Alabama vs. Ole Miss: Inside The Stats


In today’s edition, we will take a look back at Saturday’s Alabama vs. Ole Miss game on what went wrong, what went right, and what it could mean for the Tide going forward.

The major stats that can’t be ignored and that directly contributed to the loss was five turnovers. Five. Not only the turnovers but 24 points that came off of those turnovers. It’s difficult to beat any team committing turnovers much less a team ranked in the top 15 of both polls like Ole Miss. I remember watching the game and seeing the graphic that three of those set the Rebels up very near or in the red zone on all three occasions. Sooner or later, those will come back to bite you.

You have to give the Rebels credit for forcing those turnovers but you also can’t take away the fight and heart in the Crimson Tide as they continued to claw back time after time, and even when they were down by 20 with 3:57 to go in the third quarter.

Another key stat: 18.9 yards per completion for the Rebels. Ole Miss quarterback was getting the ball down the field and one time got it down the field with a pass that was guided by divine intervention. For the day, Kelly threw three touchdowns for 341 yards and no interceptions on 33 attempts for 18 completions. We all know how much trouble the Tide has on long passing plays and stopping those for big games? Six different Rebel receivers hauled in completions over 22 yards with two out of the until pulling one a piece greater than 66 yards. Only two rushing plays could have been considered explosive as plays over 15 yards.

Sep 19, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly (10) looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at the defensive charts for comparisons, the Rebels had more tackles and also forced more fumbles and interceptions. You would have to factor in the Tide ran almost twice the number of plays Ole Miss ran. Sacks from Da’Shawn Hand and Jonathan Allen gave the Tide the lead in that category, but the Rebel had two more tackles for loss than Alabama. The Tide defense really impressed me in the second half as they found some more intensity and was bringing the wood out there. That unit was giving the Tide every chance to take it back, but the offense could not do it.

As far as the Tide rushing offense goes, it’s still there. I think it could need some tinkering with the schemes and philosophies, but that’s just me. Running back Derrick Henry seems to club people when he can get a good steam going on his runs. Maybe we will see more runs that go north and south. I think they will have to get a bit more creative to catch anything that could be productive out in the flats. Then again, the speedster can also make the plays. For the game, Henry led the team with 127 yards and one touchdown. As a team, they collected 288 yards.

To everyone’s surprise, Cooper Bateman got the start instead of Jake Coker. Coach Saban hinted after the game that they had wanted to get Bateman involved on some designed quarterback runs, but they never happened. During his time in the game, Bateman didn’t have that bad of a day. He attempted 14 passes, complete 11, and threw one interception for 87 yards. We didn’t get the long passes downfield from him but when Coker came in, we did see a few.

Coker brought five passing plays and two rushes each over 15 yards. With Bateman starting, it seemed that could have lit a fire under Coker. Granted, he still made some underthrows, overthrows and could have avoided a sack if he got the ball out there.

Special teams seemed to do their job for the most part. Kicker Adam Griffith was only called on one time for a 20-yard field goal which he made. Two of the fumbles came on kick-off and punt returners. JK Scott looks to be back to normal as well with one of his punts pinning the Rebels inside their own 20-yard line.

Sep 19, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Richard Mullaney celebrates with wide receiver Calvin Ridley (3) after Mullet scored against the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

If you look at the final box score, it’s still hard to see how the Tide lost this one. Alabama rushed more than the Rebels and just under them in passing, rolling up 503 yards compared to 433 for the Rebels. The Tide defense forced Ole Miss to go 4-for-14 in a stat that always leaves Alabama fans breathless when they look at the down and distance. It all comes back to those turnovers. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the Rebels are a good team.

What does that mean going forward? Coach Saban and the staff know they have some things to work on and mentioned that during the press conference. They will have Louisiana-Monroe next week before heading to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, GA. These losses can spark a fire or they can tear a team down. With Alabama, it’s usually the first option. As of right now, our best bet is to hope the Rebels lose two so that they would be behind us in a tie breaker. We would have to hold up our end of the bargain and I could see possibly two more losses for Alabama. The season is still long and that is why football is played on the field and not on a blog.