Stuart McNair

Alabama has done better statistically than LSU this season

On both offense and defense, Alabama has advantage over LSU statistically

With the college football season two-thirds of the way along (Alabama having played eight games, but LSU only seven because of its scheduled Florida game having been moved to Nov. 19 because of Hurricane Matthew), the cumulative statistics may have a bit more bearing than earlier in the year.

That doesn’t mean the teams are the same as they were even a game back, particularly with LSU having shown obvious improvement since Les Miles was fired as head coach after a 2-2 start to the season. The Tigers have gone 3-0 since Ed Orgeron was elevated to head coach. LSU is 3-1 in Southeastern Conference games and ranked 13th in the initial College Football Playoff poll.

Alabama is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in SEC games.

Both teams were open last week. They will meet at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. CBS will televise the game.

Here’s how the teams match up statistically:

Bama leads the SEC in scoring at 43.9 points per game with the Tigers eighth at 29.9 ppg. Defensively, the Tide is second, allowing 14.9 ppg, just ahead of No. 3 LSU at 15 ppg.

In rushing offense, Alabama is second in the league at 264.8 yards per game, LSU (which was without Leonard Fournette for several games) is fourth at 239.9. Bama leads the league in rushing defense, allowing just 70.1 ypg, and LSU is second, giving up 104.1.

The Crimson Tide is fifth in the conference in passing offense at 233.2 yards per game, the Tigers 12th at 183.9. On defense, Alabama is third in the league, allowing 204.4 ypg, LSU sixth giving up 209.7. Alabama is third and LSU ninth in passing efficiency, Bama third and the Tigers fourth in pass defense efficiency.

Bama is third in total offense, 498 ypg, LSU seventh, 423.7. In total defense, Alabama is second, giving up 274.5, and LSU third, allowing 313.9.

Alabama is second in the SEC in converting third down opportunities, 54-110 for 49.1 per cent, LSU fourth at 35-81 for 43.2 per cent. On defense on third downs, the Tide is second, allowing 38-127 for 29.9 per cent, the Tigers fourth, 36-113 for 31.9 per cent.

Bama is fifth in turnover margin with 8 fumble recoveries and 8 interceptions for 16 takeaways and 7 fumbles lost and 5 passes intercepted for 12 turnovers, a total of plus 4. LSU is 12th with 4 fumble recoveries and 6 interceptions, 10 takeaways, against 6 fumbles lost and 5 interceptions, 11 turnovers, minus 1.

In Red Zone (inside the 20) offense, the Tide is sixth with 31 scores (23 touchdowns, 8-11 field goals) in 37 opportunities, 83.8 per cent. The Tigers are 10th with 16 scores (13 TDs, 3-4 field goals) in 20 opportunities for 80 per cent. On defense in the Red Zone, Alabama is eighth, allowing 13 scores (6 touchdowns, 7-7 extra points) in 16 trips, LSU 12th, giving up 18 scores (6 TDs, 12-12 FGs) in 20 opportunities, 90 per cent.

Bama is fourth in time of possession, 31:55, LSU eighth at 29:35.

LSU has been penalized 39 times for 331 yards (47.3 yards per game), Bama has been penalized 50 times for 396 yards (49.5 yards per game).

The Tide leads the league in sacks with 32 for 278 yards with LSU fourth at 20-119. The Tigers have been sacked only 11 times for 60 yards, while Bama has suffered 15 sacks for 95 yards in losses.

In the kicking game, Alabama leads LSU in kickoff returns, punt returns, and punting, while the Tigers have the edge in kickoff coverage.

Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick leads the league in interception return yardage with 114 on his three returns, including a 100-yard touchdown runback against Arkansas.

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