While it’s not all in the numbers all the time, they do tell a tale worth reading.
Comparing Miss St. and Alabama By The Numbers
By: Larry Burton
Right up front let me tell you that stats and numbers don’t tell the whole story. Alabama is coming off a gut wrenching, physically exhausting overtime win over LSU. State is coming off a week after playing a cupcake, UT Martin. That in itself may be more telling than any of these stats and figures, but it’s still important to know where each team is coming from and how they could logically stack up against one another.
So here we go:
Scoring Defense –
Coach “Bear” Bryant said the defense is most important because “You can’t lose if the other team can’t score.” Well that’s common sense I suppose.
Alabama – #2 in the nation – only allowing an average of 13.9 points per game
State – #16 in the nation – only allowing an average of 19.7 points per game
Six points is enough difference to give a decided edge to ALABAMA
Scoring Offense –
“Yeah, I’d like to have a tougher defense, but every team that scores the most points wins don’t they?” Mike Leach, coach Washington State.
State – #12 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 39.8 points per game
Alabama – #33 in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 34.7 points per game
Five points difference is significant – edge to STATE
Turnover Margin –
“In a tight game, it’s usually the one who wins the turnover battle that comes out ahead.” Dan Mullen
State – Tied for 64th place- Got 18 turnovers – Lost 18 turnovers – Turnover Margin – 0
Alabama – Tied for 80th place – Got 12 turovers – Lost 14 turnovers – Turnover Margin – negative .22
Over 11 games that’s almost no difference and makes little to no difference. The fact that State turns it over more, could be a problem. TIE
Place Kicking –
“If it’s a close game and comes down to your field kicker, you’d better have a good one….” Former Texas coach Mack Brown.
State – Tied for 88th place – 6 out of 9 for 66.7%
Alabama – Tied for 83rd place – 11 out of 16 for 68%
Less than a 2% difference over 11 games is no real difference. TIE
“In a close contest, it usually comes down to winning field position.” Former Alabama head coach Gene Stallings.
Alabama – 4th in the nation with an average punt of 47.08 yards
State – 26th in the nation with an average punt of 42.47 yards
Five yards doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. Advantage Alabama
Rushing Offense vs Rushing Defense
“If you can’t stop the run, you usually aren’t going to win.” Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.
Alabama ranks third in the nation allowing just 89.78 yards per game
State ranks 16th in the nation averaging 254.89 yards per game
Alabama ranks 36th in the nation averaging 206.11 yards per game rushing the ball
State ranks 22nd in the nation allowing just 126.67 yards per game rushing the ball
Alabama should be able to run against State more than State can run against Alabama. Advantage here Alabama
Passing Offense vs Passing Defense
“People ask me why I don’t pass more and I tell them only one good thing can happen but many more bad things can occur.” Coach “Bear” Bryant.
Alabama ranks 29th in passing offense and averages 281.2 yards per game
State ranks 123rd (one of the worst in the nation) in pass defense allowing a whopping 300.6 yards per game
State ranks 39th in passing offense and averages 267.2 yards per game
Alabama ranks 15th and only allows an average of 184.4 yards per game.
Alabama will run roughshod over the Bulldogs in the passing department and rack up huge numbers. Advantage Alabama
Home Field Advantage?
“Of course home field is an advantage. If home field isn’t an advantage, then why do they call it home field advantage?” Former Bulldog head coach Jackie Sherill.
Alabama wins approximately 77% of their games overall at home in Bryant Denny Stadium. There have been 50 games played in Bryant Denny Stadium and Alabama has won 42 of them. That’s 84% and seven points higher than their average. This is a huge advantage to Alabama.
“While it may be true that winning isn’t everything, I prefer it over losing.” Larry Burton
State has the advantage over Alabama in just one key area, scoring offense.
Alabama has the advantage in five key areas, scoring defense, passing offense over passing defense, rushing offense over rushing defense, punting and home field advantage.
There are two ties – placekicking and turnover margin
Clear winner – Alabama
Alabama 38 – Mississippi State 24
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter