Defense, Defense!

Alabama is the only Division I football team to rank in the top 10 in all five major statistical categories–rushing defense, passing defense, total defense, scoring defesne, aqnd pass efficiency defense. It's the highlight of Bama's rank in national and Southeastern Conference statistics.

Alabama is the only Division I football team in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both rushing defense and passing defense.

Miami, UConn and Texas rank in the top ten in four of the five top defensive statistical categories and Ohio State and Virginia Tech rank in three of the five.

Alabama's two rushing touchdowns allowed this year is second in the nation to Kansas, which has allowed only one. Alabama has allowed only eight touchdowns all year, which is third nationally behind Miami (6) and Virginia Tech (7, not counting last night against Boston College). And, not surprising, Bama is third in the nation in scoring defense behind Virginia Tech and Miami.

Alabama has not allowed a touchdown by an opponent in the last 12 trips by opponents into the Bama Red Zone (inside the 20). Bama has allowed only one touchdown in the past three games, and did not allow touchdowns to either Florida or Tennessee.

The Crimson Tide defense has made great strides under Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines. After allowing a school record 333 points in 13 games in the 2003 season, Coach Mike Shula's first as head coach and Kines' first as defensive coordinator under Shula, Bama rebounded last year to be one of the nation's top defensive teams, allowing just 190 points in 12 games and ranking seventh in the nation.

This year Alabama is allowing 10.1 points per game, best in the SEC and third in the nation.

Alabama is allowing 95.4 yards per game rushing, which is second in the league and 10th nationally; allowing 160 yards per game passing, also second in the conference and eighth in the nation; and 255.4 yards total offensive per game, which is best in the SEC and fourtyh in the nation. The Tide also ranks first in the conference and sixth in the nation in pass defense efficiency.

In other defensive statistics, Alabama is first in the SEC in allowing first downs, having given up only 90 in seven games (35 rushing, 49 passing, six by penalty); first in red zone defense, having held opponents to 56.2 per cent success on nine of 16 chances (one rushing touchdown, thre passing touchdowns, and five of seven field goals); and tied for first in third down conversions allowed at 28.3 per cent (28 of 99). Offensively, Alabama is seventh in the conference and 79th nationally in scoring at 23.9 points per game.

Bama is fifth in the league and 52nd in the nation in rushing, 149.7 yards per game; sixth in the conference and 56th nationally in passing, 225.1 yards per game; seventh in the SEC and 59th in the nation in total offense, 374.9 yards per game; and third in the league, 22nd nationally in passing efficiency.

Alabama is sixth in first downs with 132 (62 rushing, 61 passing, nine by penalty) and fourth in third down conversions (40-101, 39.6 per cent).

The Tide is seventh in sacks (17 for 109 yards) and seventh in sacks allowed (17 for 103 yards).

Alabama is third in the SEC and 22nd in the nation in turnover margin with plus six. Bama has 14 takeaways (seven fumble recoveries, seven interceptions) and eight turnovers (six fumbles lost, two passes intercepted).

Alabama is now second in the league in time of possession, averaging 32:35 per game. Vanderbilt averages ball control of one more second per game.

In individual statistics, Kenneth Darby is third in the SEC and 25th in the nation in rushing at 99.9 yards per game; Brodie Croyle is third in the league and 27th nationally in passing efficiency and sixth in passing yardage at 219.3 yards per game; in receiving yards per game, Keith Brown is seventh at 55.1 and D.J. Hall eighth at 54.3.

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