Alabama Vs. A&M Classic Example Of O Vs. D

Offense vs. Defense. That always is what it’s all about, and the distinction could not be more clear than the game that will be played Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama, the top defensive team in the Southeastern Conference, will host Texas A&M, the number one offensive team in the league, at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday. CBS will televise the game. The Crimson Tide is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in SEC games. A&M is 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the conference.

For those who think scoring and scoring defense are the most important statistics, it’s not quite No. 1 vs. No. 1. But for those who think a statistical comparison halfway through the season is more than just a matter of interest...

Texas A&M is tops in scoring at 43.9 points per game, while the Crimson Tide is only second in scoring defense, giving up 15.3. The Tide is 10th in scoring, 33.2 ppg, while tthe Aggies are 10th in scoring defense, 22.6.

Alabama is fifth in rushing at 211.3 yards per game, A&M 10th at 168.9. In rushing defense, Bama is leading the league, allowing only 68.6, while the Aggies are 11th, giving up 174.9.

In passing offense, Texas A&M is tops with 396 yards per game, Alabama a surprising third at 288.7, over 100 yards per game behind the Aggies. On defense, the Tide is sixth in the league, giving up 208.3, A&M eighth, allowing 222.1.

Surprisingly perhaps, the Tide leads the league in passing efficiency and is sixth in pass defense efficiency. A&M is fourth in efficiency, 10th in defense efficiency.

Total offense and defense are as expected:

Texas A&M is first in the league in total offense with 564.9 yards per game and Alabama is first in total defense giving up 277.2 yards per game. Bama is third in total offense, an even 500 yards per game average, while the Aggies are 11th in total defense, allowing 397 yards per outing.

The teams are relatively even in kicking game statistics. Alabama leads the league in punting with freshman J.K. Scott providing a net punting gain of 43.1 yards. A&M is third at 41.5.

On third down plays, Bama is second in the league with 44-85 successful conversions for 51.8 per cent. A&M is fourth with 46-98 for 46.9 per cent. On defense, Alabama is sixth, allowing 27-83 for 32.5 per cent and Texas A&M is eighth giving up 35-104 for 33.7 per cent.

Neither team is very good in the critical area of turnover margin. Alabama has eight takeaways (five fumble recoveries and three interceptions) and 11 turnovers (eight lost fumbles and three interceptions) for minus three, which is tied for 11th in the league. The Aggies are tied with Vanderbilt for last in the SEC at minus 6 – four fumble recoveries and two interceptions, but three lost fumbles and nine passes intercepted.

Texas A&M is fourth in the conference in Red Zone offense scoring on 30 of 33 chances inside the opponent 20 for 92.6 per cent with 26 touchdowns and a perfect 4-5 on field goals. Alabama is 11th at 23-28 with 18 touchdowns and 5-6 field goals for 82.1 per cent. On defense in the Red Zone, Bama is sixth, allowing 10-12 scores (5 TDs, 5-6 FGs) for 83.3 per cent. The Aggies are tied for 10th, allowing 15-17 for 88.2 per cent with 11 TDs and 4-5 FGs.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban thinks time of possession can be important against a hurry up team, which A&M is. This year the Tide is second in the league, having the ball for an average of 33:13, while A&M (which wouldn’t consider it important) is 13th at 27:03.

In addition to Scott as the league’s top punter, Amari Cooper continues to be tops in the SEC in receptions per game and yards receiving per game. He has 54 catches for 768 yards. A&M quarterback Kenny Hill leads the league in passing and total offense.

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