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October 21, 2008

Inside the numbers: Rough road for Texas Tech

»MORE: Rivals.com Week 8 National Awards | Olin Buchanan's Heisman Ballot | Weekly Whispers

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

1. Texas Tech has a tough road ahead. On its Internet site, the NCAA has a weekly update on the nation's toughest schedule. One part deals with upcoming opponents, and the NCAA says Texas Tech has the toughest remaining schedule in the nation. The Red Raiders' remaining opponents are a combined 24-7 (77.4 winning percentage). Kansas is second, at 23-8 (74.2 percent). The Jayhawks play host to the Red Raiders on Saturday. The rest of the top 10: Georgia is third, West Virginia is fourth, Auburn is fifth, Florida and Oklahoma State are tied for sixth, Michigan is eighth, Baylor is ninth and Illinois is 10th.

2. Utah's kickers are special. Louie Sakoda is some kind of weapon. Sakoda, a senior, is 15-of-17 on field-goal attempts, including 6-of-8 from beyond 40 yards (his misses are from 48 and 54). He's averaging 43 yards per punt, with 13 downed inside the 20. And 39 of Brett Vroman's 60 kickoffs have been touchbacks, which far and away leads the nation. USC kicker David Buehler is second in kickoff-touchback percentage – 26 of 44. So the next time your team's kickoff guy struggles to get the ball to the 5-yard line, think how nice it would be to have Buehler or Vroman.

3. There's a reason Tulsa never punts. The Golden Hurricane have punted just 11 times seven games, the fewest punts in the country. Tulsa has had 89 possessions – and scored on 60 of them (54 touchdowns, six field goals). And thanks to the folks at cfbstats.com we also know that Tulsa has had just five three-and-outs this season, the lowest percentage in the nation. Tulsa is followed by Texas Tech (six in 85 possessions) and Missouri (seven in 84). The flipside: Louisiana-Monroe has the highest percentage of three-and-outs, with 31 in 90 drives (34.4 percent). Tennessee is second (28 in 83, 33.7) and Florida International third (31 in 93, 33.3).

4. Washington State's streak ends. The Cougars had scored in 280 consecutive games, the second-longest current streak (four behind Michigan) and the fourth-longest of all time. But the streak ended in last week's 69-0 loss to USC.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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