Tide Defense Vs. Offense Of A&M

Alabama had a very difficult game against LSU last week and as a result has seen its statistical rank drop a bit. Meanwhile, Texas A&M is coming off an easy victory over Mississippi State and is the first team this year to have a substantial advantage over Alabama in major statistics.

Although Alabama had a close call in Baton Rouge, the Crimson Tide is 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference games and ranked first in the nation. Texas A&M improved to 7-2 overall and at 4-2 in the conference ranks second to Bama in the SEC Western Division. A&M ranks 14th in one poll, 15th in another.

Alabama hosts the Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday. CBS will televise the game.

Andres Cantor, the soccer announcer with the extraordinarily long, loud calls of "Goallllll!", would likely lose his voice if he was the broadcaster of Texas A&M games.

The Aggies are averaging 44.7 points per game, almost a touchdown per game more than Bama, which is second in the league at 38.4 points per game. Alabama leads the league and the nation in scoring defense, permitting just 9.1 points per game. A&M is eighth in the SEC in scoring defense, surrendering 21 points per game.

It will be Texas A&M's best in the conference rushing against Alabama's tops in the SEC rushing defense. The Aggies average 251.3 yards per game on the ground. Bama is second in the conference in rushing offense, 209 yards per game. The Tide is first in rushing defense, allowing only 66.3 yards per contest. A&M gives up 132.1 yards per game, sixth in the league.

Texas A&M is also a force passing, second in the SEC at 308.2 yards per game. Alabama is eighth in the league in passing yardage, 215.7 yards per game. On defense, Bama is third in the league, allowing 162.6 yards per game. The Aggies are 12th in pass defense, giving up 245 yards per game. In passing efficiency, Alabama is first and Texas A&M fifth, while in pass defense efficiency the Tide is third and the Aggies seventh.

In total offense, there are no surprises. A&M is a runaway first, averaging 559.6 yards per game. The Tide is fifth at 424.7 yards per game. (An interesting note is that Texas A&M has run 732 plays, Bama 567.) Alabama is first in total defense, giving up 228.9 yards per game. The Aggies rank eighth, surrendering 377.1 yards per game.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban complained following the Tide's win over LSU that Bama couldn't convert third down plays into first downs and couldn't stop LSU from converting on third down plays. That will be important this week. Texas A&M leads the league in converting on third downs, making 76-140, an incredible 54.3 per cent. The Tide is fourth at 44-104 for 42.3 per cent. The Aggies also get it done on defense, leading the SEC by allowing 38-140, just 27.1 per cent, while Bama is fifth, permitting 38-129 for 29.5 per cent.

Alabama continues to be very good in two statistics considered very important – turnover margin and Red Zone (inside the 20 yard line) performance.

Alabama continues to lead the league in turnover margin at plus 15. Bama has 9 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions and has given up 8 fumbles. Texas A&M is at minus 7, which is 12th in the SEC. The Aggies have 1 fumble recovery and 7 interceptions and have lost 8 fumbles and 7 interceptions.

In the Red Zone, Alabama continues first in the league both offensively and defensively. The Tide has scored 36 times (28 touchdowns, 8 field goals) on 38 trips inside the opponent 20 for 94.7 per cent. Texas A&M is fourth in the league, scoring 40 (32 TDs, 8 FGs) on 47 trips for 85.1 per cent. The Tide has allowed just 17 trips inside its 20 and given up only 10 scores (8 touchdowns, 2 field goals) for 58.8 per cent. Texas A&M is sixth in Red Zone defense, permitting 21 scores (16 touchdowns, 5 field goals) on 28 opportunities, 75 per cent.

Alabama continues as one of the least penalized teams, third in the league on 39 penalties for 36.8 yards per game. A&M ranks 12th, 60 penalties and an average of 63 yards per game.

Everyone is aware of Texas A&M's fabulous freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, who leads the SEC in rushing at 102.4 yards per game. Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron, on the other hand, is tops in the league in pass efficiency. Manziel is also first in the league in total offense at 383.2 yards per game and scoring (10 points per game).

The Aggies fine rush end, Damontre Moore, leads the league in sacks with 11 1/2. Bama's Dee Milliner is the top pass defender statistically with two interceptions and 13 break-ups.

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