Tide Is SEC's Best In Pass Defense

To some extent, statistics don't mean much in college football.To greater extent, they don't mean much two weeks into a 12-game (or longer) season. Nevertheless, statistics are a part of sports, and therefore interesting even after only two games.

Alabama should have a chance to improve its statistical standing this week. The Crimson Tide is 2-0 and ranked second in the nation. Bama is hosting North Texas, which is 0-2 this year.

Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CDT Saturday from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fox Sports South will televise the game.

The Southeastern Conference has six of the top 25 teams in the nation in pass efficiency defense, led by Alabama, which is third. Kentucky (10th), Vanderbilt (12th), Florida (18th), LSU (20th) and Arkansas (25th) round out the SEC teams in the top 25.

The SEC also has six of the top 30 teams in pass defense. Alabama leads the SEC and is 11th in the nation at 121.5 yards allowed per game. Florida is 12th (124.0), Arkansas 18th (140.5), Mississippi State 26th (160.0), LSU 28th (169.5) and Vanderbilt 30th (172.0).

After the first two weeks of the season, SEC teams are scoring more rushing touchdowns than any other FBS conference. SEC teams are averaging 2.63 rushing TDs per game, which tops second-place Big Ten with 2.48. The Pac-12 leads the nation in passing TDs per game with 2.67 while the SEC leads all conferences in total TDs per game with 5.08. The Big 12 is second with 4.73 touchdowns per game.

The SEC leads the nation in total points per game with 39.1, which is ahead of second-place Big 12 with 36.7. The six automatic BCS qualifying conferences are all above the national average of 30.7.

SEC teams average 38.5 rushing plays per game compared to 27.9 passing plays. The 10.6 gap is tied for the third largest among FBS conferences. The largest gap is the Big Ten's 15.0, which averages 41.7 rushing plays to 26.7 passing plays. Second is the Mountain West's 11.3, which averages 40.1 rushing plays to 28.8 passing plays. The SEC is tied for third with the Big 12, which averages 43.7 rushing plays to 33.1 passing plays. Only three conferences average more pass plays than rush plays – WAC (35.1 rush/35.7 pass), Pac-12 (33.6 rush/35.4 pass) and Conference USA (33.0 rush/36.3 pass).

Here are some other quick statistical facts from the SEC:

LSU has scored TDs on 11 of 12 red zone opportunities, leading the SEC (91.7 percent)

Kentucky has not allowed a TD in the red zone in four opportunities. Florida (none in 2) and Arkansas (none in 1) are the only teams not to allow a red zone TD this year in the SEC.

LSU's 15 play, 8:13 drive against Northwestern State is the longest in the SEC this year. The 68-yard drive ended in a touchdown. Mississippi State's 98-yard scoring drive against Memphis in week one is the longest by yards in the SEC.

SEC kickers are 6-of-12 (.500) in field goals over 40-yards this season. Kentucky's Craig McIntosh (2-of-2) is the only SEC kicker to have multiple 40-yard field goals this season.

Nine of 12 SEC teams have scored a non-offensive TD this season. Only Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky have not scored a non-offensive TD this season.

18 of Georgia's 30 losses since 2003 have been decided by seven-points or less. The 60.0 percent is the highest percentage of close losses in the SEC. Alabama is second with 20 of its 35 losses (57.1 percent) by seven points-or-less.

Vanderbilt's Chris Marve is tied for fourth and Arkansas' Jerry Franklin is 9th among active leaders in total tackles. Marve has 325 stops, which ties New Mexico's Carmen Messina. Franklin's 289 stops is just seven behind eight place Gabe Knapton of Wyoming. The national active leader is Marcus McGraw of Houston with 392.

Four SEC schools are among the national leaders in road/neutral winning percentage since 2003. The national leader is Southern California at 83.6 percent (46-9). LSU is fourth at 36-13 (.735) while Florida is seventh at 36-16 (.692), Auburn eighth at 29-14 (.674) and Georgia ninth at 35-19 (.648).

Arkansas has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 19 straight games, the longest active streak in the SEC and the sixth-longest active streak in the NCAA. Texas Tech has the nation's longest at 63, followed by Notre Dame (28), N.C. State (26), Troy (25), TCU (23) and Arkansas.

Georgia's Brandon Boykin has moved into 8th on the SEC career kickoff return yardage list with 2,107 yards. He needs 59 yards to move to 7th (Javier Arenas, Alabama, 2006-09, 2,166 yards).

For just the third time in the last two seasons in FBS, Tennessee had a game with a 400-yard passer (Tyler Bray 405 yards), 100 yard rusher (Tauren Poole 101 yards) and two 100 yard receivers (Justin Hunter 156 yards, Da'Rick Rogers 100 yards) against Cincinnati last week. Other times were Baylor vs. Kansas State (Oct. 23, 2010) and Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech (Oct. 30, 2010). The last time that happened in the SEC was Kentucky against Vanderbilt on Nov. 11, 2006 (Andre Woodson 450 yard passing, Rafael Little 132 yards rushing, Keenan Burton 171 yards receiving and Rafael Little 114 yards receiving).

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