Alabama-LSU Stats Scope: Who Has The Head-To-Head Edge?

    Alabama-LSU stats scope takes a look at which team has the head-to-head edge in the 2015 matchup between the Crimson Tide and Tigers.

    November 2, 2015

    On Saturday, one of college football’s most exhilarating rivalries will take place, and it has the potential to be another classic chapter in the saga.

    No. 4 LSU will make a visit to Tuscaloosa, AL. to take on No. 7 Alabama. The Tigers are undefeated and control their own destiny; the Crimson Tide have one loss this season and need a win to stay in the hunt for the SEC title game and College Football Playoff. 

    Whether it’s going head-to-head on the field or duking it out for the nation’s top recruits, LSU and Alabama are proof of what makes college football so great, and they’re also two of the biggest reasons the SEC has grown into the conglomerate that it is today.

    But with all of the talk of their history together, it’s time to dissect where the Tide and Tigers are in the season as it stands. There’s more to a game preview than just looking at overall (or conference) records and where they’re ranked in the AP Top 25 or the Coaches Poll.

    LSU and Alabama are two of the best teams in college football, but let’s analyze why they’re so good in this week’s Stats Scope.

    LSU’s Offense vs. Alabama’s Defense

    LSU’s offense has thrived with Leonard Fournette in the backfield. The Tigers average 466 yards of offense this season.

    Heading into the Bama game, LSU is averaging 156.86 of those yards through the air. Quarterback Brandon Harris has completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,098 yards. He’s thrown nine touchdowns without any interceptions. Harris averages 152 passing yards on the road and has only tossed three touchdowns outside of Baton Rouge, LA.

    Meanwhile, Alabama’s defense specializes in shutting down the arial attack. The Crimson Tide have picked off 12 passes this year and have returned four of them to the end zone. Nick Saban’s secondary gives up 197.3 yards per game and has allowed seven passing touchdowns in games in Tuscaloosa. The Tide have also racked up 27 sacks this season, so Harris might not be given too many opportunities from within the pocket.

    Fournette is obviously the key player of all key players in this matchup as he leads an LSU rushing attack that averages 309.14 yards per game. The Tigers go as he goes, and with the way he’s been going, the Tigers have been putting up 38.86 points per game. On the road, LSU averages 33.3 points per game.

    With senior linebacker Reggie Ragland leading the defense, Alabama might have as good a shot as anyone to contain Fournette and LSU’s offense. The Crimson Tide only allow 275 yards of offense per game and 78.5 of those come via the ground game. Saban’s defense is ranked No. 15 with 16.4 points allowed per game. It’s forced six fumbles this year and recovered five of them. That’s an average of 2.1 turnovers forced per game.

    Alabama’s Offense vs. LSU’s Defense

    The Crimson Tide’s offense has been a little more balanced than LSU’s. Senior quarterback Jake Coker has led the Tide’s passing attack, which puts up an average of 233.38 yards per game. Though Coker has thrown just 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He’s completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 1,623 yards but has a passer rating of 129.34 at home this year.

    With a secondary that specializes in ballhawking, LSU has totaled seven interceptions this year and returned one for a touchdown. The Tigers have also recorded 18 sacks so far this season — nine less than Alabama. Les Miles’ crew gives up 222.1 yards per game through the air. That’s 70.3 percent of the 315.9 yards of offense that LSU’s defense allows each outing.

    The Crimson Tide average 33.5 points per game this season, but average sligthly less in Tuscaloosa, scoring 30.8 points per game. LSU’s defense ranks No. 32 in the nation with 19.8 points given up per game, but allows slightly more on the road at 22.3 points per game.

    Derrick Henry is the motor of Alabama’s offense, as he’s helped lead a rushing attack that averages 188.5 ypg of its 421.88 total ypg on the ground. LSU has forced four fumbles this year but only recovered two of them. The Tigers average 1.3 turnovers forced per game. Henry has only fumbled once this year (against Georgia).

    Key Stats

    LSU has given up 706 passing yards and five passing touchdowns to three teams ranked in the AP Top 25.

    Alabama has given up 579 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to four teams in the AP Top 25.

    The Crimson Tide haven’t allowed a first-half rushing touchdown since Sept. 19 against Ole Miss (gave up two in the second quarter).

    MORE: Predicting The College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 10


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