 80-yard touchdown run was the longest by a Miami tailback since Portis had an 82-yard run in 2000, and no ACC runner had a longer run against FBS competition since Virginia Tech's J.C. Coleman went for 86 on Oct. 13, 2012.
-- Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett is averaging 34.4 yards per catch this season, which is more than 8 yards-per-catch better than the next closest receiver in the nation (min. 15 receptions). One-quarter of Dorsett's catches this season have gone for 50 yards or more.
-- With its 23-17 victory over Louisville, Clemson became the first team this season to win a game in which it did not score an offensive touchdown. In fact, it's something that has happened against a Power 5 conference team just 24 times in the past decade -- and strangely, it's the third time Clemson has done it (2009 vs. Boston College and 2005 vs. Texas A&M).
-- That Clemson couldn't muster an offensive touchdown against the Cardinals is not a big surprise. Against FBS foes, Louisville's defense has been on the field for 93 drives and allowed just three touchdowns. That TD rate of 3.2 percent for Louisville's FBS opposition is by far the lowest in the country. In fact, it's more than half the rate of any other team (Ole Miss is next at 7.7 percent) and one of just three defenses in the nation surrendering TDs less than 10 percent of the time.
In fact, here's how good Louisville's defense has been: Against FBS foes, 12.9 percent of opponents' drives ended in points, while 16.1 percent ended in a turnover. The only other team in the country in which the opposition is more likely to turn the ball over than record points is Ole Miss (16.7 percent scoring, 19.2 percent turnovers).
-- Tyler Murphy's legs have been a huge weapon for Boston College all season, and he was a big reason why the Eagles upended NC State on Saturday. Murphy ran for 132 yards on 15 carries, scoring twice. It was his third 100-yard game of the season (he also had 99 against Maine) and it puts him on pace for better than 1,400 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns for the year. The only QBs to reach those rushing numbers in the last decade are pretty well known: Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton. Even if Murphy only hits 1,000 yards and 10 TDs (a virtual lock if he stays healthy), he'd be just the second ACC quarterback in a decade to do that.
-- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams did a little of everything against Notre Dame, including a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown. The last ACC player to do that? Well, that'd be Marquise Williams, who also accomplished the feat a year ago against Virginia. The only other player to have a rushing, receiving and passing TD in the same game more than once in the past decade was Rice's James Casey.
But Williams wasn't done there. He also racked up 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards against the Irish, becoming the first player this season to manage that feat.
Put them together, however, and you get a truly rare accomplishment. The last player to throw for 300 yards, rush for 100 yards and add TDs rushing, receiving and passing was Kent State's Josh Cribbs in 2004.
-- Duke's 250 rushing yards against Georgia Tech on Saturday represented the second-most the Blue Devils have tallied in a conference game in the last decade. It also represented the third time this season that the Yellow Jackets had surrendered at least 250 yards on the ground. From 2009 through 2013, Georgia Tech had allowed an opponent to run for more than 250 yards just six times total.