Statistics Tell Story Of Alabama Loss

Far down the list on the “Team Statistics” sheet distributed to reporters following football games is “Third Down Conversions.” It was one of the most startling lines on a sheet full of difficult to believe numbers.

Although Alabama had a loss during the regular season and also had a couple of close calls, in most games Bama dominated statistically. Not so in the Crimson Tide’s 42-35 loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl Thursday night.

Particularly notable was Ohio State converting on 10-18 third down opportunities, while Alabama was good on lnly 2-13.

That will get you beat.

The teams were fairly close in first downs, Ohio State with 23, Bama with 21. But the Buckeyes had 78 plays for 537 yards of total offense, the Tide 70 plays for 407.

Ohio State rushed for 281 yards, Bama only 170.

In passing, Ohio State completed 19-36 for 256 yards with one interception, Alabama’s Blake Sims 22-36 but for 237 yards and with three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by the Buckeyes. Ohio State did fumble twice and lose one and Bama did not fumble.

The game was relatively penalty free, the Buckeyes 4-24, the Tide 4-36.

Both teams had four Red Zone (between the 20 and the goalline) opportunities and both scored four times, with Alabama getting all touchdowns, the Buckeyes getting two TDs and two field goals.

Time of possession was surprisingly close with Ohio State having less than a three-minute advantage, 31:19 to 28:41.

The highlight statistically for Alabama was the punting of freshman JK Scott, who punted seven times for a 55-yard average with five of his punts over 50 yards and five of them finishing inside the 20, four of those inside the 10. He had a long punt of 73 yards.

It was obvious that T.J. Yeldon was not at full strength. The junior tailback had been held out of practice recently and had only 10 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown. Soph Derrick Henry started the game and had 13 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown.

All-America wide receiver Amari Cooper had nine receptions for 71 yards, his long reception for 15 yards. He had two touchdown catches. DeAndrew White had three receptions for 65 yards and Henry two for 54.

Ohio State was led in rushing by Elliott Ezekiel, who rushed 20 times for 230 yards with two touchdowns. Cardale Jones completed 18-35 passes for 243 yards. Michael Thomas was top receiver for the Buckeyes with 7-66.

Junior safety Landon Collins recorded 12 tackles in the game to tie his career-high that was set against Southern Miss earlier this season. Collins has recorded seven or more tackles in 11 of the last 15 games. He also had a fumble recovery that led to a touchdown. Eddie Jackson caused the fumble.

Reggie Ragland had seven tackles, two for loss. Nick Perry, Trey DePriest, and Geno Smith had six each. Xavier Dickson had five tackles and a sack. Denzel Devally and D.J. Pettway also had sacks.

Cyrus Jones had four pass break-ups and an interception he returned 32 yards to set up a touchdown.

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