Georgia’s Fromm Throws and Arizona’s Tate Just Goes In The CFB Statistical Leaderboard

This past weekend of college football was all over the place – Ohio State took down the mighty Penn State Nittany Lions, a Love-less Stanford almost handed Oregon State its first conference win, Iowa State held TCU to just one touchdown, Northwestern upset Michigan State and Arizona put up 58 in the process of defeating Washington State.

College football: you think you know, but you have no idea. One thing remains true though and that is the need to be productive with the pigskin so this week’s leaderboard is dedicated to efficiency.

But first we have to mention that the first College Football Playoff rankings came out and Georgia topped the list, to the surprise of many. Why not Alabama, you ask? Good question. Both teams boast an 8-0 record and while the Tide won seven of those by double-digits, the Bulldogs handed Notre Dame its only loss. Both teams are defensive powerhouses, but Georgia’s run game gives it a slight edge.

As you know, we aren’t here to talk CFP rankings or AP rankings, mainly because we subscribe to the Saban life – the “what significance does a poll have right now?” life. Which is exactly how the Alabama head coach responded when asked about the rankings. We feel strongly that he would care about our weekly statistical leaderboard though because numbers matter.

You know what else matters? Passing. And you know who can pass, contrary to popular belief in South Carolina? Georgia. That’s why we are starting this week’s leaderboard with the Bulldogs and their freshman quarterback’s throwing of the football. Enjoy.

No. 1 in Passing Yards per Completion: Jake Fromm, Georgia – 15.99

A lot of things have been said this week about Georgia’s passing game, mainly how it is nonexistent. And we are here to set the record straight. Yes the Bulldogs are run-heavy, but they can and do pass when necessary, as evident by the fact that freshman quarterback Jake Fromm leads the nation in passing yards per completion with 15.99.

Granted, he has only thrown 128 passes but has managed to complete 79 of them, ranking him fifth nationally in passing efficiency. Fromm has 13 touchdowns on the year and only four interceptions. Even the Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp knows better than to misjudge Fromm, as evident from his remarks from a local Atlanta radio show.

“I look at that Missouri game as a great example of his throwing ability,” Muschamp said of Fromm. “He was a guy that got about five explosive plays on third down. I’m talking big plays down the field, when he was forced to throw the football into tight coverage. He’s certainly capable.”

No. 1 in Completion Percentage: University of Central Florida – 74.4%

Speaking of completed passes; the University of Central Florida leads the nation in completion percentage with 74.4% of its tosses landing securely in the hands of a teammate. Through seven games, the Knights have completed 148 of 199 passes. It is also worth nothing that the Knights lead the nation in scoring offense, averaging 51 points per game.

Sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton is 129-for-177 with 1,997 yards, 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Milton was named one of 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award. The Knights remain undefeated, expertly and efficiently navigating the American Athletic East but will face a true test when they host USF to close out the year.

No. 1 in Rush Yards Per Carry: Khalil Tate, Arizona – 13.42

A rushing category that Bryce Love doesn’t headline in…impossible!

But it’s true as sophomore Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate leads the nation in rush yards per carry with 13.42. In six games, he has run the ball 69 times for a total of 926 rushing yards. Love is a close second, averaging 10.27 yards per carry off of 135 carries. Tate leads a pack of QBs this year that register in this category including Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw (7.29 YPC), Alabama’s Jalen Hurts (6.81), Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald (6.73), Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (6.32) and Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush (5.94).

Tate broke the FBS single-game rushing record for a quarterback when he took over for injured starter Brandon Dawkins against Colorado. In the month of October, Tate has 840 yards and eight touchdowns. He has a run of 70-plus yards in four straight games and seven touchdown runs of at least 45 yards. Tate has helped make Arizona football relevant again – the Wildcats are 6-2 with a 4-1 record in Pac-12 play, and are ranked in the AP top-25 for the first time in two years.

But its not all legs – in Arizona’s big 58-37 win over Washington State Saturday, Tate threw for 275 yards with only one interception.

No. 1 in Team Passing Efficiency Defense: Wisconsin – 95.96

Another undefeated team makes the list this week – the Wisconsin Badgers debut on our leaderboard as the most efficient pass defense in the nation, earning a 95.96 passing efficiency rating. But what does that number mean? Good question. It is break down of five factors (attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions) that are plugged into a NCAA formula that looks like this:

[ { (8.4 * yards) + (330 * touchdowns) – (200 * interceptions) + (100 * completions) } / attempts ]

A little history about the formula, which was developed in 1979, can be found here. You can also compute your team’s passing efficiency.

Through eight games the Badgers have allowed only 127 completed passes from 250 attempts for 1,394 yards and only six touchdowns. Whether you believe Colin Cowherd’s assertion that these Badgers are “the fake ID of college football” or not, those are impressive defensive statistics. The CFP committee wasn’t impressed however, ranking the 8-0 Badgers ninth in the first playoff list. But the thing about Badgers is that they don’t care about rankings, or anything really.

“It’s like a game: You only win the game at the end of the game,” head coach Paul Chryst said in an ESPN interview. “I think it’s the same with the season. It doesn’t matter what is said. You don’t spend time thinking about it. We’re just trying to focus on the important stuff.”

No. 1 in Kick Off Returns: Tony Pollard, Memphis – 41.9 yards per return

And last but certainly not least we get some special teams action on the leaderboard. Kickoff returns might not seem like a super sexy statistic, but it is one of those game-changers – the difference between good field position on a drive or being crammed back into your own end zone. Memphis sophomore wide receiver Tony Pollard leads the nation on kickoff returns with 14 for a total of 587 yards, averaging 41.9 yards per return. He also leads the nation in kickoff return touchdowns, of which he has three.

Pollard is also QB Riley Ferguson’s No. 2 receiver, with 24 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns on the season.

“Go, Tony!” is a phrase that can often be heard from broadcasters calling Memphis games. Just listen:

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