Tthe Lighthouse staff is always up for new ideas to improve the site and improve the content for our ultra smart, savvy and sexy readers. So this week, by request, the Bama Lighthouse is proud to announce a weekly “By the Numbers” segment to help prep you guys for the upcoming opponent! We hope this segment will be a valuable tool for framing up the match-ups each week.
This week, Alabama travels down to Auburn to take on the Tigers. For those of you travelling (sorry Auburn fans but this is meant to be friendly banter) to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, please follow these simple directions to the stadium if you are travelling from north of Montgomery: Travel south until you smell it, then go east until you step in it. Then you are there – welcome to the Loveliest Pasture on the Plains!
We kid, we kid. So, anyway, back to the numbers. Here are the national rankings for each team’s offense, defense and special teams. First, we’ll start with the offensive rankings. Below, you’ll notice that Bama’s total offense, scoring offense and passing offense are much better than Auburn – no real surprise there. However, even with Derrick Henry’s Heisman march, Alabama is actually ranked one spot below Auburn in rushing offense. That was a little shocking. One other note – Auburn converts their third downs at a much, much higher percentage than Alabama does (Alabama is woeful here) yet their Time of Possession stats are horrific while the Tide nationally owns this category once again.
National Offense Rankings
|Scoring Offense||31||70||Bama 35.0 PPG, AU 28.5 PPG|
|Rushing Offense||32||31||Interesting that AU’s run game is better|
|Red Zone TD%||58%||62%|
|3rd Down Conversion||92||39||AU much better on converting 3rd downs|
|Time of Possession||17||97||Bama owns this category big time|
National Defense Rankings
To no one’s surprise, Alabama’s defense is infinitely better than Auburn’s defense when you compare the two. Frankly, when you look at how Auburn’s offense stacks up nationally as compared to their defense, the rankings for their defense are actually much, much worse. In particular, look below at Auburn’s defense on third down – not good.
|Defense Rankings||Bama infinitely better on defense – shocking, I know|
|Scoring Defense||3||71||Bama 14.5 PPG, AU 27.2 PPG|
|Rushing Defense||2||82||Derrick Henry is grinning right now|
|Red Zone TD%||48%||56%|
|3rd Down Defense||9||116||AU particularly awful on third down|
Special Teams Rankings
It’s interesting that while Alabama is VERY good at covering kickoffs, they are not so good at returning them. With all of the skill players on the Tide’s roster, you would think they could cobble together some better kickoff returns. Meanwhile, Auburn is fantastic at returning kickoffs but not so good at covering them. Something will have to give in this match-up on Saturday so each time Adam Griffith pounds a kickoff into the end zone, Bama fans should breathe a little easier.
|Special Teams Rankings|
|Kickoff Return D||18||64||Bama’s kick coverage will need to show up|
|Kickoff Returns||107||5||AU 5th in the country in KO returns|
|Punt Returns||13||67||Cyrus Jones says hello|
Finally, we’ll take a look at a couple of miscellaneous stats that typically prove to play a critical part in almost every game. It’s interesting to note here that Alabama is penalized far more often than the Auburn Tigers.
|Fewest Penaties (YPG)||83||23||Interesting that AU is committing fewer penalties|
Alabama is the superior team in 15 out of these 21 categories so it’s reasonable to expect a significant victory Saturday afternoon. The only cautionary tale these particular stats can offer up is the fact that Auburn’s running game (particularly with Jeremy Johnson at the helm) may challenge the Tide’s defense more than most expect. And Gus has a sneaky way of slipping a wide receiver out into the wide open pastures of Auburn so you just never know. But, according to the numbers above, that’s pretty unlikely to happen.