November 5, 2017 6:33:05 PM
It's time. This is the week that ends with big bad Alabama coming to Starkville. For this big event, I'm going to tailor this week's Statistically Speaking exclusively to this matchup.
9 -- Alabama has allowed nine first-quarter points all season long. Alabama's outscored opponents 114-9 in the first quarter, meaning on average, the Crimson Tide ends the first quarter with a 12.6-1 lead. MSU hasn't been half bad in the first quarter, either, outscoring opponents 73-40.
135 -- Nick Fitzgerald's run up the records books as rushing yards by SEC quarterbacks go is going to meet its most difficult challenge yet. A week after running for 135 yards on UMass, he's going to face a defense that allows 75.78 rushing yards per game -- total, much less to the quarterbacks. With how often Alabama sacks quarterbacks (3.22 times per game), I wouldn't be surprised if Alabama's rushing yards allowed to quarterbacks per game is well below 50.
47 -- MSU might want to take a look at what LSU's offense did on third downs to move the chains. LSU converted on nine of its 19 third downs (47.3 percent); before the LSU game, Alabama had allowed opponents to convert just 25 percent of the time.
11 -- Alabama was only penalized once for 11 yards against LSU. That's better than normal for Alabama, but not by much: Alabama's a top 25 team in avoiding penalties, averaging 43.1 penalty yards per game. MSU averages 49.4 penalty yards per game and ranks 50th in that regard.
5 -- Relying on tackles for a loss might not be the best way to go about stopping Alabama's offense. MSU did just that with 5 tackles for a loss against UMass last week, but Alabama is averaging just 3.78 tackles for a loss allowed per game.
5.5 -- MSU's 5.5 yards per play against UMass may have been slightly behind its season pace (standing at 5.7 after that performance), but it's still much better than what teams do against Alabama. The Tide defense is averaging 3.96 yards allowed per play.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter, @Brett_Hudson