Alabama Football and Ole Miss have explosive offenses built from a similar set of offensive schemes.
In terms of offensive schemes, neither Alabama football nor Ole Miss will have an advantage on Saturday. Both teams have offenses based on long-established ‘West Coast’ principles. The formative coaching years of Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were spent learning the ‘West Coast,’ primarily from Norm Chow.
Both coaches took that solid base and expanded it as Offensive Coordinators and Head Coaches, incorporating other systems including vertical routes, play-action, spread and RPO. The current products of both coaches are arguably the most diverse in football. Unless hampered by injuries or self-inflicted game miscues, the offenses are explosive. They can be slowed by superb defensive schemes and execution. Stopping them is nearly impossible.
The Alabama football offense is No. 3 in the nation, averaging 45 points per game. Ole Miss is No. 17, averaging 38.5 points. In Total Offense, based on average yards per game, Ole Miss is No. 5, averaging 536 yards. The Alabama Crimson Tide is No. 15, averaging 479 yards. The Alabama football yardage stat would likely be higher if the Tide used more tempo. Hurry-up has not been used often so far this season.
In individual stats, Matt Corral of Ole Miss and the Tide’s Mac Jones are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively in completion percentage. Corral has hit 76.7 percent. Mac Jones is at 74.5 percent. Mac leads college football with an average of 18 yards-per-completion. Corral is No. 7 at 15.54 yards.
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Ole Miss receiver, Elijah Moore leads the nation in receiving yards per game at 159.5 yards. No other Ole Miss player is in the Top 50 for the stat. The Crimson Tide has three receivers in the Top 38. Devonta Smith is No. 38 with a per-game average of 76 yards. John Matchie is No. 10 at 111.5 yards. Jaylen Waddle is No. 2 at 138 yards.
Even if Matt Corral and Mac Jones are equally proficient passing the football, the Tide’s trio of receivers gives Steve Sarkisian a big advantage over Lane Kiffin. Kiffin’s defense must control Waddle, Smitty and Metchie, while also contending with Najee Harris. Kiffin has three main offensive weapons the Tide defense must control. One is Moore, another is Jerrion Ealy who is a threat running and catching passes. The third is Correl running. He has rushed for 103 yards this season. He is fast and not shy about taking a hit. Both teams have other offensive threats capable of making big plays.
The Ole Miss defense has been awful against the run. The Rebels-Black Bears-Landsharks are next to last in college football. Ranked No. 73 out of 74 teams, Ole Miss is giving up 302 rushing yards per game.
Two powerful offenses that have explosive plays, combined with an anemic Ole Miss run defense, the huge over-under of 79.5 points is warranted. So is the currently 24-point spread. Ole Miss will score. The Crimson Tide will score more.
Watching two excellent offensive minds battle will be great fun Saturday. Watching how well the Tide secondary and pass rush does may be more interesting.