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March 14, 2010

Looking back at the 2009 season, part V

What's a number? Quite a lot for the 2009 University of Alabama Football team.

While most of the big ones are well known, like the 13th national championship, 22nd Southeastern Conference titles and the program's first Heisman Trophy, there were a whole bunch of smaller numbers that led up to them.

For example, Mark Ingram's 167 yards after contact against South Carolina; The fourth-quarter domination against LSU; Auburn leading all but 4:44 of the game; Alabama dominating on third downs against Florida; Texas unable to move the ball after Marcell Dareus' hit.

Here's the statistic of the game for each week of the 2009 season as listed in the weekly "Upon Further Review" columns. Vote for your favorite on our message board.

Virginia Tech: While Alabama outgained Virginia Tech in total yards 498 to 155, the Hokies gained their most yards in the fourth quarter, 50, when the Tide tallied 180. Of those, 123 were rushing yards.

FIU: The Crimson Tide had 12 carries for 153 yards, a 12.75 average, in the fourth quarter. Alabama didn't attempt a single pass during the final 15 minutes.

North Texas: While North Texas accumulated 35 of its 61 rushing yards in the fourth quarter against the Tide reserves, Alabama has allowed an average of 42 rushing yards per game (126 total). Not only does that lead the SEC, but is second nationally to Oklahoma (40.67).

Arkansas: Quarterback Greg McElroy didn't have an incomplete pass in the second half, with the only two non-catches both resulting in pass-interference penalties on Arkansas. Alabama's last incompletion came with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter, on the sideline attempt to senior Mike McCoy in which the pass led him out-of-bounds. McElroy completed his final 10 attempts, and with five more at Kentucky will break his own school record of 14 consecutive completions. Some bonus numbers: 27: The combined total of sacks (three), tackles for a loss (eight), pass break-ups (eight), and quarterback pressures (eight). Talk about affecting the quarterback. 4.57: The average yards per pass attempt for Ryan Mallett, who coming into the game led the nation in passer efficiency, and averaged 358.8 yards per game and 10.68 yards per attempt. He completed just 12 of 35 attempts, with the longest play just 25 yards. 4: The number of categories Alabama ranks in the top 10 nationally. The Tide is fifth in passing efficiency (169.03), eighth in total offense (490.5), ninth in scoring (40.5), and 10th in rushing (234.25).

Kentucky: Alabama scored 17 points off turnovers. Some bonus numbers: 13: The combined total of sacks (two), tackles for a loss (five), pass break-ups (two), and quarterback pressures (four). Last week that added up to 27 against Arkansas, when Alabama created just one turnover compared to four against Kentucky. 7: The number of categories Alabama ranks in the top 10 nationally, including second in total defense (222.2), fourth in rushing defense (64.4), eighth in scoring offense (40.0), ninth in passing efficiency (161.53), and tenth in rushing offense (228.2), punt returns (18.81) and pass defense (157.8). The Tide has fallen just out of the top 10 in pass-efficiency defense (94.51, 11th), sacks (3.0, tied 11th), scoring defense (14.4, 13th) and total offense (462.8, 14th). 200: The total number of yards Alabama has scored in its first five games, only the fifth time it's reached that mark so quickly. The other four teams were 1920 (243 points), 1919 (225), 1979 (219), and 1921 (211).

Ole Miss: Alabama has created nine turnovers in the last two games and gone from near the bottom of the SEC standings in turnover ratio to the top at plus-nine. Meanwhile, the offense saw its string of plays without turnover end at 267, which dated back to its first snap against North Texas on Sept. 19.

South Carolina: Statisticians counted 167 yards after the initial hit for sophomore running back Mark Ingram.

Tennessee: Although winning five straight games against SEC opponents isn't that rare, winning five straight on five consecutive Saturdays is because usually there's an off-week involved. The straight, which will conclude Nov. 14 at South Carolina (assuming it beats Georgia on Saturday and Vanderbilt next week).

LSU: Alabama outscored LSU 14-0 in the fourth quarter, had the ball for 10 minutes and 56 seconds, and outgained the Tigers 106-9.

Mississippi State: Alabama didn't give up a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter (but MSU did convert one of two fourth-down attempts). Also, the Tide didn't allow a first down in the final 23:30 of the first half after allowing four early on, two due to penalties.

Chattanooga: Chattanooga's longest offensive play was a 10-yard pass from Coleman to Chris Pitchford on a slant route in the first quarter. Alabama had three passes and 10 carries of 10-or-more yards.

Auburn: Auburn took the lead just 3 minutes and 20 seconds in and didn't trail until there was only 1:24 remaining _ all but 4:44 of the game. Bonus statistic: According to the NCAA, Mississippi State has played toughest schedule in the nation this season, with its 12 opponents winning 68.5 percent of their games. Six SEC teams were among the top 25 in toughest schedules, with 1. Mississippi State, 3. Arkansas, 5. Georgia, 16. South Carolina, 19. Alabama, and 25. Auburn. Alabama played the other five SEC teams on that list and was 4-0 against teams ranked in the top 25. Florida has played one ranked team this season, LSU.

Florida: Alabama converted 11 of 15 third-down opportunities for 73.3 percent. Coming in, it was averaging 37.7 percent, which ranked ninth in the SEC. After the game the Tide ranked third.

Texas: After Colt McCoy lead the Texas offense to 26 yards on five plays, when he was hurt and left the game 16 of the next 22 Texas plays resulted in one yard or fewer and the Longhorns gained just 60 yards the rest of the first half. Garrett Gilbert had more pass attempts intercepted (two) than completed (1-for-10), with the lone catch resulting in a 4-yard loss on a screen.


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