Comparison Of Tide, Tigers Statistically

Asked to compare Alabama and Auburn, one would point out that the state university is growing at a record pace with the best of students and continuing to produce leaders in the state and nation and is nationally known for its extraordinary football record. Meanwhile, the land grant college has a history of academic and athletic fraud and is the butt of jokes.

But that's the big picture. With Alabama about to face Auburn in the final regular season game of the season, how does the Crimson Tide match up statistically against the Tigers?

Bama will take on Auburn at 7 p.m. CST Saturday at Auburn with national television coverage by ESPN.

Both teams are 4-3 in Southeastern Conference play, but Auburn has a 7-4 overall record, Alabama a 6-5 mark. Auburn has a current five-game winning streak against Alabama.

Auburn had an open date last weekend, while the Tide was suffering what ranks with the most embarrassing losses in Alabama history, a 21-14 defeat at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe. The Tigers' last outing, two weeks ago, was a 45-20 loss to Georgia.

The SEC keeps all sorts of team and individual statistics, some more important than others. Although these statistics are based on the same number of games, schedules are not the same. Here's a look at how Alabama and Auburn compare after 11 games:

Scoring is basic to success. Alabama ranks seventh in the SEC in scoring at 28.4 points per game, while Auburn is ninth at 25 points per game. But the Tigers rank first in scoring defense, allowing 17.3 points per game, while Bama is fifth in scoring defense, giving up 22.3 points per game.

Alabama leads Auburn in rushing by a miniscule one yard per game. The Tide is seventh in the SEC at 154.2 yards per game, Auburn eighth at 153.2. On the defensive side, Auburn has a two yards per game advantage on Alabama, the Tigers fourth in the league allowing 118 yards per game, Bama fifth giving up 120.

Alabama leads Auburn in passing offense, the Tide fifth in the league at 231.8 yards per game, the Tigers ninth at 178.8 yards per game. Defensively, Auburn is fourth in the SEC, giving up just 185 yards per game, while the Tide is ninth, giving up 221.6 yards per contest.

Alabama has the edge in total offense, averaging 386 yards per game, which is sixth in the league. Auburn is 10th in the conference, producing 332 yards an outing. Defensively, Auburn is second in the SEC, allowing 305 yards per game, Auburn sixth, allowing 346.5.

After those basic offense-defense statistics, attention focuses on three areas—turnover margin, third down performance, and Red Zone efficiency.

Alabama had a horrible game last week from a turnover standpoint, losing four and getting zero takeaways, but the Tide still has a plus four turnover margin, ranking fourth in the SEC. Bama has five fumble recoveries and 16 pass interceptions for 21 takeaways and has lost seven fumbles and had 10 passes intercepted for 17 turnovers. Auburn is tied for sixth in turnover margin at plus one. The Tigers have 10 fumble recoveries and 13 pass interceptions for 23 takeaways and have suffered nine lost fumbles and 13 pass interceptions for 22 turnovers.

Neither team is particularly good on third downs. Alabama ranks ninth in third down conversions, successful on 65 of 169 opportunities for 38.5 per cent, while Auburn is 11th with 57 successes in 151 chances for 37.7 per cent. On defense, Auburn is eighth, giving up 64 conversions in 163 chances for 39.3 per cent, Bama 10th, giving up 70 of 174 for 40.2 per cent.

In the Red Zone, both teams have been poor offensively. Auburn is ninth with 83.3 per cent success, scoring 35 of 42 trips inside the opponents' 20. The Tigers have 25 touchdowns and 10 field goals. Alabama is 10th in the SEC at 81.2 per cent, scoring on 39 of 48 opportunities, 27 touchdowns and 12 field goals.

Auburn has been much better defensively with its back to its goal. The Tigers rank second in the SEC, allowing scores only 25 times in 34 opportunities (15 touchdowns and 10 field goals). Alabama is last. Opponents have scored 90.9 per cent of the time on reaching the Red Zone, allowing scores 30 times in 33 opportunities (22 touchdowns, eight field goals).

Bama is second in the SEC in first downs with 259 (102 rushing, 126 passing, 31 by penalty), Auburn 10th with 205 (93 rushing, 92 passing, 20 by penalty). Auburn is second in preventing first downs, allowing 180 (70 rushing, 91 passing, 19 by penalty), and Alabama is third, allowing 199 (87 rushing, 103 passing, nine by penalty).

It's a little surprising that Alabama ranks ahead of Auburn in sacks. Tide defenders rank sixth in the league with 21 for 148 yards, and Auburn is 10th with 17 for 142 yards. Both teams have allowed 22 sacks (seventh in the conference), Alabama giving up 135 yards, Auburn 157.

Alabama is the league's least penalized team, only 49 penalties for an average of 35.8 yards per game. Auburn is sixth, 71 penalties for an average of 49.5 yards per contest. Alabama is also first in the SEC in opponents being penalized, Tide foes being flagged 92 times for an average of 72.5 yards per game. Auburn is second in the category with its opponents being penalized 83 times for an average of 61.1 yards per game.

In time of possession, Auburn ranks third in the conference, 31:27, Bama sixth, 29:36.

Alabama has a few players who rank first in the SEC in individual statistics.

D.J. Hall is first in receiving yards per game. He has 60 catches for 918 yards, an average of 93.5 yards per game.

Safety Rashad Johnson is tied for first in the league in interceptions. He has six.

Leigh Tiffin is tied for the SEC lead in field goals. He has made 21 in 29 attempts.

Javier Arenas is not going to play this week because of injury, but he leads the league in punt return yards. He has run back 21 punts for 323 yards.

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