Perusing this morning's Jumbo Package you'll note there is an Associated Press story about the Alabama Crimson Tide's commitment this year to completing games by playing hard through the fourth quarter. Two weeks ago, Coach Saban noted that this year's team was not performing as well after halftime and kindly requested fans help with that situation.
So is this actually the case? Did poor performance in the second half doom Alabama last season and are we seeing any improvement this year? To get a better idea, I dug up the stats. Here are the average points scored both by and against Alabama per quarter over the last three seasons.
The first thing that jumps out is that nobody has scored a point on the Crimson Tide in the second quarter this season. The next thing you notice is that the defense is limiting teams to less than a field goal per game after halftime and less than a safety in the fourth quarter. Yes, it's a small sample size thus far but we can say with some confidence the team is performing as we had hoped in this phase of the game.
The next thing worth noting in the offense. Drop back to 2010 and you notice while opposing teams tended to score slightly more on average against the Tide in this final stanza of the game, the bigger discrepancy is with the Alabama offense. Despite strong performance in the first three quarters, the dropoff in the last is stark. And this is odd because arguably the offense was more productive and efficient than the season prior.
In 2011, though, Alabama's offense has been performing at a consistently high level after halftime. While the opposing team's scoring production has tended to atrophy over the final 30 minutes of play, the Crimson Tide's has stayed reliably consistent.