Statistically, Tide Has Advantage

The statistics that matter in football are Wins and Losses. But the other numbers make it fun, and perhaps even enlighten as to what to expect. Alabama Coach Nick Saban says that you can throw out all the statistics when the Crimson Tide plays Tennessee.

That game is this weekend. Alabama goes to Tennessee Saturday for a Southeastern Conference game. Kickoff in Neyland Stadium will be at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time) with television coverage by ESPN. Alabama is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in SEC play and ranked seventh in the nation. Tennessee is 2-4 overall and 0-3 in conference games.

As might be expected, the Crimson Tide has the better of it statistically as the teams have reached the midway point of the regular season.

In scoring offense, Alabama is third in the SEC at 33.3 points per game, while the Vols are 11th, 23.3. In scoring defense, Alabama is first in the conference, allowing 12.9 points per game, while Tennessee is 10th, giving up 27.5.

Bama is fifth in the SEC in rushing, 183.6 yards per game, and UT is 11th, 115. The Tide is fifth in rushing defense, allowing 106.9, and Tennessee is ninth, giving up 153.5.

In passing offense, Alabama has only a slight edge, fifth in the SEC at 243.6 yards per game to Tennessee, sixth, at 206.8. In passing defense, Bama is fourth, allowing 181.1 yards per game, the Vols ninth, giving up 227.5. (In efficiency, Alabama is second offensively and Tennessee is ninth, and the Tide is first, UT fifth defensively.)

In total offense, Alabama is fourth, 427.1 yards per game, Tennessee 11th, 321.8. In total defense, Bama is second, giving up 288 yards per game, the Vols 12th, permitting 381.

Coaches put a lot of stock in a team's success on third down, converting third down plays into first downs and preventing the opponent from making first downs on third down opportunities. Bama is fourth in the league in third down success, converting 34-77 chances for 44.2 per cent. UT is 11th, making good on 24 of 86 opportunities, 27.9 per cent. On defense, Alabama is best in the SEC, holding opponents to 32-99 success, 32.3 per cent. Tennessee is ninth, allowing 35-92 for 38 per cent.

Turnover margin is considered one of the most important statistics. Alabama leads the SEC at plus seven. Bama has two fumble recoveries and 13 pass interceptions and has given up five fumbles and three interceptions. Tennessee is sixth at plus one. The Vols have four fumble recoveries and six pass interceptions, have given up four fumbles and five interceptions.

Alabama has been only average (at best) in Red Zone offense. The Tide ranks seventh in the SEC by scoring 24 of 29 times when reaching the opponent 20-yard line. Bama has 17 touchdowns and is 7-8 on field goal attempts. Tennessee is 12th, scoring 10 of 14 opportunities. The Vols have seven touchdowns and 3-4 field goals.

On Red Zone defense, Alabama is second in the league, allowing 14-20 scores (70 per cent) on seven touchdowns and 7-7 field goals. Tennessee is eighth, allowing 18-21 (85.7 per cent) on 11 touchdowns and 7-9 field goals.

It's hard to figure what the sack situation will be in the game. The teams are the two worst in both making and taking sacks. Alabama is tied for 10th in the league (with Vanderbilt) in sacks with eight for 43 yards, while Tennessee is last with seven for 57 yards. In sacks against, Alabama is 11th, allowing 21 for 101 yards, and the Vols are 12th, giving up 23 for 155 yards.

The only individual for Alabama or Tennessee to lead the SEC in a statistical category is Trent Richardson as tops in all-purpose yardage, 183.1 yards per game based on rushing (487), pass receiving (239), and kickoff returns (556).

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