Tide Efficient Both On Offense, Defense

Dee Milliner

When you get the football, what are you ordinarily trying to do with it? When the other teams gets the football, what are you always trying to prevent it from doing? If you are thinking points, you are using the old noggin.



Thus far this season Alabama has started 72 drives. From those, Bama has 28 touchdowns, 11-13 field goals, 19 punts, two stopped on downs, and seven times the clock has run out at either halftime or the end of the game. That works out to 3.18 points per drive, which is best in the Southeastern Conference. It is also 54.2 per cent scoring efficiency, first in the league, and 38.9 per cent touchdown efficiency, second to Texas A&M (40.2 per cent).

When Alabama opponents have started drives, also 72 times, the results have been five touchdowns, 1-3 field goals, 40 punts, four loss of downs, 17 turnovers, and three times the clock running out at half or game's end. That's .53 points per drive, far and away best in the SEC, with 8.3 per cent scoring efficiency and 6.9 per cent touchdown efficiency, also both best in the conference.

That's an important reason that Alabama is 6-0 this season and 3-0 in SEC games and ranked number one in the nation. The Crimson Tide will take its record, gaudy statistics included, to Knoxville Saturday to take on the Tennessee Vols, 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the conference. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time) with television coverage by ESPN.

The Vols do pretty well in those efficiency charts on offense, scoring 2.55 points per possession on 84 drives, but not so well on defense, allowing 2.04 points on 89 drives.

Alabama is averaging 40.5 points per game, which is third in the SEC, while Tennessee is right behind in fourth at 38 points per game. But in stopping points, Alabama is first in the SEC (and in the nation) in permitting 7.5 points per game, while the Volunteers are allowing 31.5 points per game, 13th in the 14-team league.

Incidentally, Alabama is going to dominate in most defensive categories. The Crimson Tide leads the nation in rushing defense, passing defense, pass defense efficiency, total defense, in addition to scoring defense. Bama is also first in turnover margin, which is a function of both offense and defense.

A big improvement for Tennessee this year is the improvement the Vols have made in rushing offense. Alabama is fourth in the league at 217.2 yards per game and Tennessee is seventh at 183.3 yards per game. Bama's defense gives up just 55.3 yards per game, while the Vols allow 178.7 rushing yards per game, which is 11th in the conference.

Tennessee has completed 135 of 225 passes for an average of 299 yards per game (with eight interceptions) to rank third in the SEC in passing yardage, while the Tide is ninth in passing offense, having completed 94-138 (zero interceptions) for an average of 205.8 yards per game.

Alabama allows only 125.8 yards per game passing. Tennessee is 12th in pass defense, giving up 251 yards per game.

Tennessee is third in the league in total offense, 482.3 yards per game, and Bama is sixth, 423. In total defense, Alabama gives up 181.2 yards, and the Vols are 13th in the SEC allowing 429.7.

Third down efficiency is a biggie with coaches. Alabama is fourth in the league in converting third downs, 33-72 for 45.8 per cent, and UT is just behind in fifth with 39-89 for 43.8 per cent.

On defense, Bama is best in the SEC allowing 22-83 for 26.6 per cent and Tennessee is fifth, allowing 28-88 for 31.8 per cent.

Alabama is third in the league in sacks with 19, but Tennbessee is first in prevent sacks, only three. the Vols are last in sacks with 8, Bama sixth in allowing 13.

Alabama is plus 13 in turnover margin (7 fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions against 5 lost fumbles and 0 interceptions) and Tennessee is tied for 10th in the league at minus 2 (3 fumble recoveries, 9 interceptions and 6 lost fumbles and 8 passes intercepted).

Alabama is first in the league in both Red Zone offense and Red Zone defense. The Tide has scored on 27 of 28 trips inside the opponents 20 for 96.4 per cent efficiency and held opponents to only four scores in eight trips, 50 per cent. Tennessee is fourth offensively in the Red Zone, scoring 30-33 times for 90.9 per cent, but 13th on defense, giving up 22 scores in 23 chances, 95.7 per cent.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron leads the league in passing efficiency.

Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson is tops in the conference in kickoff returns.

Bama's Dee Milliner is tops in the league in passes defended, while the Vols' A.J. Johnson leads the conference in tackles.

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