Each week SDS takes a look at some interesting stats heading into week 10 play. Stats don’t tell the whole story, but they can be revealing.
Here are the interesting stats as we get ready for this major weekend in the SEC:
Missouri has forced an SEC-leading 17 fumbles, and they average forcing over two per game. Florida fumbled six times last week against Georgia and lost four of the six. Don’t think for a second Missouri won’t push the envelope and try to get some gifts from players who are not taking care of the ball for the Gators. Missouri is +6 in turnover margin, and Florida is right above the Tigers at +8. Protecting the football will be a must for both teams in The Swamp on Saturday.
Les Miles has beaten Nick Saban three times while he’s coached Alabama since 2007. LSU won three of the six in ‘07, ‘10 and during the ‘11 regular season. The Tigers have won by a combined margin of 13 points in their three wins, while Alabama has won by a margin of 36 points in their three. You just get the feeling that LSU could win a close game, or the Tide will win going away. Either way, expect a tough, physical SEC style of play in Baton Rouge Saturday night.
Johnny Manziel has rushed for 793 yards to lead all rushers in the SEC as a quarterback. The last time a quarterback led the SEC in rushing was of course Cam Newton in 2010, but he’s the only quarterback to do it in the last five years. Newton finished with 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. Manziel is on pace to get to 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns. The four defenses left for Manziel are Mississippi State, Alabama, Sam Houston State and Missouri. Can he get to 20 touchdowns on the ground?
AJ McCarron leads the country in passing efficiency at 182.40, and he’s playing with the utmost confidence since he earned the starting job last season. He’s completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,684 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with his zero interceptions. McCarron hasn’t faced a defense this good yet, but he’ll rise to the occasion. He always comes to play in big games.
3.52 vs. 3.69
Statistically, Alabama and LSU are the two top defenses in the SEC, and the Tide are only allowing 3.52 yards per play compared to LSU’s 3.69 yards per play. Only three teams in the country allow under 4.0 yards per play, and two of them will be playing each other Saturday. The only other defense allowing less than 4.0 yards per play is Florida State. Enough said. Big plays will be at a premium, and both defenses have only allowed 18 plays each of 20-plus yards. To put it in perspective, Tennessee has allowed 50 plays of 20-plus yards. Think about that for a minute. We’ve seen eight games from both teams, and only 18 times (2.25 per game) have we seen offenses make a 20-yard play on these two defenses. It’s pretty remarkable.
44.3 vs. 47.03
Missouri leads the SEC in punt return yardage, averaging 44.3 yards per game. In particular Marcus Murphy leads all SEC punt returners with three touchdowns, averaging 15.4 punt return yards per game. Florida, on the other hand, leads the SEC in punting at 47.03 yards per punt. Special teams will be key for both teams Saturday. The Gators like to control the field position with their defense, while Missouri will have to make a big play or two on special teams to pull off the upset.
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