Bama Wants To Run, State Pass

This week’s statistical comparison looks eerily like last week’s when Alabama seemed to be pitting strength against LSU strength. But while last week it was the running game, this week it’s the passing game.

Alabama (8-1 overall, 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play) is at Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2) Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. CST kickoff. CBS will televise the game.

Alabama proved to be much better on run defense than LSU was at rushing last week as the Tide took a 30-16 victory.

In the comparison that matters most, scoring, the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are very close. Mississippi State ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring at 34.7 points per game with Bama sixth at 33.1. On defense, Alabama is third in the league, allowing 16.3 points per game, while the Bulldogs are fourth, giving up 17.2.

Alabama is statistically the best rushing and rushing defense team in this game. Bama is fourth in rushing, 195.3 yards per game, while State is 11th, 147.1. On defense, the Tide is first, giving up only 75.8 yards per game, while the Bulldogs are 10th, allowing 167.7.

With outstanding quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State is second in the league in passing at 296.3 yards per game. Bama is seventh, 227.9. On defense, Alabama is fifth, giving up 189.6, and the Bulldogs are sixth, allowing 201.7. State is second and the Tide seventh in passing efficiency, while Alabama is first and MSU fourth in pass defense efficiency.

State is third in total offense, 443.4 yards per game, Bama fifth, 423.2. The Tide is first in total defense, giving up 265.3 yards per game, Mississippi State seventh, allowing 369.3.

The Bulldogs have the advantage in third down efficiency, converting 44-110 for 40 per cent for seventh in the league, Bama 11th on 45-128 for 35.2 per cent. On defense, Alabama is fourth by holding opponents to 44-142 for 31 per cent, State sixth on 46-143 for 32.2 per cent.

Alabama is at plus 3 in turnover margin (18 takeaways on 5 fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions, 15 turnovers on 6 lost fumbles and 9 interceptions) and State is at plus 1 (11 takeaways on one fumble recovery and 10 interceptions, 10 turnovers on 9 fumble recoveries, 1 interception).

In the Red Zone (inside the 20-yard line), State is fourth on offense, converting 36 trips into 32 scores (88.9 per cent) with 27 touchdowns, 5-6 field goals. Alabama is sixth on 35-41 (85.4 per cent) with 24 TDs and 11-13 field goals. On defense in the Red Zone, MSU is fifth, allowing 24-31 (77.4 per cent) on 10 TDs and 14-15 FGs. The Tide is 11th on 16-19 (84.2 per cent), 10 touchdowns, 6-8 field goals.

Mississippi State is the SEC’s least-penalized team, 36.8 yards per game, and Alabama is the league’s most-penalized team, 63.9 yards per game.

Alabama leads the SEC in sacks with 29 for 170 yards, while the Bulldogs are fifth with 25 for 182 yards. State has been sacked only 13 times, fourth in the SEC, and Bama is tied for sixth, allowing 16.

Bama is second in the conference in time of possession, 34:02 per game, and the Mississippi State is last, 24:45.

In individual statistics, Alabama’s Eddie Jackson is tied for the lead in interceptions with 5 and Derrick Henry is second in the conference (all to Leonard Fournette of LSU) in rushing, scoring, touchdowns scored, and all-purpose yardage. For State, quarterback Dak Prescott is second in the league in total offense.

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