The Alabama defense makes scoring difficult for any opponent. It’s even tougher when the defense is getting help from the offense and special teams.
According to CFBanalytics.com, Alabama’s opponents are starting drives an average of 75.17 yards from the end zone. That’s the third-best mark in the nation. LSU had 13 drives on Saturday, starting an average of 80.16 yards away from the end zone. The Tigers’ best field position all night came at the 39 to start a drive.
That was largely due to the efforts of punter JK Scott, who averaged 51.6 yards per punt on eight attempts. Six of his punts dropped inside the 20.
But the Alabama offense has a say in it, too. Alabama leads the nation with just five turnovers lost, and only three of those have come on offense. The Crimson Tide didn’t have a turnover against LSU.
“Turnover ratio is really important to being successful and ours is pretty good right now, and that’s something that’s going to be critical down the road here, that we continue to get turnovers and continue to take care of the football,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think that special teams is something that the number-one goal is to control vertical field position. So if you combine those two things I think it does create some advantages in terms of the field position that we get.”
On the other side, Alabama’s offense is averaging the fourth-best average field position, needing an average of 62.55 yards to score when starting drives.
Alabama’s six SEC opponents have only started three drives in UA territory; the defense surrendered one touchdown on those three drives.
“On defense, we focus on three-and-outs every time,” linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. “We try to get three-and-outs every time.”
Without short fields from special teams plays or turnovers, opposing offenses are looking at a long road to the end zone against the Alabama defense. That’s a stiff task for even the best offenses. Field position has played a role in Alabama’s success this season.
“I think the most significant effect it had was probably in the last game – relative to the results and where LSU got a lot of drive starts was a real advantage for us,” Saban said.