Tide Statistics Better Than Rebs'

There is a temptation to say that statistics don't mean anything ("except the one on the scoreboard at the end of the game"), but when one team has defeated three ranked teams and has far superior statistics to a team that is 2-3 against a very weak schedule, the numbers probably do foretell the tale.

If that is indeed the case, things look very good for Alabama Saturday in the Crimson Tide's game at Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide is 6-0 with three wins over ranked teams -- two of them on the road -- and is ranked second in the nation. The Rebels were routed by Vanderbilt and the best win by Mississippi is an upset of Fresno State, which lost by 50 points in its next game.

Alabama, ranked second in the nation and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference games, goes to Oxford Saturday to meet Ole Miss, 0-2 in the league, in a game that kicks off at 5 p.m. CDT and will be televised by ESPN2.

Alabama is ranked at or near the top in the most significant statistics as compiled by the SEC, while the Rebels are ranked near the bottom in most major categories.

In scoring, Alabama is third in the league at 37.7 points per game and Ole Miss is 10th at 22.6. In scoring defense the Tide is first, allowing 7 points per game, the Rebels 10th, giving up 24.6.

Bama leads the league in rushing offense at 217 yards per game and the Rebs are ninth at 116.6. In rushing defense, Alabama is a runaway number one, allowing just 39.8 yards per game, and Ole Miss is 10th, giving up 193.

In passing offense, the Tide is fourth at 217.8 yards per game, the Rebels 10th at 158.6. In passing defense, Bama is second, allowing 151.5 yards per game, and the Rebs are 11th, giving up 215.4.

In total offense, Alabama is second, 434.8 yards per game, Ole Miss 10th at 275.2. In total defense, the Tide is first, allowing 191.3, and the Rebels are 10th, giving up 408.4.

In passing efficiency, Bama is fourth and the Rebs 10th. In pass defense efficiency, Alabama is first and Ole Miss 10th.

Ole Miss does have an advantage in the punting game. In punting, the Rebels are second, 40.8 net yards per punt, and Bama 11th, 36 net yards. In punt returns, Mississippi is first, 31.7 yards per return, the Tide third (but well back) at 13.4 yards per return.

Alabama is first in kickoff returns and ninth in kickoff coverage, Mississippi 10th in kickoff returns, third in kickoff coverage.

Third down conversions are considered an important statistic by coaches. Alabama is second in successful conversions, 40 of 81 for 49.4 per cent, Ole Miss 10th, 19 of 62 for 30.6 per cent. Defensively, Alabama is second, allowing 26-93 for 28 per cent, the Rebels 11th, permitting 31-71 for 43.7 per cent.

Perhaps the most important statistic to coaches is turnover margin. Alabama is fifth in the league at plus three, Mississippi seventh at plus one.

The Rebels are a little better than Alabama in the Red Zone. From the 20 going in, Ole Miss is fourth with nine scores in 10 chances for 90 per cent, and Bama is fifth with 24 scores in 27 opportunities for 88.9 per cent. Defensively, the Rebels have held opponents to 12-17 scores, 70.6 per cent and third in the league, while the Tide has allowed seven scores in seven Red Zone chances for 71.4 per cent, fourth in the conference.

Bama is second in least yards penalized, 27.2 yards per game, the Rebels 11th, 70.4 yards per game.

In time of possession, the Tide is fourth, 32.35, and Ole Miss last in the league, 26.24.

In individual statistics, Bama's Trent Richardson leads the league in touchdowns (12) and scoring 12 points per game. Mississippi's Jeff Scott is the conference leader in punt returns, 23 yards per runback.

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