January 7th, 2013 10:49 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Brian Kelly, Miami, Notre Dame, SEC
With the countdown to the BCS Championship Game underway, we wanted to bring you a stat-by-stat comparison of Alabama and Notre Dame. While Bama went through the SEC — a league that’s 5-3 in bowl games this season with one loss coming on a last-second field goal — the Irish did some heavy-lifting of their own. For the season, Alabama played seven bowl-eligible teams (Michigan, Western Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia). Not too shabby. But Notre Dame toppled 10 bowl-eligible squads in 2012 (Navy, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, and Southern Cal).
So while we know a trip through the SEC gauntlet is difficult, Notre Dame’s stats are relevant, too. Brian Kelly’s group played a collection of successful teams from all across the nation. A head-to-head statistical comparison of the squads — therefore — should provide some insight into tonight’s contest.
We’ll start with a look at the biggest stats out there, th0se tried and true numbers that are always kicked around before a big game…
Scoring Defense — Advantage: Notre Dame
Notre Dame: #1 in the nation (10.3 points allowed per game… 10 touchdowns and 18 field goals)
Alabama: #2 in the nation (10.7 points allowed per game… 18 touchdowns and 5 field goals)
Scoring Offense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #13 in the nation (38.5 points per game… 65 touchdowns and 15 field goals)
Notre Dame: #74 in the nation (26.8 points per game… 36 touchdowns and 24 field goals)
Rushing Defense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #1 in the nation (77.7 yards allowed per game)
Notre Dame: #4 in the nation (92.4 yards allowed per game)
Rushing Offense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #19 in the nation (224.62 yards per game)
Notre Dame: #29 in the nation (202.50 yards per game)
Passing Defense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #2 in the nation (166.2 yards allowed per game)
Notre Dame: #21 in the nation (194.4 yards allowed per game)
Passing Offense — Advantage: Notre Dame
Notre Dame: #74 in the nation (218.8 yards per game)
Alabama: #79 in the nation (214.5 yards per game)
Total Defense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #1 in the nation (246.0 yards allowed per game)
Notre Dame: #6 in the nation (286.8 yards allowed per game)
Total Offense — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #38 in the nation (439.1 yards per game)
Notre Dame: #48 in the nation (421.3 yards per game)
Turnover Margin — Advantage: Alabama
Alabama: #12 in the nation (plus-13 in 13 games)
Notre Dame: #24 in the nation (plus-9 in 12 games)
The takeaway? Alabama has a numbers advantage in the biggest statistical categories. The slight advantage the Irish have in scoring defense is negated — at least on paper — by Bama’s ability to put lots of points on the board. The Crimson Tide owns a clear advantage in the run game, too.
Notre Dame’s passing offense is a wee bit better than Alabama’s, but Nick Saban’s secondary has been almost 30 yards-per-game more tight.
In overall yardage, Bama allows about 40 yards less per game than Notre Dame. The Tide also racks up about 18 more yards per contest. That’s a 58-yard difference between the teams in terms of per-game yardage and that’s considerable.
Finally, Alabama holds a very narrow advantage over the Irish in turnover margin, too. UA finishes each game just about plus-one in turnover margin. Notre Dame is plus-.75 per game.
Put simply, Saban’s team looks to be the better of the two teams squaring off in Miami tonight. At least on paper. But what hidden stats might hold a key for Notre Dame? We’ll discuss those shortly.
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