SEC Week Four: Can Georgia Stop The Tide From Rolling?

SEC Week Four: Can Georgia Stop The Tide From Rolling?

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? 

Azzez Ojulari was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week with his performance against Tennessee.

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
2020 Stats
Alabama OffenseGeorgia Defense
Yards PG560.3236.7
PPG51.0>>12.3
Rush YPG175.338.3
Pass YPG385198.3
Turnovers37
SEC Rank21
National Rank32
>>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.

Alabama’s offense has not missed a beat under Mac Jones.

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.

Key Notes 

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
Since 2007DivisionW-LWin Pct,
1AlabamaWest92-150.859
2GeorgiaEast76-310.710
3LSUWest73-340.688
4FloridaEast70-370.654

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).

Najee Harris vaulted over Ole Miss for a career-high 206 rushing yards and five TD. He has scored a TD in 10 straight games.

Key Questions

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
Georgia LeadFinal Score
2018 SEC Championship28-14L, 35-28
2017 National Championship20-7L, 26-20 (OT)
2012 Regular Season Meeting21-10L, 32-28

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
Since 20182009-17
Offense Plays – SEC Games66.869.2
Defensive Plays – SEC Games69.163.7
Offense – Overall6668
Defense – Overall6862

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. 

NFL Week Five: Five Interesting Stats

NFL Week Five: Five Interesting Stats

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
DateTeamRec. YdsTD
9-23-1979Jerry ButlerBUF2554
10-31-1954Harlon HillCHI2144
12-3-2006Reggie BushNO1314
10-11-2020Chase ClaypoolPIT1104

Steelers WR Chase Claypool joined Franco Harris as the only Steelers rookie with a receiving and rushing TD in the same game.

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Starting 4-0, Team History
PPGSacksTO Forced
202029.5207
1979>>23.81411
1978>>23128
197332.81117
Won Super Bowl

Pittsburgh is off to their fourth 4-0 start in franchise history.

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
SeasonPass TDRush TD
Kyler Murray, ARI202085
Cam Newton, CAR201175
Kordell Stewart, PIT199776

Kyler Murray ran and threw for a TD for the fourth time this season in the Cards win over the Jets.

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
INTGames
Lamar Jackson1036
Patrick Mahomes1317
Russell Wilson1830
Colin Kaepernick2148

Russell Wilson leads another game-winning drives for Seattle.

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.

Most Game-Winning Drives
QB, Since 2012
Russell WilsonSEA30
Matthew StaffordDET29
Drew BreesNO24
Matt RyanATL22

SEC Week Three: Matchups to Watch This Week

SEC Week Three: Matchups to Watch This Week

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.

Synopsis:

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.                        

Freshman Eric Gray ran for 105 yards against Missouri

#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.

John Metchie III made a name for himself with with TD receptions of 78 and 63 yards against Texas A&M last Saturday.

#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.

Matt Corral leads the SEC in completion percentage for an explosive Ole Miss offense.


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.

Last Three Seasons
Alabama Offense vs Ole Miss
W-L3-0
PPG61
YPG568
TD-INT10-0

NFL Week Four: Five Interesting Stats

NFL Week Four: Five Interesting Stats

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.

Despite setting NFL records with his arm, Dak Prescott cannot overcome the poor play of the Cowboys defense.

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.

Odell Beckham victimized the Cowboys on Sunday, registering his first game with multiple TD receptions since 2018.

Dak Prescott
Last Three Games
Completion Pct.69.1
Passing Attempts162
Passing Yards1,424
TD/INT8/3
QB Rating105.1
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
Drew Brees1110-1
Peyton Manning98-1
Tom Brady77-0

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.

Both the Giants and Jets are getting dragged around this season.

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.

Atlanta Falcons, Most Yards Allowed
First Four Games, Team History
Final W-L
20201,793???
20141,7196-10
20161,67711-5>>
19931,6656-10
>>Lost to Patriots in Super Bowl LII

SEC Week Two: Quick Facts

SEC Week Two: Quick Facts

Here are some quick team facts for Saturday’s SEC Games.

South Carolina (0-1) at #3 Florida (1-0), 12 PM EST

– South Carolina: Since losing 12 straight at Florida from 1992-2008, the Gamecocks are 2-3 in their last five visits to Gainesville (lost last two).

– South Carolina: has not started 0-2 in SEC play in consecutive seasons since 1998-99.

– Florida: allowed 613 yards, but also totaled 642 yards on offense (leads SEC) last week. 

– Florida: QB Kyle Trask: 1,041 Passing Yards, 11 TD, 0 INT in the last three regular-season games.

Overall Series: Florida leads 28-9-3, 22-6 since South Carolina joined SEC in 1992 (won four of last five).

Kyle Trask threw for 200 yards and 3 TD in last season’s win over South Carolina in Columbia.

#13 Texas A&M (1-0) at #2 Alabama (1-0), 3:30 PM EST

-Texas A&M: Isaiah Spiller: ran for 117 yards on just eight carries (14.6 RPG) against Vandy last week (only RB to gain over 100 yards in Week One). 

-Texas A&M: Kellen Mond: 34 rushes, 188 yards, 2 TD in last two games against Alabama.

-Alabama: 33-3 at home vs SEC since 2011, but one of those losses came against Texas A&M in 2012.

-Alabama: Najee Harris: 109.4 Rush YPG, 15 TD in his last nine games (scored a TD in eight straight games – last team to hold him short of endzone was Texas A&M last year).

Series Note: Aggies: lost seven straight against Alabama since defeating them in their first SEC meeting in 2012 (allowed 43 PPG in those seven losses).

Najee Harris: Ran for a TD in each of his last eight games.

#7 Auburn (1-0) at #4 Georgia (1-0), 7:30 PM EST

-Auburn: Bo Nix: 218 pass attempts without an interception is the second-longest streak in the nation (Trevor Lawrence, CLEM – 239).

-Auburn: lost five straight against SEC East opponents (includes 2017 SEC Championship).

-Georgia: QB J.T. Daniels (transfer from USC) medically cleared to play Saturday

-Georgia: 8-1 in last nine home games against SEC West opponents.

Series Notes: Georgia won three straight and six of last seven meetings against Auburn. Won six straight at Sanford Stadium. From 1993-2001 Georgia was 0-5 vs Auburn at home. Since 2003 they are 7-1.