Statistically speaking, Bama vs. LSU

Comparative statistics, like comparative scores, don't really mean much, but it is interesting to see how teams stack up statistically late in the season. Alabama, 3-4, and LSU, 4-3, teams which meet at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa (CBS-TV), are both members of the Southeastern Conference, but have only two common opponents between them.

Both teams are 2-3 in SEC games, with both having lost to those common opponents. LSU lost to Tennessee on the road, 26-18, while Bama lost to the Vols at home, 35-24. Alabama lost to Ole Miss on the road, 27-24, while LSU was a victim of the Rebels in Baton Rouge, 35-24.

Alabama is averaging 28.6 points per game, which if fourth in the SEC and 38th in the nation. LSU allows 23.0 points per game, eighth in the SEC and 10th nationally. The Tigers are averaging 29.6 points per game, third in the league and 24th in the nation, while Bama's defense allows 20.7 points, tied for sixth in the conference and 31st in the nation.

Bama averages 219.9 yards per game rushing, leading the SEC and 14th in the nation. LSU allows 105.1 yards per game, third in the league and 17th nationally. The Tigers average 161.6 yards per game rushing, fifth in the SEC and 51st in the nation, while Bama allows 130.0 yards per game rushing, sixth in the league and 39th nationwide.

Alabama passes for 186.6 yards per game, 10th in the SEC and 79th in the nation, while LSU is ninth in the league and 78th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. LSU averages 282.7 yards per game passing, which is third in the SEC and 16th nationally. Alabama ranks seventh in the conference and 65th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. In raw yardage on defense, Alabama is eight in the SEC and 78th in the nation, allowing 227.6 yards per game, while LSU is last in the league and the nation (115th), allowing 310.6 yards per game. In a related statistic, Bama is second in the SEC in sacks with 17 for 123 yards and LSU is tenth with 9 for 44 yards. Both teams have been sacked 15 times, Bama for 76 lost yards, LSU for 120.

Alabama's total offense per game is 408.4 yards, fifth in the SEC and 39th nationally. LSU allows 415.7 yards per game, which is 10th in the league and 88th in the country. LSU averages 444.3 yards per game, third in the SEC and 16th in the nation, while Bama's defense ranks eight in the SEC and 52nd nationally, allowing 357.6 yards per game.

LSU has a slight advantage in two statistics many coaches believe are the most important.

In turnover margin, LSU is second in the SEC and 27th in the nation at plus four and just over a half takeaway per game. The Bengal Tigers have recovered five fumbles and turned in 13 interceptions for 18 takeaways and lost eight fumbles and six interceptions for 14 turnovers. Alabama fourth in the league and tied for 38th in the nation at plus two, just over one quarter takeaway per game. Bama has recovered eight fumbles and turned in three interceptions for 11 takeaways and suffered six lost fumbles and three interceptions for nine turnovers.

In third down conversions, LSU is first in the league having made 50 of 101 attempts, 49.5 per cent. Alabama is sixth in the league, 38 of 96 for 39.6 per cent. Alabama is slightly better on defense on third downs (sixth in the SEC) with opponents having converted 34 of 99 for 34.3 per cent, while LSU (seventh in the league) has allowed its opponents to make 42 of 108, 38.9 per cent.

As for some other statistics:

LSU has a slight advantage in net punting, picking up 39.4 yards per kick to rank fourth in the SEC and 22nd in the nation to Alabama's 37.0, eighth in the league, 39th nationally. The Tigers are second in the league and 12th nationally in punt returns, averaging 13.7 yards on 10 returns. Alabama is 11th in the SEC and 108th nationally, 18 returns averaging only 4.7 yards each. Bama is fourth in the league and 30th nationally in kickoff returns, 22.6 yards per return, while LSU is sixth in the SEC and 41st nationally, 21.6. LSU leads the league in kickoff coverage, allowing only 14.6 yards per return on 32 runbacks, while Bama is fifth, allowing 20.9 yards per return on 29 runbacks.

LSU is sixth in the SEC in first downs with 144 (55 rushing, 83 passing, six by penalty), while Alabama is tied for seventh in the league with 130 (74 rushing, 50 passing and six by penalty). Bama has held its opponents to 123 first downs (51 rushing, 62 passing, 10 by penalty), which ranks sixth in the league, while LSU is ninth in the SEC having allowed 150 first downs (44 rushing, 96 passing and 10 penalty).

LSU ranks fifth in the SEC in penalties, having been flagged 47 times for an average of 58.9 yards per game, while Bama is eighth in the conference, 61 penalties and an average of 61.7 yards per game. (Alabama opponents have been penalized the least of any conference team, only 38 times for 41.6 yards per game, but LSU is close with its opponents having been penalized 43 times for only 42.4 yards per game.)

Alabama is third in field goal kicking, 11 of 14, while LSU is ninth, eight of 13. Bama is first in extra point kicking, 23 of 23, while LSU has made 23 of 25 and ranks ninth.

Alabama has a minimal advantage in time of possession, 30:25 per game to LSU's 30:13, the teams ranking fifth and sixth.

In the Red Zone, Alabama has been the most efficient team in the league, scoring 26 of 28 times, 92.9 per cent. Bama has 16 touchdowns (12 rushing, four passing) and has made 10 of 11 field goal attempts. LSU is second in the league in the Red Zone, having converted 23 of 26 opportunities for 88.5 per cent. The Tigers have 24 touchdowns (eight rushing and six passing) and have made seven of eight field goals. On defense in the Red Zone, LSU ranks fourth in the league, allowing scores 18 of 26 possessions, six touchdowns (four rushing, two passing), and three of four field goals for 69.2 per cent. LSU has made four interceptions in the Red Zone. Alabama is fifth in the SEC in Red Zone defense, allowing scores 16 of 22 possessions, 11 touchdowns (eight rushing, three passing) and five of seven field goals, 72.7 per cent.

Think that must be all? No, no, no.

Alabama has had the ball for a total of 88 drives. The Tide has averaged 5.21 plays and 32.49 yards per drive with an average time of possession of 2:25. There have been 33 scoring drives which averaged 7.33 plays, 58.97 yards, and 3:02 time of possession. Alabama has had 10 scoring drives of less than two minutes and three of over four minutes. Alabama's 88 drives have resulted in 22 touchdowns, 11 field goals in 14 attempts, 34 punts, four missed fourth down conversion attempts, and the clock ran out either at halftime or the end of the game on five occasions. Alabama's 186 points have come at the rate of 2.11 points per drive, which is a drive efficiency of 37.50.

LSU has had the ball for 94 drives and has averaged 5.27 plays, 33.09 yards, and 2:15 time of possession. There have been 33 scoring drives averaging 7.06 plays, 58.55 yards and 2:43 time of possession. LSU has 14 scoring drives under two minutes, five over five minutes. Of its 94 drives, 25 have resulted in touchdowns, there have been eight field goals in 13 attempts, 31 punts, three failures on fourth down conversion attempts, and the clock ran out nine times. LSU's 198 points have come at the same 2.11 points per drive as Bama and LSU has a drive efficiency of 35.11.

As for individual rankings:

LSU's LaBrandon Toefield is fifth in the league and 62nd in the nation in rushing at 75.0 yards per game, while Bama's Ahmaad Galloway is seventh in the SEC and 66th in the nation at 73.1 yards per game and Tyler Watts is eighth in the conference and 84th nationally at 67.1.

LSU's Rohan Davey is the league's fourth best passer and 46th in the nation averaging 259.0 yards per game, while Watts is eighth in the SEC and 83rd nationally, 163.4 yards per game.

Josh Reed of LSU is second in the SEC and 22nd in the nation with 6.43 receptions per game and first in the SEC and third nationally with 128.3 yards per game receiving. Michael Clayton of LSU is 10th in the league and 92nd nationally with 57.3 yards per game. No Alabama players are ranked in pass receiving.

Reed is second in the SEC and 26th in the nation in all-purpose yards (139.0 per game), while Bama's Freddie Milons is seventh in the SEC and 51st in the nation (114.7).

In interceptions, Damien James of LSU leads the SEC with five, while teammate Erin Damond is tied for second with three. No Alabama player has more than one and Alabama as a team has only three.

Domanick Davis of LSU leads the SEC in punt returns, averaging 18.5 yards per return. The Tide's Antonio Carter is not ranked. In kickoff returns, Milons is seventh in the SEC and 46th nationally with 23.4 yards per return, and no LSU player is in the top ten in the league.

LSU's Donnie Jones is fourth in the conference and 42nd nationally in punting, 43.1 yards per kick, while Alabama's Lane Bearden is eighth in the league and 52nd nationally, 40.9.

Toefield is the league's leading scorer, 8.6 points per game, which is tied for 20th in the nation, and LSU placekicker John Corbello is 10th in the SEC and 71st in the nation at 6.7 points per game. In between them is Alabama placekicker Neal Thomas, who is fourth in the league and tied for 33rd in the nation with 8.0 points per game.


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