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September 21, 2010

Week 3 inside the numbers: Sad Case

Each week during the season, we look at some statistics involving individuals and/or teams that we find intriguing. Here is this week's version:

1. You have to feel for Houston QB Case Keenum, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Keenum could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, but it seems doubtful he would get it. As it stands, Keenum will leave college as the No. 5 passer in history with 13,586 yards. He had an outside shot at finishing No. 1 (former Hawaii star Timmy Chang leads with 17,072 yards). He also had a legitimate shot at becoming the career leader in TD passes (he has 107, and former Texas Tech standout Graham Harrell leads with 134) and pass completions (he has 1,118, and the record is Chang's 1,388).

2. The nation's leader in rushing touchdowns is Nebraska redshirt freshman QB Taylor Martinez, with eight. Martinez is averaging 140.3 yards per game and 10.5 yards per carry. Tied for second in rushing touchdowns is San Diego State redshirt freshman RB Ronnie Hillman, with seven; he's coming off a 228-yard, two-touchdown game in a narrow loss at Missouri. The two went to high school about 30 miles apart in southern California -- Hillman at La Habra High in Orange County and Martinez at Corona Centennial in Riverside County.

3. Penn State's rebuilt offensive line was a question entering the season. While those linemen deserve some blame for the Nittany Lions' lackluster rushing attack, they also deserve credit for their pass-blocking: Penn State is the only team in the nation that hasn't allowed a sack.

4. One reason New Mexico is struggling -- the Lobos are 0-3 and have been outscored 180-31 -- is atrocious special-teams play. The Lobos are 119th in kickoff-return defense, allowing 38.1 yards per return. They also 114th in punt-return defense, allowing 26.4 yards per return; they have allowed three punts to be taken back for touchdowns.

5. Four teams are at least 15-of-15 in scoring in the red zone. Stanford leads the way at 19-of-19 (16 TDs, three field goals), followed by Oklahoma State at 16-of-16 (12 TDs, four field goals), and California and Nevada at 15-of-15 (Cal with 12 TDs and three field goals, and Nevada at 11 TDs and four field goals).

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