Alabama looked like a second-half team these past two games. It scored more points and totaled more offensive yards in the latter two quarters than it did in the first and second quarters, which was a first for the Crimson Tide this season.
In its first 10 games, Alabama held a double-digit lead over every opponent at halftime. But against The Citadel two weeks ago, the teams were tied. Then, during the Iron Bowl, Alabama had just a three-point lead over Auburn when they went into the locker rooms.
“You always want to make sure your team is physically fresh,” UA coach Nick Saban said Monday. “But the more difficult thing to determine is, are the players getting mentally tired? And I think that you want to make sure that both parts of that equation are in order, to be fresh and ready to go. I can’t say 100 percent for sure if that’s had anything to do with how we’ve started the last two games.
“If we were physically tired, we wouldn’t have been able to come out and play so well in the second half. But if we were mentally tired, maybe that affected our preparation going into the game, which affected how we started.”
The first 10 games saw Alabama average 350.4 yards of total offense in the first half and then 189.1 yards in the second half, meaning it had nearly double the production in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, in these last two games, the Crimson Tide averaged 197.5 yards per game in the first half and 333 in the second half. The productivity flipped.
The same can be said about points. UA went from scoring an average of 34.7 points in the first half in its first 10 games to an average of 13.5 points in its recent two games. But then in the second half – comparing the same games – Alabama went from scoring an average of 13.9 points to 37.5 points.
“I think we started off fast throughout the first part of the season, (but) it was one of those things where we took off the third and fourth quarters.” Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said. “And then when we came into the second half of the season, we started off slower but we finished a lot better.
“It’s one of those things where we got to be able to find balance. We got to be able to start fast and finish strong. Can’t be just one dimensional with starting fast and not finishing strong or vice versa.”
Especially with the SEC Championship Game coming up on Saturday.
Georgia is outscoring opponents 285-86 (16.6-point advantage on average) in the first two quarters and 196-120 (6.3-point advantage on average) in the second half this season.
Regardless, one fact still remains. Perhaps the only one that matters.
“We’ve won every game by 21 or more points,” Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams said. “I mean, there’s a lot to be excited about.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.