Miami’s Turnover Chain Shines Bright In This Week’s Statistical Leaderboard

It’s weird. For a weekend that was dominated by headlines of Bakers behaving badly, embattled rivalry games and trick plays, the actual football was business as usual, especially for the top teams — save for Oklahoma State, NC State and Michigan.

But the damage was pretty minimal, all things considered. In this week’s statistical leaderboard, we are trying something different. At TSFJ, we are dedicating the top spot to something shiny and inanimate. In fact, this whole leaderboard is dedicated to sparkling performances – from quarterbacks to defensive backs and all the glittering statistics in between.

Welcome to the shine edition. Here are the top statistical performances that caught our eye in Week 12.

No. 1 in Turnover Margin: Miami – 1.60

If you had to ability to rock a chain made out of 900 orange and green sapphire stones, wouldn’t you? If you could earn that honor based on your play, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to sit on the sideline in all that green and gold glory? Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz certainly thought you might.

By now, we have all see the chain, glittering around the player’s neck who has forced a turnover for the Canes. We know the story behind the jeweler who made it. We have even heard all the terrible “fool’s gold” puns from writers pondering if  “The U” is really, in fact, back.

Even a Virginia wide receiver commented on the illusion they believe to be the turnover chain.

“They are very beatable,” Virginia’s Joe Reed said to the Associated Press after Miami’s 44-28 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday. “The chain is what gives them the spark. I think without the chain they would be a whole different defense.”

But these are the facts: Miami is 10-0. They beat Notre Dame 41-8. They boast a nation-best 1.60-turnover margin. They also lead the nation in sacks, averaging 3.8 per game.

The turnover chain is real, just like Miami’s defense. And Clemson is about to find that out the hard way in the ACC Championship Game on December 2.

No. 1 in Completions per Game: Luke Falk, Washington State – 29.09

Washington State head coach Mike Leach is the most entertaining coach in college football. There I said it.

His rants against the College Football Playoff Committee are epic and his advice about dating and marriage are always on point. Leach grabs the nation’s attention with his antics, but his team is what keeps fans coming back. And this weekend, quarterback Luke Falk has the chance to make a statement of his own with a big win over in-state rival Washington.

The Apple cup is always exciting, but this year the fate of the Pac-12 Championship Game is in Falk’s hands. If Washington State can defeat the Huskies, the Cougars will face USC in the Pac-12 Championship. But if Washington prevails, then Stanford will face off against the Trojans at Levi’s Stadium on December 1.

It will be a battle in the air as both teams boast solid QBs. Falk leads the nation in completions per game (29.0) and ranks sixth nationally in passing TDs (also 29).

Washington QB Jake Browning ranks third nationally in completion percentage (69.1%) and twelfth in passing efficiency (156.8).

No. 1 in Scoring Offense: UCF – 48.2 points per game

The Knights received no love from the College Football Playoff Committee in this week’s rankings, prompting the question: how is an 8-3 Mississippi State that struggled against Arkansas ahead of 10-0 UCF? The answer is way less complicated than the question: Unless you are Notre Dame, if you’re not from a Power 5, you don’t get the keys to drive.

Central Florida has proven they deserve to be taken seriously. In 10 games, the Knights have scored 65 touchdowns, 61 PATs, nine field goals, one 2-point conversion and one safety for a total of 482 points. This gives them an average of 48.2 points per game. Playing succinct and proficient offense through 10 games is good no matter who the opponent is. Sure it would be nice to see them play an Alabama or a Miami. But they will face off against USF this weekend and likely meet No. 20 Memphis in the AAC title game.

No. 1 in Total Offense: Lamar Jackson, Louisville – 414.5 yards per game

The thing about Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is that he has consistently been leading the nation in total offense and nobody even realized it, except me, of course. I have been keeping a close eye on those yards per game. Jackson leads the nation with 414.5 yards of offense per game. Oklahoma State’s quarterback Mason Rudolph trails him by 37.1 yards. And Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield trails Rudolph by 8.7 yards.

In 11 games, Jackson has run 568 plays for a total of 4,560 yards. He has thrown for 3,273 yards, 23 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also has over 1,000 yards rushing. Louisville is 7-4, fourth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Jackson’s numbers are impressive (and consistent) but the Cardinals’ performance is not.

Last year, Jackson won the Heisman, as well as the Maxwell Award. This year, he was snubbed from every award finalist list. Granted, he may still make the Heisman short list. But for a guy that is having statistically a better season than last year, the accolades are in short supply. 

No. 1 in Completion Percentage: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma – .708

My love for Baker Mayfield transcends the stupid, juvenile shit he does when he feels slighted.

I mean, we have all taken the low the road in our lives. Sometimes I even pull a Tom Haverford and tell my friends to take the high road so there is more room for me on the low road.

Regardless of how you felt about Mayfield’s Grab-gate, his body of work speaks for itself (puns always intended). He leads the nation in several statistical categories: passing efficiency (199.3), passing yards per completion (16.38) and yards per pass attempt (11.6). He is second in passing TDs (34) and passing yards (3,816) and third in passing yards per game (346.9).

Oklahoma is 10-1, first in the Big 12 and fourth in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The Sooners’ only loss is to Iowa State. And with one game left against West Virginia, they have the ability to make one more case for the committee — both for the team and for Mayfield, who is the current Heisman favorite.

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