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November 10, 2009

Inside the stats: Numbers can be deceiving

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

1. Playing around. Houston leads the nation in average offensive plays per game, at 85.1. The only other team in the nation averaging more than 80 offensive plays per game is Texas A&M, at 81.7. Conversely, just one team in the nation averages less than 60 plays per game - Georgia, at 59.8. But number of plays doesn't necessarily equate to time of possession. Houston's average time of possession is 28:13, which ranks 102nd in the nation. Georgia's average TOP is 28:44, which is 91st. Georgia Tech leads in time of possession at 34:56 per game. The Yellow Jackets average 70 offensive plays per game, which is fourth in the ACC. The average number of plays per game nationally is 67.8.

2. In a rush. Fresno State's Ryan Mathews is the nation's leading rusher, by a wide margin. Mathews averages 162.1 yards per game; Stanford's Toby Gerhart is second, at 135.2. Mathews would be the sixth non-Big Six player to lead the nation in rushing in the past seven seasons. Connecticut's Donald Brown was the leader last season, but that came on the heels of five consecutive non-Big Sixers leading the nation - UCF's Kevin Smith in 2007, Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe in '06, Memphis' DeAngelo Williams in '05, North Texas' Damario Thomas in '04 and North Texas' Patrick Cobbs in '03.

3. Block party. Ninety-two of the 120 FBS teams have at least one blocked kick or punt this season, and SMU leads the way with eight blocks in nine games. Second is Middle Tennessee, with seven blocks in nine games.

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

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