The Alabama football team and Clemson enter tonight’s College Football Playoff championship game riding dominant defensive performances in their semifinal victories.
Will the game be a defensive battle or a shootout like Alabama’s win against Clemson in last season’s title game?
Here’s a by-the-numbers glance at how the two teams stack up against each other tonight (8:17 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Tampa:
Alabama vs. Clemson: Comparing offenses
|39.3||Points per game||39.5|
|5.7||Avg. yards per rush||4.5|
|56-63||Red zone attempts-scores||53-63|
|39-63||Red zone TDs||45-63|
|31:20||Time of possession||30:18|
- Clemson QB Deshaun Watson hasn’t run the ball as much this season (143 carries, 581 yards) as he did last season (207-1,105). But he’s gained 208 of his rushing yards in Clemson’s last four games and has scored 6 of his 8 rushing TDs in those four games.
- Wayne Gallman has 16 100-yard rushing games in his career and Clemson has won everyone one of them. This season, he has five.
- Alabama had one of its worst offensive performances of the season in the College Football Playoff against Washington. The Crimson Tide managed just 326 yards (5.1 yards per play) and converted 4 of 14 third-down attempts. In tonight’s game, Steve Sarkisian will be Alabama’s offensive coordinator, replacing Lane Kiffin. Will that create a new energy, a change in play-calling? That will be worth watching.
Alabama vs. Clemson: Comparing defenses
|11.4||Points allowed per game||17.1|
|2.0||Avg. yards per rush||3.5|
|3||Rushing TDs allowed||17|
|12||Passing TDs allowed||12|
|17-21||Red zone attempts-scores||28-35|
|8-21||Red zone TDs||21-35|
- Alabama has a playmaking secondary and as dangerous as Watson is, you can bet Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Marlon Humphrey and Co. are eager for the opportunity to intercept a pass or two. Watson’s tossed 17 picks this season, including two games where he was picked off three times and three games where he was intercepted twice.
- The Tigers posted three shutouts this season, but none was as impressive as the 31-0 rout of Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinal. The Buckeyes managed only 215 yards, 9 first downs and 3.8 yards per play.
- Alabama’s performance against Washington in the semifinal might have been better. The Huskies were held to 194 yards and 2.9 yards per play — both season lows by far.