This is my response article to the "Statistics to Remember..." article I wrote pre-Auburn.
This will be an article set you see before and after every game except the season opener from now on, assuming I make the cut to be an Alabama Featured Columnist. (I won't write the set about the season opener, because we will always set the minimum/maximum records for the first team we play.)
The 76th Iron Bowl, for the fourth year in a row, featured a team with national championship hopes looking to make its mark against its rival.
In this game, we didn't necessarily need "style points," but they definitely could have helped. Style points would set 'Bama up for the BCS National Championship Game. If we didn't get those points, an OSU victory in the Bedlam game this Saturday would have a good chance of putting OSU in the title game against LSU instead of us.
With the style points we did get, the Bedlam outcome may not even matter, unless it's an OSU blowout of OU. Only time will tell if that is the case, but this article will highlight the ways we affected Auburn and how we got those style points.
Here are the eight statistics, and some information as to why we did or didn't make a new mark on Auburn's record in the process.
Auburn's fewest passing yards in a game now stands at 62, now allowed by 'Bama instead of Arkansas.
'Bama's defense showed up to make a statement again last Saturday. They wanted to leave a mark on the voters for the BCS National Championship. They played as if they knew that.
Now, the voters know that 'Bama held Auburn to their fewest passing yards of the season. When it comes down to the ONE question that the voters should ask themselves ("Who could possibly beat LSU in the national championship?"), the answer is Alabama.
Did Alabama change this stat for Auburn? Yes. By a solid 42 yards.
Alabama allowed Auburn to rush for 78 yards. Alabama's defense showed Auburn that, if they can't pass the ball, then they must need to run the ball. Then the Tide defense just laughed and said, "We're not gonna let ya do that either, LOL!"
Alabama's defense, for the NINTH time this season, held an entire team below 100 rushing yards. Most teams are happy if they can keep Trent Richardson below 100, much less the whole team. Granted, Auburn doesn't have a Trent Richardson, but they are still an SEC team.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, but it's not like they were gashed for a rushing TD or anything, so it's still a win.
Georgia did a very good job in holding Auburn to under 200 yards. Most teams would LOVE to have that kind of defense. However, Alabama only allowed Auburn 140 yards of total offense.
Alabama has a defense that is not weak in any area. Is there room for improvement? Of course, there is always room for improvement. Unbalanced defenses are exposed by passing or rushing. The opposing team figures out which one you are weak against, and runs that style offense all day long.
Alabama came out and showed Auburn that running the ball wasn't an option, and neither was passing. There was nothing Auburn offense could do to light up the scoreboard.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? Yes, by an incredible 55 yards.
Georgia set the bar pretty high (or low) with seven as our target. Alabama had to shut Auburn out or only allow a field goal to make that happen.
When the game started, I wanted this to happen, but I didn't think it was really possible. This is the Iron Bowl, and Auburn had enough talent on the field to at least put up seven. That's where the Iron Bowl scores usually come from: talent. Previous games don't really matter, every player comes out on the field determined to win the state championship.
The Alabama defense proved its might once again. Auburn's offense put a grand total of z-e-r-o points on the scoreboard. Auburn scored on a fumble recovered in the end zone and on a kickoff returned for a touchdown.
Auburn put 14 points on the board, but not the way they put the seven up on Georgia.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, but the 14 points weren't scored against the defense, so that softens the blow. Plus, a 42-14 rout is a good way to put "warm fuzzies" in the minds of the voters come Sunday.
Alabama sniped Auburn for 184 yards through the air. Not stellar, but it's kind of difficult to put up bigger numbers when you run out of field. The end zone is less than 100 yards away every time.
We may have been out-passed by Clemson, but Clemson only put up 38 points on Auburn. If you want to think about it in terms of efficiency, we got more points per yard.
Ultimately, if you want to recruit more Trent Richardsons, you have to have a game plan that favors the run. You don't have to go all "John Fox" on the field, but the run game needs to be featured.
Alabama has balance on offense. Would we like to see more passing success? Sure. Are we looking for an "Air Raid II" nickname? Nope, not at 'Bama.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, and we don't play that game at 'Bama. Passing only wears out the secondary. We like to wear out the whole defense.
The Mississippi State @ Auburn game was a very weird game, statistically speaking. Mississippi State had the ball for 12 minutes longer than Auburn and dominated in every aspect of the game...except the scoreboard.
Mississippi State went for 500-plus yards of total offense to Auburn's 381.
It's hard to beat 333 yards on the ground, but it wasn't for lack of success, it was about running out of field. Trent Richardson alone ran for 203 yards. A career high for Richardson and a 42-14 win. We didn't need 300-plus yards on the ground.
That 213 yards turned out to be plenty, with 203 coming from Richardson all by himself.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, but really didn't need to. Richardson's Heisman moment made our run game much more effective than Mississippi State's.
Boy, Clemson got off to a huge start this season, going 8-0 before they dropped the game to Georgia Tech. Amassing 624 yards of total offense is a ridiculous number by SEC defensive standards.
If the Clemson that put these numbers up had shown up to every Clemson game, they'd be undefeated right now with a great shot at playing LSU in January.
It's almost unfair to have to compare Alabama to them, but it is what it is.
Alabama dominated this game and came away with 397 yards of total offense.
"Alabama gets more done in 397 yards than most teams get done in 500."
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, but hey 42-14 is better than 38-24.
LSU and Georgia both scored 45 points on Auburn. That's an interesting statistic that I'm keeping in mind as I look forward to the game in Atlanta this year.
LSU beat Auburn 45-10, Georgia won 45-7.
Alabama hung 42 points on these guys, but not because they couldn't have scored more. I believe that a 42-14 rout is plenty to make the BCS case for the Tide. The men on the field were the ones that needed to be on the field.
McCarron needed to get back to his former self and throw consistently to whoever was open. He did that. He could have gone deep a few times and possibly run up the score some more. But I'm glad he didn't. He went deep on LSU a lot. I don't want that mentality in him yet.
Next year, after a whole spring and summer of practice with his receivers, I want to see the deep ball. Right now, I want him to play within his capability and bring No. 14 to the Capstone.
Did Alabama change this statistic for Auburn? No, but I'm not going to hang my head over three points when 'Bama played the game they played. I'm going to hold my head high and chant S-E-C at the end of the Bedlam game.
ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!