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Graphing the Tide vs. Southern Miss: Finally, Really, Better

Let’s keep it simple for this one

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Finally we got a “cupcake game” that Tide fans can feel good about: plenty of points, beat the spread, outright dominance on the scoreboard and in these charts. Let’s peruse.

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Success Rate (SR) and Explosive Rate (XR) by Team

Ahhhh the two Alabama bars — Success Rate and Explosiveness Rate — are both better than the two that Southern Miss put up. That’s right, Alabama’s explosiveness rate was better than the opponent’s success rate. That’s the kind of performance we like to see in a cupcake game, not the notable efficiency comeback that the Mercer bears put up a few weeks ago.

Play Map: Yards and Result by Play

The Tide started hot, with 6 explosive plays in the 1st quarter alone: that 1st quarter 38% XR is pretty astonishing and extreme! I wonder if we even got a number like this in the heady Tua days in 2018. Nice job, Bryce and co.

On the Southern Miss side, they did manage to have at least a tiny bit of success in each quarter, but they only totaled 13 successful plays for the entire game. That is very, very few.

Success and Explosiveness by Play Type

In another departure from the Mercer game, the Tide took the cake — in dominant fashion, I might add — in both rushing and passing. And this time our passing was actually more efficient than rushing, contributing mightily to our explosiveness in the process.

Interestingly, neither of these were terribly efficient. Some of that was the 4th quarter drags, but I’d call this a more explosive win that a particularly efficient one.

Success and Explosiveness by Down

This subjectively-disturbing downs trend continued, with the Tide doing ok on first down, well on 2nd (this time), and then leaning mightily on 3rd down (and a wee bit on 4th) to close the deal. I’d really rather keep things healthy on early downs, but if we keep these kind of 3rd down success rates for the entire season, I’ll be more convinced that it’s a matter of the playcalling and not random signal or something else.

In general, that both teams had increasing SR’s and XR’s across every quarter is both a quantitative and visual anomaly. What a weird chart! Everything just climbs and climbs.

Rushing rate (cumulative)

I’ve been semi-griping (#RTDB) about our low rush rates all season — especially with a deep RB room and a young QB! — but the Tide-iverse righted itself this week. Funny that in a week that Bryce was passing less — only 22 passes — he was passing even better and extremely accurately. Coincidence? I think not.

Yeah, this was an easy game but I hope we find it in us to continue the #RTDB all season to the degree that it helps our offense succeed.

Top Rushers, Alabama

Alright, Brian Robinson Jr. was out this week, so you don’t have to hear me go on about our famously efficient RB1!

Jase and Roydell both had nice moments in efficient (if not amazing) outings. All in all, they ended up about even in these charts, with Williams getting one less rep to try and tie things up. We got to see some Trey Sanders with the backups — if I recall correctly — and the efficiency numbers spell a pretty disappointing day. QB Jalen Milroe also showed some wheels but was technically unsuccessful in his two rushing attempts.

Top Passers, Alabama

Bryce Young was accurate! Your own lyin’ eyes, and all the media coming out of the game, could tell you as much. But interestingly, once again a lot of the “unsuccessful passes” were catches that just didn’t get far enough. Usually, it’s a relief that it’s not on the QB, but in this case it actually takes some wind out of the sales of Bryce’s otherwise statistical magic that we saw out of this game. Hopefully the traditional box score and QBR will be the part that wows the Heisman voters.

Oh, and yeah that Interception — Young’s first in his college career — was not his fault.

Top Receivers, Alabama

The receivers chart is exciting! This is the first time in the Graphing the Tide series that I’ve had the occasion to feature two Tide TEs, with Jahleel Billingsley getting top Billing (see what I did there) with his 80% XR/SR on 5 attempts; then Latu coming in right behind with a 50% XR and 100% SR. Excellent job, big catchers.

Yes, Jameson Williams had an excellent game for several reasons — non-withstanding the bobble INT — but special teams stuff isn’t featured in the Graphs, and his receiver line was extreme but small.

Otherwise it’s good to see some other explosiveness on the board: Slade Bolden, John Metchie III and Javon Baker all tallied at least one ... though Metchie had a surprisingly inefficient game otherwise.

Bonus charts

Play Map: Oklahoma barely beats West Virginia

Some of you may have caught Oklahoma’s latest in their season-long series of underwhelming barely-wins that’ll probably see them in — and then absolutely pasted in — the Playoff. In this view, we see Okie put enough just barely enough traction in the 4th quarter to eke out a win. Nice job, Sooners, way to hide for one more week.

Success by Downs: Auburn scrapes by G5 Georgia State

In a similar vein, the Auburn Eagle-Hare’s should’ve lost to G5 Georgia State — the graphs all suggest a pretty even game across most metrics — but Auburn’d out of it with a lone 4th-and-9 pass (by the non-Bo-Nix QB) at the last minute. Major kudos for another ranked team managing to hide for a while. See you in November, you fools.

Roll Tide! See the All Graphs article from this game for more. Hopefully the next time I see you — after a scary-looking Ole Miss matchup — we’ll be cheers’ing once again.