Final Look At 2011 SEC Football Stats

Statistics may be for losers, but no one on Alabama's winning side wants to forget about the extraordinary job the Crimson Tide did statistically, as well as on the field, in winning the national championship in 2011.

Going into the BCS National Championship Game, Alabama had the distinction of leading the nation in the five primary defensive statistical categories – rushing defense, pass defense, pass defense efficiency, total defense, and scoring defense. Following the Crimson Tide's 21-0 smothering of LSU to win the national championship, Bama had managed to improve its position in all those categories.

The Bama defense held the Tigers to 27 rushes for 39 yards, an average of 1.4 yards per carry. LSU completed only 11 of 17 passes for just 53 yards, and suffered one interception. Total offense for the Bayou Bengals was 44 plays for 92 yards. And, of course, LSU had no points.

Obviously, Alabama finished the season ranked first in the nation in all those categories.

In pass efficiency defense, the Tide was at 83.99. (South Carolina was second at 94.23, followed by LSU at 95.58.)

In pass defense, Alabama allowed 111.46 yards per game. South Carolina again was second in the nation, giving up 131.69.

In rushing defense, Bama allowed 72.15 yards per game. LSU was next best among SEC teams at fifth in the nation, giving up 90.07.

The Tide permitted total offense of 183.62 yards per game. Second in the nation was LSU, giving up 261.50 yards per game, a difference of 77.88 yards per game.

Alabama gave up 8.15 points per game. Again, LSU was second in the nation, allowing 11.29.

Those major defensive categories were not the only areas in which Alabama was outstanding, according to Southeastern Conference statistics. The Tide also led the SEC in rushing offense, picking up 214.5 yards per game, which ranked 16th in the nation. Bama was fourth in passing offense, 215.2 yards per game and fourth in the league, 35th in the nation in passing efficiency. Bama's total offense of 429.62 yards per game was second in the conference and 31st in the country – a country that included large areas outside the SEC where defense was near nonexistent.

Alabama was third in the SEC in scoring offense, 34.8 points per game, just behind Arkansas (36.8) and LSU (35.7).

The Tide was best in the SEC both in third down conversions and in defense against third down conversions. Bama made 78-167 chances, 46.7 per cent, and held opponents to 24.5 per cent, 45-184. Bama had great balance on first downs, 134 rushing, 135 passing, 11 by penalty, which was 280 and tops in the SEC at 21.5 per game. Alabama, of course, held opponents to the fewest first downs, 57 rush, 63 pass, 11 penalty, for 131, an average of 10.1 per game.

Alabama was second in the conference in turnover margin, albeit a distant second to LSU. The Tigers were plus 20 on the season, Bama plus eight. Alabama had seven fumble recoveries and 13 pass interceptions for 20 takeaways and four fumbles lost and eight interceptions for 12 turnovers.

LSU was also first in Red Zone offense, followed by Alabama in second. The Tide, however, settled for field goals more often than the Tigers. Bama scored on 51-58 Red Zone opportunities, 87.9 per cent, with 32 touchdowns (24 rush, eight pass) and 19-22 field goals.

The Tide was best in the league in Red Zone defense, holding opponents to just 10-17 for 58.8 per cent. Alabama gave up six touchdowns and 4-7 field goals.

Bama was fourth in the league in sacks with 30 for 198 yards. The Tide was best in the conference in preventing sacks, allowing only 17 for 97 yards.

Alabama was best in the SEC in the penalties department, flagged just 49 times for 369 yards, only 28.4 yards per game.

Georgia led the league in time of possession, 33:38 per game, with the Tide second at 32:47.

Alabama was third in the league in kickoff return average at 24.1 yards, fourth in punt return average at 13.0, ninth in net punting at 36.5 yards, 11th in kickoff coverage at 41.1 yards net gain, and eighth in field goal percentage at 63.9 per cent on 23-36.

Individually, Trent Richardson led the league in rushing with 283 carries for 1,679 yards, 5.9 yards per rush and 129.2 yards per game. Eddie Lacy was ninth in the conference with 95 carries for 674 yards, 7.1 per carry and 56.2 per game.

A.J. McCarron was third in the league in passing, 219-328-5 with 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns, an average of 202.6 yards per game. He was fourth in passing efficiency.

Marquis Maze was third in the league in receptions per game as he had 56 catches for 627 yards and one touchdown, 4.3 receptions per game and 48.2 yards per game.

McCarron was third in the league in total offense, 200.9 yards per game, and Richardson was ninth, 129.2.

Richardson was tops in the conference in all-purpose yards with 1,679 rushing, 338 on pass receptions, and 66 on kickoff returns for 2,083, an average of 160.2 per game. Maze was fourth with 627 receiving, minus 6 rushing, 436 on punt returns, 342 on kickoff returns for 1,399, an average of 107.6 yards per game.

Richardson led the league in scoring with 144 points on 24 touchdowns, 11.1 per game. Bama placekicker Jeremy Shelley was third in the conference in scoring at 8.8 per game. Shelley was second in the league in kick scoring.

Maze was third in the league in punt return average, 33 returns for 436 yards, 13.2 per game.

Cody Mandell was ninth in the SEC in punting, 39.3 yards per kick. Shelley was tied for second in field goals, 21-27.

Remember back to all those Alabama team defensive statistics? Here's why the emphasis is on "team."

Bama's leading tackler, Dont'a Hightower, ranked only 17th in the conference as he had 40 primary stops and 45 assists, an average of 6.5 per game. Courtney Upshaw was tied for fourth in the league in sacks with 9 primary and 1 assist. Upshaw was second in the SEC in tackles for loss with 17 primary and 2 assists.

Cornerbacks DeQuan Menzie and Demarcus Milliner ranked tied for sixth in the league in passes defended with 12 each (Menzie 11 deflections, one interception, Milliner 9 deflections, three intercepted). Ed Stinson was one of a number of SEC players ranking fifth in fumbles recovered with two.

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