One thousand, eight hundred, seventy-three… that’s the number of points scored in the entirety of the 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational, 70 teams over 35 Bowl Games in one Bowl Season. With special attention paid to scoring plays in the tracking of this year’s games as compared with last year’s project, we are very excited to share with you the details of how the points ended up on the scoreboard in this year’s project; read on for all of the details!
The first breakdown of the points scored is taking a look at scoring by quarter. The second quarters of games for the project saw the most scoring: 612 points, for 33% of the total. The fourth quarter was next up, with 446 points and 24% of the total points scored. In the third quarter, 396 points were scored for 21% of the total. The first quarter was the lowest-scoring regulation period, with 362 points scored for 19%. Finally, two games went to overtime—the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl—and those overtime period produced 57 points for 3% of the total scoring.
In terms of scoring by quarter, we also wanted to highlight the teams which scored the most points per quarter in the project. SMU and Tulsa each put up 21 points in the first quarters of their games, leading that period; 24 teams went scoreless in the opening quarter, the second-highest occurrence. Northwestern’s 35-point explosion in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl was far and away the most point-productive second quarter, and the 10 scoreless teams represent the lowest number of occurrences for any quarter in the project. Three teams scored 21 points in a third quarter—Northwestern, Michigan, and Oklahoma—but the third quarter was also the quarter which had the most scoreless occurrences, with 27. For the fourth quarter, Ball State led all teams with a 22-point outburst, while 21 teams had scoreless frames for the final regulation period. Finally, Central Michigan’s 22 points were the most in overtime, and they needed every point to emerge victorious against Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Next up, we broke down the 1,873 points by the unit responsible for those points; offense—as should be expected, given the whole purpose of offense—led the way with 1,276 points scored. Special teams were next with 465 points, though this includes a combination of field goals, extra points, kickoff returns, and punt returns. Finally, defenses contributed 132 points to the overall total through a combination of interception returns, fumble returns, and safeties.
The next level of statistical breakdown comes down to the number of points scored by each type of scoring play. Passing touchdowns accounted for 726 points, while rushing touchdowns added another 540 points. Extra points and field goals contributed 222 and 219 points respectively. Interception returns brought in another 102 points, bringing an end to the types of scoring plays which contributed at least 100 points to the overall total. Fumble return touchdowns added 24 points, kickoff return touchdowns added 18, 2-point conversions added 10, and safeties and punt return touchdowns contributed 6 points each.
Digging down further to a focus on just touchdowns, offenses were responsible for a total of 211 touchdowns. Defenses scored 21 touchdowns, while special teams added 4 touchdowns. Again, as expected, offenses won the day on getting in the end zone.
Breaking down the touchdown numbers further, 121 came via passing scores while 90 came from rushing touchdowns. Interception returns accounted for 17 touchdowns, while fumble returns added 4 more touchdowns. Finally, 3 kickoff return touchdowns were scored along with a lone punt return touchdown.
For the rest of the points analysis, the focus turns to the longest scoring plays of the project. Starting with passing, an 82-yard connection between QB #12 and WR #21 of Northwestern stands as the longest such touchdown. Tulsa’s QB #7 and WR #1 also broke the 80-yard mark, while Michigan QB #12 to WR #21 and Utah State QB #16 to WR #7 each hit 78 yards. The Golden Hurricane of Tulsa added another long pass in the top ten with a 75-yard strike between QB #7 and WR #1.
Surprisingly, the longest offensive scoring play of the project came on a 90-yard run by HB #21 of Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl; it was the only offensive touchdown to top the 90-yard mark. Georgia HB #1 and TCU QB #2 each added an 83-yard touchdown run, while Louisiana-Lafayette HB #46 scored on a 74-yard touchdown. The service academies—Navy and Air Force—each managed touchdown runs of over 70 yards as well in their respective Bowl Games.
As we turn to the longest interception return touchdowns of the project, we get our first 100-plus yard scoring play with a 102-yard return by CB #6 of Washington in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Georgia Tech and West Virginia managed interception return touchdowns of over 90 yards as well. Clemson and Cincinnati both make the list as the only teams to score on multiple interception returns for touchdown for the project.
Four teams managed fumble return touchdowns, and Notre Dame’s 76-yard return by CB #10 was the longest of the project. Texas Tech FS #16 scored from 72 yards after picking up a loose ball, while Big Ten members Michigan and Northwestern added the other two scores of this type.
With three kickoff returns being taken back for a touchdown in the project, amazingly there were two returns of 106 yards and one return of 105 yards. The new kickoff rules might have been put in place to limit the danger of fast-moving plays on the kickoff, but Clemson WR #2, Georgia HB #1, and Texas A&M WR #25 all braved the possibility of coming up short of touchback yardage by taking the ball out of the end zone and finding their way all the way across the field to their opponent’s end zone.
Arkansas State HB #38 successfully did what no other punt returner could do in the entire 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational: returned the kick for a touchdown. His 63-yard return, being the only such score, was also the longest.
Finally, some college placekickers exhibited significant leg strength in this year’s project, highlighted by Michigan State K #17 and Notre Dame K #27 converting field goals from 51 yards out. Louisiana-Monroe K #17 was prolific from distance, converting two kicks from 49 yards and one kick from 45 yards to take three spots in the top ten. Florida State and TCU had field goals of 47 yards as well.
And that’s how the 1,873 points of the 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational were scored… be sure to come back this weekend for a closer look at individual performances, as well as more analysis of the teams of this year’s 35 Bowl Games.