Looking At Tide Vs. LSU Statistically

Keeping in mind the "statistics are for losers" adage, over the years college football coaches have noted a handful of statistics that are important to winning and losing. Those include, obviously, scoring and scoring defense. But even before those, coaches seem to focus on three other areas.

Alabama and LSU will play at 2:30 p.m. CST in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge with CBS televising the game.. For the moment, the most important statistic for Alabama is the won-loss record, 9-0, which has put the Crimson Tide number one in the nation. LSU, the defending national champion, is 6-2 and ranked 15th. Bama is 5-0 in Southeastern Conference play and can win the SEC Western Division title with a win over LSU, which is 3-2 in conference games.

As for those scoring numbers, the teams are very close in putting up points. LSU is second in the SEC averaging 32.5 points per game and Alabama is right behind in third place at 32.2. In scoring defense, the Tide has a big advantage. Alabama is second in the league, allowing 12.2 points per game. LSU has scored at least 21 points in its last 30 games. But the Tigers give up a lot of points, too. Both Florida and Georgia put up over 50 points in defeating LSU. The Tigers rank 11th in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing 23.9 points per game.

Statistics that coaches say play a big part in winning and losing include:

Rushing and rushing defense; third down success, offensively and defensively; and the takeaway-turnover ratio.

Alabama leads the SEC in rushing offense at 205.3 yards per game, while LSU is fifth in rushing defense, allowing 105.8 yards per game. Alabama also leads the league in rushing defense, giving up just 65.6 yards per game, while LSU is third in rushing offense, 186.1 yards per contest.

On third downs, Alabama is second in the league in converting, making it on 51 of 116 opportunities for 44 per cent. LSU is sixth in the SEC in stopping third down conversions, allowing 32.1 per cent. The Tigers are fourth in making third downs, 43-103 for 41.7 per cent. Bama is first in defense on third downs, allowing just 25.2 success.

In turnover margin, Alabama is fourth in the league at plus four and LSU is ninth in the conference at minus five. Bama has five fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions, a total of 16 takeaways, and has lost seven fumbles and five interceptions, 12 turnovers. LSU has four interceptions and four fumble recoveries, eight takeaways, and has lost two fumbles (least in the league) and suffered 11 interceptions for 13 turnovers.

LSU has the better passing game. The Tigers are fourth in the SEC, averaging 216.4 yards per game. Alabama is only seventh in the league in pass defense, giving up 185.9 yards per game. The Tide is 11th in passing offense, 163.7 yards per game, and LSU is eighth in pass defense, allowing 191.5 yards per game.

Of some comfort to Alabama in passing statistics, in passing efficiency LSU is third and Alabama fourth, and in passing efficiency defense Bama is fourth and the Tigers ninth.

LSU has better overall offense, ranking third in the league at 402.5 yards per game to Alabama's sixth, 369 yards per game. On defense, it's Alabama with the advantage. Bama's overall defense is second in the SEC, allowing 251.4 yards per game, while LSU is sixth, giving up 297.2 yards per game.

In the Red Zone, LSU is third on offense, scoring 26 of 29 trips, 89.7 per cent (22 touchdowns, 4-4 field goals). Alabama is seventh in the Red Zone, scoring 30-37 times, 81.1 per cent (21 touchdowns, 9-12 field goals). On defense in the Red Zone, Alabama is sixth, allowing 12 scores in 15 trips (both lowest numbers in the league), 80 per cent (6 touchdowns, 6-8 field goals). LSU is last in the conference in Red Zone defense, allowing 90.5 per cent scores, 19-21 (12 touchdowns, 7-8 field goals).

Alabama is second only to Vanderbilt in being penalized, the Tide flagged for an average of 38 yards per game. LSU is seventh with 51.4 yards per game in penalties.

A statistic that sometimes means a lot and sometimes means nothing is time of possession. Alabama is first in the SEC, keeping the ball an average of 32:31. LSU is fifth, 30:20.

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