No Surprise Auburn Has Good Stats

In most games this year, Alabama has looked like the stronger team statistically than its Southeastern Conference opponents. That was then, this is now. Auburn is undefeated and ranked second in the nation and its power shows in the statistical comparison of the two teams.

Alabama will host Auburn at 1:30 p.m. CST Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game. Bama is 9-2 overall and 5-2 in SEC games and ranked ninth in the nation. The Tigers are 11-0 overall and 7-0 in the league.

The most important statistic is scoring and it will be Auburn scoring against Alabama scoring defense, according to the statistics through 11 games this season. The Tigers average an incredible 42.8 points per game to rank first in the conference. Alabama leads the league in scoring defense, allowing just 12.8 points per game. Alabama is third in the league, though over a touchdown per game behind Auburn, scoring 35.3 points per game. The Tigers rank eighth in the SEC in scoring defense, permitting 24.9.

Coaches point to teams that can run and stop the run as being successful, and Auburn is better than Alabama in both areas. The Tigers are first in rushing offense, piling up 307.9 yards per game, while the Tide ranks fourth in the league, well back at 184.9 rushing yards per game. On defense, Auburn is second in the conference, giving up only 111.5 yards per game, and Bama is third, allowing 124.7.

Alabama shows up better in the passing game, but the Crimson Tide has thrown the ball more and has had passes thrown against the Bama defense less. Alabama is third in the league in passing offense, 249.7 yards per game, while Auburn is eighth, 197.3 yards per game. (Auburn has the highest average per attempt, 10.2 yards.) Bama is fourth in the conference in pass defense, allowing 168.7 yards per game, while Auburn is 11th, giving up 244.2 yards per game. In passing efficiency, Auburn is first in the conference, Alabama second. In pass defense efficiency, Alabama is first and Auburn ninth.

Auburn leads the conference in total offense, 505.2 yards per game. Alabama is fourth at 434.6 yards per game. In total defense, Alabama is second, allowing 293.5 yards per game, and Auburn is eighth, giving up 355.7.

There are three statistics that coaches find particularly noteworthy – third down performance (offensively and defensively), turnover margin, and red zone efficiency (offensively and defensively).

Auburn has been exceptional in third down efficiency, converting 64 of 120 changes to rank first in the SEC at 53.3 per cent. Alabama is fourth, 56-125 for 44.8 per cent. On defense, Alabama is second in the league, allowing 55 conversions on 162 third down plays, 34 per cent, while Auburn is seventh, permitting 56-144 for 38.2 per cent.

Alabama leads the league in turnover margin at plus 12. Bama has a national best 21 interceptions and even with a league-low three fumble recoveries has 24 takeaways. Bama has lost seven fumbles and had five interceptions for 12 turnovers. Auburn is tied for sixth in the conference at plus three. The Tigers have eight fumble recoveries and eight pass interceptions and have lost seven fumbles and had six passes intercepted.

Auburn has been very good in the red zone with the football, scoring 48 of 54 trips inside the 20 (37 touchdowns and 11-13 field goals) for 88.9 per cent. Bama is eighth, scoring 40-48 trips, 30 touchdowns and 10-13 field goals. On defense, Bama is best in the league in the red zone, permitting 18 scores on 26 opponent opportunities (69.2 per cent) with eight touchdowns and 10-10 field goals. The Tigers are ninth in red zone defense, allowing scores on 29 of 33 trips (87.9 per cent) with 22 touchdowns and 7-9 field goals.

Discipline? Alabama is the league's least-penalized team, 38.6 yards per game, while Auburn is 10th, 56.7 yards per game.

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