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National Championship by the Numbers

Georgia and Alabama will throw down on Monday night in the National Championship Game. I happen to love the fact that a portion of the elite media loathes the league and must endure a four-hour SEC infomercial. The nation’s best two teams will settle the matter on the field. Sorry, Oklahoma and Ohio State. With all the rage about high octane offenses, Howitzer armed quarterbacks, and video game-like statistics, the Dawgs and Tide prove that defense and turnover margin actually mean more when competing for the Big Trophy. Let’s take a look: 


The game’s two starting quarterbacks are the conference’s 7th and 8th ranked passers. Let that resonate for a minute. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts (8th): 61% completion percentage, 2060-yards, 17 TDs, 1 INT, 158.5 yards per game. Georgia’s Jake Fromm (7th): 63.7% completion percentage, 2383-yards, 23 TD’s, 5 INTs, 170.2 yards per game. Again, when the world focuses on signal callers that sling the football around the field for 400 yards a game, neither of the two last standing quarterbacks average 200 pass yards per game.

Georgia and Alabama are ranked 1st and 2nd in the SEC’s Rushing category as you can see below. Also, please note the turnover margins for each: Alabama +13 and Georgia +5.


Scoring 37.9ppg SEC-1st
Rushing 255.7ypg SEC-2nd
Passing 193.9 SEC-9th
Total 449.7 SEC-4th
3rd Down 42.07% SEC-5th
Red-Zone 87.3% SEC-8th
Turnover Margin +13 SEC-1st

Top Performers

Rushing Damien Harris 75.62 ypg
Passing Jalen Hurts 158.5 ypg
Receiving Calvin Ridley 59 receptions, 935-yds

Pic by Bama Hammer


Scoring 36.3 ppg SEC-3rd
Rushing 267.3 ypg SEC-1st
Passing 172.9 SEC-13th
Total 443 SEC-5th
3rd Down 46% SEC-2nd
Red-Zone 96.2% SEC-2nd
Turnover Margin +5 SEC-4th

Top Performers

Passing Nick Chubb 94.29 ypg
Rushing Jake Fromm 170.2 ypg
Receiving Javon Wims 44 catches, 704 yds


Alabama and Georgia rank 1st or 2nd in 11 major SEC defensive statistical categories. Both are excellent vs. the run. A fun fact to watch is that Alabama has allowed just 31 rush plays of 10+yards. Georgia has executed 110 run plays that exceeded 10+yards. Conversely, Alabama’s rushing attack produced 112 plays of 10+yards. UGA’s defense has allowed 47 runs of 10+. The lack of explosive plays due to superb run defenses may influence the final score to be decided in the Red-Zone. The Dawgs are much more efficient from the 20-yard line in scoring 96.2% of all trips and have the more reliable kicker. Comparatively, Alabama’s 87.3% Red-Zone ratio is lesser and the Tide’s field goal kicking team is adventurous.

The following statistics are relevant in the “Defense wins championships” discussion:


Scoring Allowed 11.1 ppg SEC-1st
Rushing 91.7 ypg SEC-1st
Passing 160.6 SEC-1st
Total 254.1 SEC-1st
QB Sacks 36 SEC-4th
Tackles for Loss 89 SEC-2nd
Interceptions 17 SEC-1st
3rd Down 33.8% SEC-5th
Red-Zone 73% SEC-1st

Top Performers

Tackles Ronnie Harrison 70
Tackles for Loss Raashan Evans 11.5
QB Sacks Raekwon Davis 7.5
Interceptions Mack Wilson 4

Pic by Chattanooga Times Free Press


Scoring Allowed 15.7 ppg SEC-2nd
Rushing 121 ypg SEC-2nd
Passing 167 SEC-3rd
Total 289 SEC-2nd
QB Sacks 31 SEC-7th
Tackles for Loss 87 SEC-4th
3rd Down 33.6% SEC-4th
Interceptions 11 SEC-7th
Red-Zone 80% SEC-2nd

Top Performers

Tackles Roquan Smith 124
QB Sacks D’Andre Walker 5.5
Tackles for Loss D’Andre Walker 13.5
Interceptions Dominick Sanders 4

Special Teams

Georgia’s Mecole Hardman leads the SEC in both punt (16.9) and kick returns (27.3). Georgia also has the advantage in the kicking department with Rodrigo Blankenship’s 17/20 field goal ratio. Alabama punter JK Scott (42.40) is more recognizable but UGA’s Cameron Nizialek (44.87) is actually averaging 2-yards more per kick.

What does all this mean?

The SEC will once again own the National Championship Trophy. Will it call Athens or Tuscaloosa home? Conventional wisdom favors the Tide; thus, I’m going with the Dawgs.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

8 responses to “National Championship by the Numbers”

  1. CatManDo

    Will we hear an “SEC” chant?

    1. kuhlkat


  2. rlburd2

    Should have been “however”.

  3. makeitstop

    Saban just said he changed QBs at the half bc they needed to pass and he felt the other kid could pass better. What a concept…

  4. makeitstop

    Not throwing shade at our coaches I’m just saying take notes. Study best practice. Emulate success. Achieve success.

  5. jcmw

    What about coach Sabin’s #48 Mr. Brown’s antics? Really! He attacked a coach! After he hit a Ga. player.

  6. jcmw

    I did hear an SEC chant early on!

  7. 4everUKblue

    What a game! Roll Tide!