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Graphing the Tide vs. ULM: Perusing a blowout (all graphs)

A brief chat through all of the charts

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

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It’s harder to see meaningful themes in a blowout, so instead of isolating a few graphs for discussions, we’re just gonna breeze through all of them!

Team Success Rates over time (cumulative)

The UL Monroe Warhawks almost caught up there in the 2nd quarter! The Tide offense had entered into some sort of lull to end the 1st quarter, and puttered around for a bit after that. While the Tide settled into a league-average Success Rate for a short time, ULM mounted an offensive and built an overall SR to match it! Strange moment, really.

Fortunately, the Tide still had the decisive Explosiveness advantage the entire time (and, really, some notably high explosiveness through the entire game).

Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative)

On the ULM chart, you can see the Warhawks’ spree that facilitated the SR catchup: that 2nd quarter shows their nine successful plays in a row against the Tide defense. Whoa! And note that the plays before it also showed a solid Success Rate. This spree was actually the final two (successful) plays of ULM’s lone touchdown drive, plus the following drive making way down the field before the Tide (finally?) stopped them.

As for the Tide chart, they had their own spree of seven successful plays in a row, including a few explosive catches, to end the half. This rally is what brought the cumulative SR up (previous chart) to give the 2nd quarter a high mark. The visuals don’t match up perfectly (see next chart), but trust me on the math ...

Success and Explosiveness by Quarter

The quarters chart isolates this portion of the game in a hilarious way: while the rest of the quarters absolutely look like a cupcake blowout, that 2nd quarter stands tall as this temporary offensive firefight at BDS. If the entire game had gone like this, you’d think it was one of those Big XII (say, Baylor-Oklahoma) games a few years back.

Play Map: Yards and Result by Play

The Play Map further exaggerates this contrast. The Tide were tossing and running plays of any and all distances, with a “Average Extra Yards” line well above zero for the game. It was nice to finally see some long catches, plus some breakaway runs from several backs.

As for the Warhawks: they can stand proud with that 2nd quarter drive or two. They put together a few great sequences against a great defense! But that was it. And by the 2nd half it was pretty obvious they’d given up and started playing to get back into the locker room.

SR, XR, and Play Count by Drive

The Tide offense was successful overall, but did a bit of a two-face situation from drive to drive. Three drives came in with a 100% SR (which is, um, outstanding), while two more drive showed sky-high 70-80% SRs. A few other drives were at respectable or average SRs, and then a few of those aforementioned early drives were snuffed out at 0% SRs. You gotta hate a 3-and-out against a paid cupcake.

Success and Explosiveness by Play Type

Rushing worked! Passing worked! Actually, I anticipated seeing the Rushing SR as much higher than Passing SR in this game, but it’s only a few points above after you account for end-of-game clock killing rushes. You can see it here in the Rush Rate chart ...

Rushing rate (cumulative)

Those final five rushes were, again, of the clock-killing variety. And right before those happened, Alabama’s Rushing Success Rate was 65%, which is as high as I can remember! Um, scratch that: I nearly forgot that we posted 70%+ Rushing SRs against playoff opponent Cincinnati last year. Hahahaha.

And speaking of RTDB, the Tide did indeed. Interestingly, we were still trying to work out some passing game practice throughout the first half and well into the 3rd quarter. But starting midway through the 3rd quarter, we ran the ball fourteen times in a row, absolutely tearing through a downtrodden ULM defense. There were two passes thrown in to the mix in the 4th quarter, but then the other 17-18 plays were all Rushes. Now that’s more like it.

Success and Explosiveness by Down

I’m not sure if there’s relief or concern (or either) to be read into this, but the Tide flipped their usual script by over-performing on 2nd downs, and then under-performing on 3rd downs (including zero explosive plays out of 3rd down).

In the O’Brien/Young era, we’ve gotten used to some modest 3rd down bailouts, so I suppose it’s good to see a game where the Tide posted 63 points while not doing particularly well on 3rd down.

Success and Explosiveness in the Red Zone

The Warhawks really showed their mettle in the Red Zone! In a flip from the Texas game, the Tide defense snuffed ULM’s offense (at least most of the time), except in the Red Zone. The latter had been where they stood strong against Texas despite some alarming success between the 20s.

Success and Explosiveness by Distance to go

This is a surprisingly normal-looking chart for the Tide. They did well on first downs, but then otherwise posted higher SR’s on short yardage situations than long-yardage situations. There ya go!

Top Rushers

I gave Roydell Williams the image feature on the (lone) article this week. This could’ve gone to multi-tool Jahmyr Gibbs (again), suddenly-a-WR Cameron Latu, safety blanket Traeshon Holden or even forgotten son RB Trey Sanders for his 100% Rushing SR. But That “all Roydell all the time” drive in the 3rd quarter was so much fun.

In general, it’s good to se so many rushers on this chart. Aside from a strange (perhaps situational) lower SR for Jase McClellan, everyone rushed very efficiently. Oh, and for those of you also new to this name, Jonathan Bennett is a Junior RB from Oak Mountain who plays for the Crimson Tide ... and he had a 50% SR on two runs! Roll Tide, Jonathan.

Top Passers

Bryce Young threw two INTs! But otherwise was efficient in limited attempts. We’re back to the sort of passing game that doesn’t show a lot of “unsuccessful catches,” in stark contrast to last week. That’s likely influenced by facing lower-division athletes, too, as the Tide’s skill players could make successful outcomes even on short passes.

Top Receivers

I gave my nods earlier to Cam Latu, Gibbs, and Holden, but it was good to see a few other sets of hands catching balls further downfield. Ja’Corey Brooks is still coming up in moments (though wasn’t able to corral in an iffy pass, instead deflecting it for a surprise reflex INT). I had to wait for the announcers to tell me who Amari Niblack was after I saw some dude in Crimson catch a TD pass from Bryce Young. And Jermaine Burton is hopefully beginning his comeback tour after lapsing after the Utah State game.

Honestly I’d kind of expect to see more receiving targets in a blowout game, but nonetheless it’s good to see that every Tide player who caught a pass in this game, in fact, caught at least one explosive pass. More of that, please!

Roll Tide, y’all; see you for “conference play” next week.