Did you know, SEC championship game style
December, 4, 2009
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
A little bit of this and a little bit of that as we get ready for the SEC championship game:
- Florida has won a nation’s best and school-record 22 consecutive games, the fourth-best winning streak in SEC history. It marks the longest winning streak in the SEC in the past 15 years and the third longest in the nation this decade.
- Alabama running back Mark Ingram did not have a run of 10 or more yards last week against Auburn. The last time Ingram didn’t have at least one run of 10 yards was last season's SEC championship game against Florida.
- Ingram has gained 908 yards after contact this season on 249 touches (221 rushes and 28 receptions). He's gained 54.2 percent of his total yards after contact this season (908 of 1,675). He reeled off a season-best 167 total yards after contact against South Carolina on 24 rushes and two receptions. He also broke the 100-yard barrier on yards after contact against Virginia Tech (115) and LSU (107) and got close at Ole Miss (95).
- Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has been excellent this season when the Crimson Tide trail in the fourth quarter, completing 11 of 14 passes. On the other side, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has thrown just one pass this season with the Gators behind in the fourth quarter, and it was a 1-yard completion to Brandon James.
- Florida has allowed 11 touchdowns this season, four fewer than any other team in the nation. The Gators are the only team in the country allowing less than one touchdown per game on average.
- Alabama is the only school in the SEC to have won a conference title in every decade since the league was formed in 1933. This is the Crimson Tide’s last chance to keep that streak alive. They’ve won 21 SEC titles. Their last one came in 1999, which means this is the longest they’ve gone without a title.
- One of Alabama’s strengths under Nick Saban has been controlling the football. The Crimson Tide ranked 11th nationally last season with an average time of possession of 32:08. They’re fifth nationally this season with an average time of possession of 33:00.
- Florida returns 19 starters and 44 players who saw action in last season’s SEC championship game, while Alabama returns 10 starters and 36 players from the 2008 game.
- Florida has committed the fewest turnovers in the nation (80) since Urban Meyer arrived as coach in 2005. Alabama and Central Michigan are tied for the second fewest nationally during that span, each with 81.
- Alabama’s Javier Arenas needs 37 yards to become the NCAA leader in career punt return yardage. Arenas has 1,725 yards. The record is held by Wes Welker, who had 1,761 yards at Texas Tech from 2000-03. Arenas has already broken the SEC record with seven punt returns for touchdowns in a career. If he returns another one for a score, he would tie the NCAA record.
- Florida is one of only four FBS teams that has averaged over 6 yards per carry this season when you discount sacks. The threat of the running game has really helped Tebow when throwing downfield this season, and in 2008 it helped Tebow against Alabama. On throws of 15 yards or longer this season, Tebow is 18-of-33 with nine touchdowns and one interception when using play-action. When he doesn’t use play-action, he’s 10-of-24 with two touchdowns and one interception.
- Florida and Alabama have been two of the worst teams in the country this season at converting red zone trips into touchdowns. Florida has 28 touchdowns on 56 trips inside the red zone, which puts the Gators in a tie for 90th nationally. Alabama has been even worse. The Crimson Tide have only scored 21 touchdowns in 49 red zone trips, which ranks them in a tie for 112th nationally.
- Alabama receiver Julio Jones has been non-existent in the red zone this season. His only catch came against FCS opponent Chattanooga. The Crimson Tide have thrown to him 14 times in the red zone.
- Jones appears healthier and has been much more involved in the Alabama offense the last half of the season. He has 27 catches for 370 yards and three touchdowns over his last five games. That’s after catching just 13 passes for 175 yards in the first seven games. Jones missed the North Texas contest and most of the Florida International game with a bruised knee.
- The Gators are 44-1 under Meyer when scoring first in a game, and they’re 50-3 when leading at the half.