Click here to view Alabama's 2018 game log.
Alabama was held to under 2 rushing touchdowns against:
(rankings based on rushing yards per carry)
#102 Arkansas State- 1 Touchdown on 44 attempts (???)
#29 Missouri- 1 Touchdown on 45 attempts (also strange)
#43 Auburn- 1 Touchdown on 26 attempts (not as bad, but not great)
Simple math shows us on average Alabama scores a rushing touchdown every 15.9 rushing attempts (Oklahoma scores a rushing TD every 12.6 attempts). Let it be noted Bama had 6 passing touchdowns against Arkansas State and Auburn, scoring 57 and 52 points respectively. Only 3 passing touchdowns against Missouri, scoring 39 points.
Bama had 11 drives against Missouri (not counting end of half). They fumbled once, missed a 52 yard FG, and had 2 turnovers on downs. Success rate of 7/11 drives. The damnedest thing though is how close statistically Missou is to our defense. We are #23 in rushing yards/carry (when eliminating the outlier Kansas game), they are #29. We are #104 in yards/attempt, they are #92. We are (cries for a second) #127 in red zone defense, the are #98.
This game is solid proof that if neither team improves or gets worse before this game, we could hold their offense to 39 points. Which I will definitely take lol. I don't like comparing similar teams to "predict" what the score will be, but this does show that even though our defense is shit, without even improving or playing great we can still hold them to 39. It's happened to them already.
Alright, so three teams held Bama to one rushing touchdown. Looks like the best rushing defense of the three just pulled out the stop, the other two games were because they scored passing TDs instead, nothing to draw from those two games. They were held to 2 rushing TDs against the #7 run defense Miss St, #10 aTm, #49 LSU, and against Citadel.
Texas A&M is good at the run (#10 nationally) thus holding them to 2 was rather easy. But they also rank #115 in passing yards/attempt. Bama had 4 passing TDs against aTm, they only needed to throw it 33 times on them at 75% completion and ate ground. 400 yards and 4 TDs, easy. (Not a good sign for us).
LSU stopped Alabama on both fronts. I did some checking, and LSU is actually a pretty damn good run defense (although they're ranked low). They look bad because Bama ran through them like sliced cheese. Don't take that away, because this can be directly shown as an example of what they can do to us, but if you eliminate the Bama game off their schedule they average 3.49 RYC, #20 in the nation. They allowed 5.0 and 5.4 against two other teams, but nothing quite as high as 7.6, which is double their season average and 2.3 above Bama's season average. Like I said, keep this stat in mind because we're closely ranked in run defense stats, so Bama could realistically average 7-8 against us as well if they have the same success. But this is also an outlier, and outliers are supposed to be separated from the main body if you want to paint a better picture. If LSU averaged one or two more games close to that, yea count it. But they didn't.
This would help explain how Alabama averaged 7.6 yards per carry, and only scored 2 touchdowns. LSU has a good run defense.
LSU is #13 in yards/pass attempt, and held Tua to 7 yards/attempt (expected). They only allowed 9 passing TDs in all other games (excluding the 7 OT game against aTm). While we are not even remotely close to them in yards/pass attempt defense, it is interesting to note that they are #3 in opponent completion percentage, which is why their yards/pass attempt is so low. They're actually an average ranked #59 pass defense in yards/completion at 12.2 per catch. Oklahoma allows 13.1 yards per completion, so if we can force Tua into the 60s in completion percentage we could hold Alabama in the passing game.
LSU held him to 60% and only 2 TDs. Our defense is #101 in opponent completion percentage. The only way we force Tua under 60% is if we play the receivers tight enough to force him to make tough throws, or if he just makes a few bad throws on his own. We can probably expect Tua to have a 70% completion percentage against us, but on 40 pass attempts we only need him to miss 4 extra passes to drop his completion percentage from 70% to 60%. Which really isn't all that improbable if you think about it. He had a 60% completion percentage against LSU on 42 attempts and only had 2 TDs. Not expecting us to hold him to the 60s at all, just pointing out this little stat I noticed about LSU and how they forced Bama to only 2 passing touchdowns.
The last team to hold them to 2 rushing touchdowns is Miss St. at #7 in rushing yards/carry. Held Bama to -2.1 their average. We aren't quite that good of a run defense, unless we have an absolute stellar day I won't predict us to hold them to 3.2 yards per carry. They also held Alabama to only 24 points, but they have a great passing defense. They're strength in the pass game comes from the #5 ranked pass yards per completion defense paired with the #25 ranked opponent completion percentage. They don't allow chunk gains when the receiver catches the ball and they're good at forcing incompletions, two things we don't do. Nothing to learn from this.
Alabama scored 3 rushing touchdowns against #126 run defense Louisville, #104 Mississippi, #100 LA-Lafayette, and #53 run defense Georgia (no outliers on Georgia's schedule, they are a solid #53 run defense).
They scored 4 rushing touchdowns against #62 Arkansas and #54 Tennessee. We're #45 run defense overall, but if you eliminate the outlier on our schedule you notice we are #23 in the nation (we were also #26 going into the Kansas game). The only teams they scored 3 and 4 rushing touchdowns against were average, below average, and horrible run defenses. We will keep them to 2 or less pretty easily.
To finish this up, I want to address Alabama's passing game. If we can hold them to 2 rushing TDs we likely only need to hold them to 4 Passing TDs to win if our offense is red hot. Here's their complete game log:
1 Passing TD against #7 yards/attempt defense Miss State (no chance this happens, Miss State far outranks us in pass defense)
2 Passing TD against #13 LSU, #19 Georgia, and #116 Louisville (hey, that looks like our pass defense!)
3 Passing TD against #92 Missouri (very similiar to us in passing defense)
4 Passing TD against #99 Mississippi, #102 Tennessee, #115 Texas A&M, #118 Arkansas, #122 LA-Lafayette, and against Citadel (do you notice a trend there? lol)
6 Passing TD against #51 Arkansas State and #53 Auburn. Keep in mind, as pointed out above, they also only had 1 rushing TD against both these teams, they just traded rushing TDs for passing TDs. Likely just play calling in red zone situations, happenstance.
We hold them to 2 Rushing Touchdowns, based on our run defense being a top 20-25 run defense.
We hold them to 4 Passing TD, based on our pass defense being trash #104 in yards/attempt.
They score between 40-50 depending on how many field goals they make and attempt. Nothing an Oklahoma offense is particularly scared about overcoming.
How we blow them out of the Orange Bowl:
A.) Keep their run defense in check, don't let them score random chunk yardage or 20+ yard rushing TD. Keep them at 2 or less rushing TD.
B.) Lower their QB's completion percentage!
AS NOTED ABOVE, LSU is barely ahead of us in yards per completion. Their defense gets picked on and gives up over 12 yards per completion, compared to our 13 yards per completion we give up. Where they shine at is whipping everybody's ass in opponent completion percentage at #3 in the nation, with an average of 49.0% on the season.
Alabama's completion percentage when scoring 3 passing touchdowns or less:
Louisville- 2 Pass TD and 65.4% completion percentage.
Missouri- 3 Pass TD and 63.3% completion percentage.
LSU- 2 Pass TD and 59.5% completion percentage.
Miss State- 1 Pass TD and 63.0% completion percentage.
Georgia- 2 Pass TD and 50.0% completion percentage.
Average completion percentage when holding Alabama to 3 TD or less: 60.24%
Average completion percentage when Alabama scores 4 TD or more: 66.0%
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the key to stopping Alabama's passing game is in lowering their completion percentage. And the cool part is that we don't even have to do anything! If he throws the ball 40 times in this game (which he will have to to keep up) 66% completion percentage means he completes 26. He only needs to miss TWO extra throws(!) to drop to a 60% completion percentage, which means 3 or less TD.
Our season average for opponent's completion percentage is 63.04%. Even if he's having a field day and throwing 70% or better, if FOUR of his passes are even slightly misplaced his completion drops below 60%!
I'm pretty damn excited and ready for this game, I'm ready for our defense to show people what's up! Can you imagine if we have a game like LSU did, they forced him to 12 yards/completion and 60%, our season averages are 13 yards/completion and 63%! We just have to have a good/great game and not make any mistakes and we could realistically hold Tua to 2 touchdowns same as they did. And he had 42 frickin attempts too, this isn't like he just threw 20 or something.