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Seven “begrudgingly positive” graphs from the Miss State game

It will be overshadowed by Tua’s injury, but it was a good statistical day for the Tide

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

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Team Success Rates (cumulative)

Yes, I know that this isn’t the most important storyline right now. Tua Tagovailoa is very hurt, and that means that his season, his team, and his career have sustained serious damage this weekend. We’ll rightfully be talking about this days, weeks, and years to come.

That said, his final few quarters in Crimson (probably) were great ones: he hit seven explosive passes and helped rack up 35 points in a half, holding up solid ~55-65% success rates through the quarter. The 2019 Alabama Crimson Tide offense showed what happens when it comes into the game confident and unshaken by the moment.

And for their part, Mac Jones and the team kept things humming through the rest of the game after Tua’s exit. Aside form a 4th quarter clock-bleeding swoon, they kept efficiencies in the high 50s and delivered another 5 explosive plays after halftime.

The defense stepped up to help out, too, shoving the Mississippi State Bulldogs to under 30% SR in the second quarter and pretty much keeping them down through the rest of the game.

This is a good team, folks, and it’s worth celebrating the effort that Tua, Mac, and the rest of these men put up against the Bulldogs.

Success and Explosiveness by Quarter

This chart pretty much tells the same story, but with a few important isolations. For one, Tua and team’s first quarter showed their usual excellence, with a 25% explosiveness rate and a solid 60% success rate. We’ve gotten spoiled around here during the golden Tagovailoa years, but with any other QB you’d be gushing over a quarter like this. For Tua, it’s been fairly normal.

That second quarter was pretty good as well, for the offense; but was downright excellent for the defense. Yessir, that is exactly zero successful plays for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the 2nd quarter of Saturday’s game. I believe that’s the first time this happened this season—yep, even including New Mexico State.

The 3rd quarter is interesting not due to the Tide’s efficiency—50% is good, not fantastic, and they let the Bulldogs get nearly a 40% SR—but that explosiveness was excellent. Basically, the mixture of Najee Harris, Devonta Smith, and Mac Jones is a potent, explosive concoction. Let’s see more of that for the remainder of this sad season, shall we? Please?

Success and Explosiveness by Play Type

We’ve gotten used to seeing this with this 2019 offense: a very explosive (and pretty efficient) passing game combined with a very efficient (if not very explosive) rushing attack. Fortunately, both categories beat MSU by a mile when you include all quarters.

Success and Explosiveness by Down

This wasn’t a very meaningful chart for Mississippi State; but the Tide showed for once that it can indeed convert on 3rd down even when everything else isn’t working out. Remember all of those third-and-long conversions in the first half? We should count our lucky stars that it worked for us again and again in that half—though obviously our luck burned out sometime around the “2 minute drill.”

Rushing rate (cumulative), Alabama

This is balance. This year’s offense rarely ends up on the “run first” >50% end of this chart, but this one is pretty close. More importantly, we’re seeing great balance and success from both play types.

Top Tacklers, Alabama

This is a much friendlier tacklers chart than we saw from the LSU game. All these empty bars (representing unsuccessful plays by the Tide’s opponent) are refreshing after that ugly purple and yellow game. This is as things should be.

Let’s thank the defense:

  • Thank you, Anfernee Jennings. You probably deserved another sack or two on Saturday, but even without them you were very disruptive.
  • Thank you, Shyheim Carter. 4.5 stops on unsuccessful plays is very high for a DB.
  • Thank you, Xavier McKinney. You had to chase that one guy way down the field, but otherwise you were also surprisingly disruptive for a DB. Per usual.
  • Trevon Diggs, I see you too, putting up a similar disruptive-DB performance. Also, thanks for the almost-so-perfect interception that you definitely-almost had. You needed a bounce-back game after the Tiger mauling.
  • Thank you, Shane Lee. You were a bit vulnerable in pass coverage early, per usual, but otherwise you were excellent, with those team-high 5 stops on unsuccessful plays.
  • Thank you, Christian Barmore and Byron Young, for coming in with your young selves to disrupt the Bulldogs and stop them in their tracks. Your fellow freshman D.J. Dale was a little banged up and needed you to lend a hand. You did.
  • Thank you, Ben Davis, for making a tackle in a game. And it was on an unsuccessful play, too!
  • Terrell Lewis: where were you? I know that in your heart and in your skeletal frame, you are a ferocious dinosaur. Will we witness it again against Auburn?
  • And thanks to MSU QB Tommy Stevens, who is appearing in this chart due to a likely data error that I’ve got somewhere in them spreadsheets. Oh well. #refund

Top Passers, Miss State

Speaking of MSU QB Tommy Stevens: here’s our “most depressing data visualization of the day.” This is such, SUCH a bad QB line. I’m going to spare you the receivers chart in this here article, but it’s bad news, too: you can find that in the accompanying “all graphs” post from this game.

Folks, we’ve had it easy and downright swell this last decade; but sometimes things get tough. Good news is, the sad feelings now just make the happy ones even happier later on.

Roll Tide, Regardless.