But as a football fan, that's not interesting. What is interesting is that Mike Evans had 279 receiving yards on 9 targets and Manziel had the second most yards by an SEC player in the history of the conference, and they did it against the two-time defending best defense in the country. I hope to break down Manziel's performance in a part two, but here I focus on Mike Evans:
Since 2005 (where my play-by-play data begins), players have gained 200 yards receiving 170 times and and 250 yards 24 times. Evans' 279 yards ranks 12th over that period. Looking over the list of the top 20 games by receiving yards, a few things stand out. First, most of these were against bad defenses. That's not to say the accomplishment is unimpressive, but we should keep the strength of the competition in mind. Some receivers amassed their numbers against solid defenses: Marqise Lee and Austin Hill both topped 250 in the same game; Cobi Hamilton gained over 300 yards against a good Rutgers defense; Dezmon Briscoe's 269 against Oklahoma is notable. But Mike Evans had 279 yards receiving against the best defense in college football.
Second, Mike Evans is the only player on this list in single digits in targets. His 31 yards per target is 7.5 more than any other on the list. Manziel could have targetted Evans more often, but Kevin Sumlin also noted that much of what they were able to do on the ground was based on Alabama's approach to containing Evans defensively. Unfortunately, this is the kind of contribution I have no way of measuring (for now).
|While this post is about Evans, Jheranie Boyd against LSU deserves a little attention