Thus Far, Alabama Leads Stats Battle

A couple of months ago, it was pointed out that Alabama had done statistically better than LSU through the first two months of the college football season. Nevertheless, when the teams played, that statistical advantage didn't count for much.

In regular season play, Alabama and LSU battled to a 6-6 tie in regulation and then the Fighting Tigers won the game with a field goal, 9-6, in overtime. That was the only loss of the year for Bama, now 11-1 and ranked second in the nation. LSU continued undefeated, 13-0, and is ranked first. The teams will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the BCS National Championship Game in the Louisiana Superdome. ESPN will televise the game.

Once again, Alabama has a slight statistical edge over the Tigers.

LSU, however, is the top team in the SEC in scoring offense, 38.5 points per game, while Alabama is third, 36. In scoring defense, Bama is first in the conference, allowing 8.8 points per game, and LSU is second, giving up 10.5. (Alabama is ranked first in the SEC and in the nation in all major defensive categories.)

In rushing, the Tide is first offensively, gaining 219.8 yards per game, and defensively, allowing 74.9 yards per game. The Tigers are second in both categories, rushing for 215.2 yards per game and holding opponents to 85.5.

Alabama is fourth in the league in passing offense, 213.6 yards per game, and LSU is ninth, 160.2 yards per game. Defensively, the Tide is first, allowing 116.3, and the Tigers are fourth, giving up 166.6 yards per game.

In pass efficiency, the Tigers are first and Bama fourth. In pass efficiency defense, Alabama is first, LSU third.

Bama is second in the league in total offense, averaging 433.4 yards per game, and LSU is fifth, 375.3 yards per game. Defensively, Alabama is first, allowing 191.2 yards per game, and LSU second, 252.1.

LSU has a big edge in turnover margin, one of the most important statistics according to coaches. The Tigers are plus 22, having recovered 12 fumbles and turned in 18 pass interceptions, given up only four fumbles and four interceptions. Alabama is a distant third in the league at plus six. Alabama has six fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions and has lost four fumbles and eight interceptions.

Third down situations have the Tide first in the league in conversions, 75-153 for 49 per cent, and in defense, allowing 43-172, 25 per cent. LSU is second offensively, 74-158 for 46.8 per cent. Defensively, the Tigers are fourth, allowing 68-195 for 34.9 per cent.

In the red zone, LSU is best in the league offensively, scoring 93.4 per cent of the time (57-61) with 44 touchdowns and 13-14 field goals. The Tide is second at 87.3 per cent (48-55) with 32 touchdowns and 16-19 field goals. Defensively, Bama is best, holding opponents to 58.8 per cent (10-17 with six touchdowns and 4-7 field goals). LS is 10th, allowing 20 scores in 23 opportunities (12 touchdowns and 8-8 field goals).

There are special teams areas where the Tigers have big advantages. LSU leads the league in net punting, 41.6 yards, while Bama is ninth, 36.4. In field goals, LSU has hit 16-18, Alabama only 18-29.

Individually, Alabama's Trent Richardson leads the SEC in rushing (131.9 yards per game), all purpose yards (164.7 yards per game), touchdowns (23), and scoring (11.5 points per game).

LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee leads the SEC in pass efficiency, but he is no longer a factor, having been benched after a miserable performance against Alabama in the regular season game. The quarterback who is actually playing with the best pass efficiency rating in the SEC is Alabama's A.J. McCarron.

LSU's Tyrann Mathieu is tied with Joe Adams of Arkansas for top punt return man at 16.2 yards per runback with Bama's Marquis Maze third at 12.4.

Maze leads the league in kickoff returns, 28.5 yards per runback.

LSU's Drew Alleman leads the conference in field goal accuracy, 16-18 for 88.9 per cent.

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