Week Four of SEC Football brings us the most anticipated matchup of the season. Georgia invades Tuscaloosa this Saturday.
Even without the news today of Nick Saban testing positive for COVID-19, this game had everyone’s interest.
While not having the best football coach (college or pro) on the sideline will be a change, Alabama’s accountability system shouldn’t miss a beat. I’m certain knowing his greater access to critiquing their mistakes might help inspire his players.
#3 Georgia (3-0) at #2 Alabama (3-0) 8:00 PM EST
Strength vs. Strength
The highest-scoring offense (51.0 PPG) squares off against the nation’s second-ranked defense (236.0 YPG). Can Mac Jones and his elite group of offensive weapons achieve the same success against Azeez Ojulari, Monte Rice, and Eric Stokes?
Ojulari, who plays the “Jack” position on Georgia’s defense (a combination of OLB and DE), helped key the Bulldogs second-half domination in their victory over #14 Tennessee on Saturday. Ojulari won SEC defensive player of the week, registering two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Georgia held the Vols to just 71 total yards in the second half.
Offense vs Defense
>>First in Nation
Alabama erupted for 723 yards of total offense in their win over the Rebels (the most since putting up 833 during a 77-6 win against Virginia Tech on October 27, 1973). Mac Jones leads the nation in passer rating (220.3) and yards per completion (13.3). Equally impressive is his 79.5 completion percentage while registering over 13 yards per completion.
There isn’t enough space to write about all of Alabama’s offensive weapons, so rather than deal with the endless amount of individuals (Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, John Metchie III), I’d rather focus on the offense as a whole.
Alabama has won 27 straight games against SEC East opponents (their last loss came at South Carolina on October 9, 2010).
Overall, Alabama is 35-3 against SEC East opponents under Nick Saban (14-1 at home, 14-1 on the road, 7-1 on neutral fields)
Since 2007 (Saban’s first year at Alabama), Alabama and Georgia own the two highest win percentages in SEC play.
SEC Standings Overall
Alabama has won five straight against Georgia (One National Championship, two SEC Championship Games, and two regular-season games).
Nick Saban is 21-0 against former assistants, although he will not be on the sideline this Saturday against former assistant Kirby Smart (0-2 vs. Saban).
Can Georgia finally put Alabama away if they hold a late lead?
In three of their last four meetings, Georgia failed to hold a second half lead. In the 2018 SEC Championship, Alabama closed the game on a 21-0 run. In the 2017 National Championship, the Bulldogs failed to hold a 20-7 second-half lead in a 26-20 loss in OT. In their 2012 regular-season matchup, Alabama outscored Georgia 22-7 after the Bulldogs opened up a 21-10 lead in third quarter.
Georgia Blown Leads
Second Half vs Alabama
2018 SEC Championship
2017 National Championship
L, 26-20 (OT)
2012 Regular Season Meeting
Can Georgia score enough to compete with Alabama?
Georgia ranks 7th in the SEC in total offense (420 YPG) and 5th in PPG (36.0). Their opponents rank 5th (Tennessee), 7th (Arkansas), and 8th (Auburn) in the conference in total defense.
A definite weakness Georgia could attack is Alabama’s run defense, which allows 150 YPG (Georgia averages 172 rushing YPG).
Can Georgia stop Alabama’s offense?
Stop? No. Control by keeping it off the field by dominating the time of possession? Maybe.
I will attempt to explain how good Alabama’s offense is in an easy to understand manner. For those critical of Alabama’s defense, their offense’s success plays a small part in that.
Since the start of 2018 (Tua’s first full year), Alabama has 45 TD of 30-yards or longer on plays from scrimmage. That’s an insane statistic. They score quickly and from anywhere on the field.
Over that same span (since 2018), they average two fewer offensive plays per game and six more defensive plays per game than they did from 2009-17. It’s not the main reason, but it is a small part of why Alabama’s defense is more vulnerable than earlier in Saban’s tenure.
Alabama Offense vs Defense
Average Plays Per Game
Offense Plays – SEC Games
Defensive Plays– SEC Games
Offense – Overall
Defense – Overall
Since 2018, the Crimson Tide totaled 500 yards or higher in 23 of their 31 games. They have scored 35 or more points in 15 consecutive games, tying the longest such streak in major-college football history (Oregon scored at least 35 points in 15 straight games from November 5, 2011, through November 17, 2012).
Can Stetson Bennett raise his game enough to achieve a result Jake Frohm nor Andy Murray (much more accomplished QB) failed to do?
The Junior QB is producing so far this season (229.7 Pass YPG, 5 TD, 0 INT), but playing at Alabama is a different level. If the running game takes some pressure off him, he will fare a lot better.
Tuesday night’s game between the Bills and Titans was the second Tuesday game in the last 70 years. As we finally say goodbye to Week Five, here are five interesting stats to review. (*NFL.com research).
Steelers Rookie WR Scores Four TD
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie WR Chase Claypool scored a rushing TD followed by three TD receptions (32, 5, and 35 yards) in a 38-29 win over the Eagles. Claypool’s 110 receiving yards were the fourth-most for a rookie scoring four TD in NFL history.
Most Receiving Yds, Rookies To Score 4 TD
Single Game, NFL History
Steelers: 4-0 for first time since 1979
Despite winning six Super Bowl titles, the Steelers registered four wins without a loss to start the season for only the fourth time in franchise history. In two of those seasons, they went on to win the Super Bowl.
Starting 4-0, Team History
Won Super Bowl
Kyler Murray Run & Throws Cards to Victory
In the Arizona Cardinals 30-10 win over the 0-5 New York Jets, Kyler Murray threw and ran for a TD for the fourth time this season. Murray joins Cam Newton in 2011 and Kordell Stewart in 1997 as the only players with five touchdowns rushing and throwing in the first five games of a season.
Five TD Rushing & Throwing
First Five Games, NFL History
Kyler Murray, ARI
Cam Newton, CAR
Kordell Stewart, PIT
Lamar Jackson Throws 50th TD
The Baltimore Ravens rebounded from their loss to the Chiefs last week, defeating the Bengals 27-3. Lamar Jackson owns the fewest interceptions of any QB at the time of his 50th TD pass.
Fewest INT Thrown
At Time of 50th TD Pass
Russell Wilson Leads Seattle to Victory Again
Seattle defeated Minnesota 27-26 on Sunday Night Football to start 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. Wilson culminated their win with the 30th game-winning drive of his career. Wilson has the most for any QB since joining the NFL in 2012.
As we move closer towards winter, this nightmare year is nearing its end. While the NHL, NBA, and MLB will complete their versions of COVID-19 related seasons, college football is next.
While we wait for the Big Ten and Pac-12 to join the football world, here are some SEC matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.
#4 Florida (2-0) at #21 Texas A&M, 12:00 PM EST
Florida: Kyle Trask: leads SEC with 10 TD passes (six belong to TE Kyle Pitts)
Florida: Lost 9 of last 13 games vs SEC West opponents.
Texas A&M: Lost seven straight against top-5 opponents (last win was 11/8/14 at Auburn)
Texas A&M: Won seven of last eight home games against SEC East opponents.
If the Aggies still think they have a chance at the SEC West title, they can’t lose again. Florida’s defense is awful through two games, allowing 471 yards per game. Look for A&M to throw everything they can at Florida, while trying to stop Trask and an explosive offense.
Series History: Teams are 1-1 against each other since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012.
#3 Georgia (2-0) at Tennessee (2-0), 3:30 PM EST
Georgia: won three straight against Tennessee
Georgia: lead the SEC in fewest PPG allowed (8.0) and YPG allowed (190.0).
Tennessee: won eight straight since losing to Alabama last year (longest current win streak in the nation
Tennessee: Ty Chandler: leads SEC with 176 rushing yards.
Synopsis: If Tennessee wants to get back into the conversation amongst teams in the East, they need to defeat Georgia. They have everything to play for at home against a top-three opponent.
#2 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1), 7:30 PM EST
Alabama: Ole Miss (twice), Auburn, and LSU are only SEC teams Nick Saban has lost to more than once since coming to Tuscaloosa in 2007.
Alabama: Mac Jones: leads the nation in passer rating (222.1).
Ole Miss: lead SEC in total offense (536 YPG)
Ole Miss: QB Mike Corral leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation, completing 76.7 percent (46-60) of his pass attempts.
Synopsis: Lane Kiffin gets a chance to break Saban’s streak of winning 20 games without a loss against former assistants. However, Ole Miss cannot stop anyone, allowing over 600 yards per game. Rammer Jammer will continue to roll, adding to their impressive offensive totals against Ole Miss in their last three matchups.
Saying goodbye to each NFL week with our latest edition of “Five Interesting Stats” during COVID is one thing that emotes positive feelings in a difficult year.
Here are five interesting notes to close out Week Four in the NFL.
Dak Prescott makes history again, but the Cowboys lose again.
Prescott’s thrown for 450 or more yards in three straight games (NFL record).
1,424 passing yards is the most for any three-game span in NFL history.
Cowboys Defense Suffering Through a Historical Implosion.
Set the team record for most points allowed over a three-game span with 126.
Allowed 38 points in three straight games for the first time since 1960.
Last Three Games
Cowboys 1-2 in those games
Tom Brady sets another NFL record
Brady threw for five TD in the Buccaneers win over the Chargers on Sunday. Brady (43 years, 62 days) passed Warren Moon (40 years, 342 days) as the oldest QB in NFL history to do so. All five of Brady’s TD’s went to different receivers.
Most Times Throwing 5 TD
SIngle Game, NFL History
W-L in Games
Those Little Town Blues
The New York Jets and Giants are both 0-4 in the same season for the second time since the merger. In 1976 both teams started 0-4 and finished their seasons 3-11.
Atlanta Defense is Historically Bad (Just like Dallas).
The Falcons are off to their first 0-4 start since 1999 (the year after they advanced to the Super Bowl). Their defense is the main culprit, as their 1,793 yards allowed in their first four games is a franchise record for most allowed in the first four games of the season.