Why Stats Don’t Tell the Real Story of the Alabama – OU Game
By: Larry Burton
When you look at the scoreboard and the final stats of the 2018 semi-final game between Alabama and Oklahoma, you may think OU put up quite a fight. After all, 45-34 isn’t the typical Alabama stomping that they usually put on teams.
When you look at the final stats that show:
Rushing yardage –
Alabama – 200 OU – 163
Passing yardage –
Alabama – 328 OU – 308
You may think, that was close. But as the old coach Lee Corso so often says, “Not so fast my friend.”
The truth is far different. 45 of Kyler Murray’s 109 yards rushing came in the last seconds of the first half where Alabama was guarding against a long pass and couldn’t care less how much yardage he ran for as long as he didn’t score and the clock ran out.
Then there was the score itself. Yes, Alabama only won by 11 points, but knelt at the goal line rather than score another “rub it in” score. Also, one Alabama touchdown was called back by a silly penalty. So without any real effort, Alabama could have won by 22 instead of 11. Then there was also the fact that since the game was really decided by the end of the first quarter when Alabama had OU buried 28-0, the defense just had a lapse of killer instinct and allowed OU to make some yardage while the Bama defense rotated in second and third stringers.
The truth of the game was that Alabama dominated the Sooners in all aspects of the game and there was never one second where the game was game was in doubt after the 28-0 opening 20 minutes. In fact, the Sooners failed to show any indication that they could ever stop Alabama from scoring on every drive unless Alabama stopped themselves with penalties or other miscues.
It went as every intelligent sportswriter knew it would go when one of the nation’s best offenses faced one of the nation’s worst defenses. Alabama would score as quickly as it wanted or take as much off the clock as they wanted. Everyone knew that OU would get a few licks in on offense, but never be able to score enough. It went just as everyone thought it would.
Murray racked up yardage and points in a game that Alabama already had in hand. Bama was willing to give up yardage and points with such a huge lead, just to get the ball back and run time off the clock.
The game was never as close as the score and stats may show that it was and without trying to sound like a bitter homer, the question of who the best quarterback was was also answered on the field. Tua was almost perfect when you consider the dropped or juggled passes that could have been caught.
Finally playing against a “big boy” defense, Murray was left wanting. Compare these very important stats:
Attempts / Completions Comp. % Quarterback Rating
Tua – 27 / 24 88.9 236.7
Kyler – 37 / 19 51.4 139.1
So really, who’s your Heisman now? Had Murray had to play an SEC schedule he would never have won the Heisman. That’s not an opinion, but a fact. Had Kylers last game before voting been against Georgia like Tua had to do, there’s no way Kyler wins in that scenario also.
But both this game and the Heisman vote are both now water under the bridge and history will judge them by what they will, at least now you know the real story of why the stats sure don’t tell the whole story.
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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