Georgia Bulldogs: ESPN Stats & Info

Alabama powers its way to SEC title

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
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John David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsEddie Lacy ran for 181 yards for Alabama.

Alabama won its first SEC championship since 2009, handing Georgia an SEC championship game loss for the second straight season.

The Tide got it done on the ground. They ran for 350 rushing yards, the most in SEC championship game history.

Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon became the first teammates to each run for 100 yards in SEC championship game history. Lacy’s 181 rushing yards are the third-most in the history of the SEC title game.

The Tide were committed to the run, as they ran the ball 51 times, two shy of the SEC championship game record of 53.

Two tight ends, too much

Alabama ran 36 times for a season-high 298 yards with two or more tight ends in the formation. The Tide ran out of this personnel package on 26 of their 34 second-half plays, gaining 199 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama averaged a season-high 5.5 yards before contact out of this formation.

AJ McCarron completed 8 of 9 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown with two or more tight ends in the formation.

Getting it done inside the tackles

Alabama outrushed Georgia 304-72 inside the tackles. The Tide averaged 8.0 yards per carry on such runs, including a season-high 13 that gained 10 yards or more. Lacy (172) and Yeldon (125) led the way for Alabama, with both running backs gaining over 100 yards inside the tackles for the second time this season. They also did it against Missouri.

Strong run game leads to play action

McCarron completed 5 of 7 passes off play action for 116 yards and a touchdown. McCarron has 11 touchdown passes off a run fake this season, six more than he had all of last season. Eight of the 11 touchdowns have been on passes thrown 20 yards or longer, including Cooper’s 45-yard touchdown against Georgia.

Georgia’s defense allowed a season-high 512 total yards, just the second time the Bulldogs allowed 500 yards in the past seven seasons. For the first time since at least 2000, they’ve allowed 300 rushing yards in three straight games.

Alabama will most assuredly face Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game on January 7, as the SEC goes for its seventh straight BCS National Championship.
The Big 12's held on all season, but the SEC finally passed it for the No. 1 spot in the ESPN Stats & Info Conference Power Rankings.

The Big 12 still has the No. 1 spot in the computer polls, but the Big 12 took a hit in the human polls after just four Big 12 teams showed up in Sunday's AP rankings. The SEC took the lead by a full point after steadily creeping up on the Big 12 since the rankings debuted.

What was the biggest factor for the move? From the Stats & Info Blog:
Losses by Top-5 teams LSU and Georgia did not impact the SEC’s conference ranking because they lost to teams that were also in the Top 10.

On the other hand, losses by TCU and Texas Tech impacted the Big 12 in the rankings since they lost to teams with worse records entering the game.

The computers still favor the Big 12 over the SEC due to the depth of the conference, but the gap has narrowed. The SEC’s dominance in the polls has vaulted the conference into first place for the first time since the final conference power rankings of the 2011 season.

It's going to be a tight race all season, but for now, the SEC's pulled ahead by a nose.

Big plays on first down helping Georgia

October, 6, 2012
10/06/12
1:03
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(No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks host the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday at 7 ET on ESPN.)

One of the most marquee games on Saturday is the SEC East showdown between Georgia and South Carolina. And the spotlight won’t shine any brighter than it does on the explosive Georgia offense. The Bulldogs' 43 plays of 20+ yards (26 pass, 17 rush) are six more than any other FBS team and 15 more than any other SEC team.

Something that might exacerbate the issue for the home Gamecocks is that they have been vulnerable to big passing plays, having allowed 17 completions of at least 20 yards (tied for third most in the SEC). The Gamecocks have been much stingier against the run, allowing just two runs of 20+ yards, which is tied for the fewest in the SEC.

Georgia has also had a great deal of success on first down, averaging an FBS-best 9.6 yards per play -- including 14.0 yards per pass attempt. When the Bulldogs throw on first down, they have converted first downs 49.2 percent of the time, best in FBS.

Statistically, that should suit Georgia just fine since the key to moving the ball against South Carolina on first down is throwing the ball. The Gamecocks allow just 2.0 yards per rush on first down; however their defense allows 7.5 yards per pass attempt on first down. That ranks 11th in the 14-team SEC.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S BEST HOPE
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the key for South Carolina up front. Clowney is second in the SEC in both tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (5.5). He had his breakout game last season against Georgia with two sacks and a forced fumble that Melvin Ingram returned for a touchdown.

If South Carolina can slow Georgia down and force it into converting on third down, then the Bulldogs could be at a disadvantage. That's because Georgia lost leading receiver Michael Bennett to a season-ending knee injury on Tuesday. QB Aaron Murray often looked to Bennett on third down this season, completing 19-of-32 throws on third down with eight of those completions going to Bennett.

The loss of Bennett hurts, but the return of WR/CB Malcolm Mitchell to offense on a near-full-time basis should help replace Bennett’s third-down production. Last season, Murray was 14-20 throwing to Mitchell on third downs, with all 14 completions going for first downs.

First down issues put Gators in hole

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
1:17
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The SEC’s two newest members play their first conference games on Saturday, with Texas A&M hosting No. 24 Florida (3:30 ET, ESPN) and Missouri hosting No. 7 Georgia (7:45 ET, ESPN2).

QB questions for A&M, Florida
After the Aggies' opening game against Louisiana Tech was postponed by Hurricane Isaac, this week will be the first game at Texas A&M for Kevin Sumlin.

Last year with Houston, Sumlin’s offense led FBS in points per game (49), yards per game (599) and pass yards per game (450). But that was with Case Keenum at quarterback.

(Read full post)

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