Alabama Facing High-Scoring Rebs

The team that lost to Jacksonville State in the first week and to Vanderbilt in the third week of the 2010 college football season is now the Southeastern Conference scoring leader. The problem is on the defensive end.

Alabama will host Ole Miss at 8 p.m. CDT Saturday in the Crimson Tide's homecoming game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. ESPN2 will televise the game.

Alabama is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in SEC games and coming off its first loss in over a year, a 35-21 setback to South Carolina in Columbia last week. The Rebels are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in SEC games. Like South Carolina before them and four SEC teams after them, Ole Miss had an open date before meeting Bama.

Despite the dismal start to its season, Ole Miss has rebounded to now lead the SEC in scoring at 37.2 points per game. Alabama has dropped to fourth in the league in scoring at 35 points per game. In scoring defense, though, Bama is first in the league, giving up 13.3 points per game, and the Rebels are last, allowing 32.6 per game.

The option offense, with running quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, along with powerful tailback Brandon Bolden, has the Rebels ranking second in the SEC in rushing offense at 232 yards per game. Bama is fourth at 197.5. Alabama is third in rushing defense, allowing 102.5 yards per game, while Mississippi is seventh allowing 115.6.

Alabama is third in passing offense, 247.7 yards per game, Ole Miss ninth, 191.4. In pass defense, Alabama is xith, giving up 193 yards per game, while the Rebels allow 246.6, which is 11th in the conference. In the pass efficiency categories, Alabama is second offensively and first defensively, the Rebels fifth offensively, 10th defensively.

Alabama is third in total offense, 445.2 yards per game, and Ole Miss fifth, 423.4. Defensively, the Crimson Tide is second, allowing 295.5, the Rebels 10th at 362.2.

In third down conversions, Alabama is fourth in the SEC in success, 29-62 for 46.8 per cent. Mississippi is ninth, 26-67 for 38.8 per cent. Defensively, Bama is first, allowing just 24 conversions in 80 opportunities, 30 per cent, while Ole Miss is fourth, allowing 24-71 for 33.8 per cent.

In turnover margin, Alabama ranks first in the SEC and Ole Miss is last. The Tide has 14 takeaways, two fumble recoveries and 12 pass interceptions, and seven turnovers, four fumbles lost and three passes intercepted, for plus seven. The Rebels have six takeaways, five fumble recoveries and one interception, and nine turnovers, four fumbles lost and five passes intercepted for minus three.

Mississippi has been more successful in Red Zone scoring, ranking fourth in the conference. The Rebels have been in the Red Zone 24 times and scored 21 for 87.5 per cent, getting 16 touchdowns and five field goals. Alabama is seventh, scoring 22 times in 27 trips for 81.5 per cent with 16 touchdowns and six field goals. In Red Zone defense, Bama ranks second, allowing 12 scores in 18 opportunities, 66.7 per cent, with six touchdowns and six field goals surrendered. Ole Miss ranks 10th, opponents having scored 17 times in 19 Red Zone trips, 89.5 per cent, with 15 touchdowns and two field goals.

No Ole Miss players lead an individual SEC category. Bama's Trent Richardson leads the league in all-purpose yards, averaging 177 per game. Tide safety Robert Lester is the interceptions leader with four.

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