STAT WATCH: Tigers finish 1st in nation in scoring defense
Clemson finished the season ranked in the top 10 in three of the four major defensive categories and in two of the four on offense.
The Tigers, who beat Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff championship game Monday night, held the Crimson Tide to their fewest points since a 26-14 loss to Auburn in November 2017 and allowed an average of 13.1 points per game to lead the nation.
Clemson was fifth in rushing defense (96.2 yards per game) and sixth in total defense (285.9).
On offense, the Tigers were fourth in scoring (44.3 points per game) and fourth in total offense (527.2).
Besides Clemson in scoring defense, national leaders on defense were Michigan State in rushing (77.9), Miami in passing yards (135.6) and Mississippi State in total defense (263.1).
National leaders on offense: Oklahoma in scoring (48.4 ppg) and total offense (570.3), Georgia Tech in rushing (325) and Washington State in passing yards (373.8).
Individual leaders were Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor in rushing (168.8 ypg) Washington State’s Gardner Minshew in passing yards (367.6) and Massachusetts’ Andy Isabella in receiving yards (141.5).
THE 200 CLUB
Six players had 200-yard rushing performances in bowls, led by Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 243 yards on 13 carries for Vanderbilt against Baylor. Others: Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M, 19 carries for 236 yards against North Carolina State; Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota, 31-224, against Georgia Tech; Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State, 24-212, against Arizona State; Taylor, Wisconsin, 27-205, against Miami; and Larry Rountree, Missouri, 27-204, against Oklahoma State.
Georgia is the first school to have a different pair of 1,000-yard rushers in consecutive seasons. Elijah Holyfield finished with 1,018 yards and D’Andre Swift had 1,049 this season; last year Nick Chubb had 1,345 and Sony Michel had 1,227. The Bulldogs led the Southeastern Conference in rushing both years.
HE’S A TERROR
Two-time Associated Press All-America defensive end Sutton Smith of Northern Illinois led the nation in tackles for loss for the second year in a row. He had 26.5 this season for a two-year total of 56. His two-year sack total of 29 is highest in the nation.
KING OF KICKERS
Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert became the all-time leading scorer among Football Bowl Subdivision kickers when he connected on a 26-yard field goal against Alabama in the CFP semifinals. Seibert finished his career with 496 points, ahead of the 494 by Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez (2013-16). Seibert ranks fourth among all FBS players on the NCAA career chart.
For the second straight year, the average length of FBS games was 3 hours, 19 minutes. That’s down from 3:24 in 2016. Mississippi was involved in the longest games, at an average of 3:41. Wisconsin was involved in the shortest, at 2:55.