It is hard to overlook some impressive statistics by Oklahoma State, Alabama's Thursday opponent in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. The Cowboys have high point production from a balanced offense.

Alabama's defense will have its work cut out for it when the Crimson Tide takes on Oklahoma State in the ESPN telecast beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Cowboys have a couple of bad losses (to Houston and Kansas State), though none as bad as Bama's loss to Mississippi State. Against bowl teams, Alabama was 1-5, defeating Hawaii and losing to Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn.

Oklahoma State had a win over Nebraska (which is not the Nebraska of old), and routs of weak sisters Missouri State, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, and Baylor. But the Cowboys' most impressive games were not its wins. Oklahoma State had narrow losses at the hands of Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma.

Both teams had 6-6 records.

Oklahoma State does it primarily with offense, while Bama relies on its defense.

The Cowboys scored 424 points, 35.3 points per game, compared to Alabama scoring 267 points, 22.2 per game. OSU gave up 302 points, 25.2 per game, while Bama allowed only 216 points, 18.0 per game.

Oklahoma State had 247 first downs (128 rushing, 109 passing, 10 by penalty), while Bama had 229 (91-117-21). The Cowboys allowed 238 first downs (100, 119, 19), compared to the Tide giving up 173 (76, 88, 9).

The option offense of OSU averaged 208.1 yards per game rushing and 200.9 yards per game passing, for total offense of 409 yards per game. Alabama's offense averaged 124.3 yards per game rushing, 216.6 passing, and 340.9 total.

The Cowboys allowed 149.9 yards per game rushing, 221.5 passing, and 371.4 total. Bama's defense held opponents to 117.8 rushing, 169.8 passing, and 287.6 total.

Oklahoma State turned in 35 sacks, good for 242 yards in losses, and allowed only 17 for 114. Bama had 12 sacks for 94 yards in losses and allowed 26 for 196 yards.

Oklahoma State gave up 10 interceptions and turned in nine. The Cowboys lost 9 of 20 fumbles and recovered 14 of opponents 23 fumbles. That's 19 turnovers and 23 takeaways, plus five. Alabama suffered nine interceptions and turned in 15. Bama lose eight of 16 fumbles and recovered 10 ot the Tide's opponents' 19. That's 17 turnovers, 25 takeaways, plus eight.

On third down plays, Oklahoma State converted 69 of 154, 45 per cent, and allowed 58 of 163, 36 per cent. Bama converted 68 of 169, 40 per cent, and allowed 49 of 148, 33 per cent.

In the Red Zone, Oklahoma State scored 37 of 45 trips, 82 per cent, and scored touchdowns 31 times, 69 per cent. Alabama scored 36 of 49 times, 73 per cent, but only 17 touchdowns, 35 per cent. The Cowboys allowed 36 of 40 scores, 90 per cent, including 23 touchdowns, 57 per cent. Bama allowed 24 of 31 scores, 77 per cent, including 17 touchdowns, 55 per cent.

Alabama had 781 offensive plays and averaged 32:13 time of possession. Oklahoma State had 772 offensive plays and averaged 28:57.

Oklahoma State had an advantage of about six yards per play in punting yards, punt return yards, and kickoff return yards, but Bama is a tad better at covering punts and kickoffs. Both teams are penalized just a little over 40 yards per game.

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