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Tuesday, September 10, 2013
For Saban, Alabama, revenge is often sweet

By Gregg Found, ESPN Stats & Info


Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesNick Saban knows what it takes to get the last laugh.
The “Nick Saban Revenge Tour” rolls into a new location this week, playing its first show in College Station, Texas, with Alabama hoping to avenge last year's loss to Texas A&M. It’s a tour that has been full of hits so far.

Alabama has had a chance to avenge eight of its losses under Saban and has gone 7-1 in those games.

The average margin of victory in the wins is just about three touchdowns: 20.9 points.

Only one team, SEC West rival LSU, has defeated the a Saban-led Crimson Tide in consecutive meetings.

Saban got revenge for those two LSU losses by dominating the Tigers 21-0 for the 2011 BCS title.

Here’s a run through the stops on the Revenge Tour:

2011 vs. LSU (BCS National Championship Game)
Reversal: Alabama’s defense allowed 39 rushing yards on 1.4 yards per attempt in the rematch. In the previous meeting, the Tide allowed 148 yards on 3.6 yards per attempt.

Statistical boon: No better way to get revenge than a shutout in the biggest game of the season, right? But don’t forget how Alabama cut down on penalties and mistakes. On the biggest stage, the Crimson Tide had only one penalty and no turnovers. LSU had five penalties and two turnovers.

2011 vs. Auburn
The big story in the first meeting was the comeback: Auburn trailed 24-0 but scored 28 points from 5:08 left in the second quarter onward to win. In this meeting, Alabama allowed only seven points in that time frame.

Statistical boon: Almost everything, but especially Alabama gaining 6.8 yards per play while holding Auburn to 2.6.

2011 vs. LSU
Reversal: Both the 2010 game and this game were three-point losses, but Alabama’s pass defense improved the second time around, holding LSU to 91 pass yards and picking off two passes, after allowing 208 pass yards with no interceptions in the previous meeting.

Statistical hindrance: Since Alabama lost this game, we’re calling this one statistical hindrance instead of statistical boon. And it was clear: Alabama missed four field goal attempts, including a potential game-tying field goal in overtime.

2009 vs. Florida (SEC Championship Game)
Reversal: Alabama held Tim Tebow to a 38.2 QBR in the rematch. Tebow posted an 83.0 QBR in the previous meeting.

Statistical boon: The Tide rushed for 291 yards against a stout Florida defense. It was the most rushing yards Florida had allowed in a game under Urban Meyer.

2008 vs. Auburn
Reversal: Alabama ran for 234 yards. It amassed 112 rushing yards -- with no rushes for 10 or more yards -- in the previous meeting.

Statistical boon: Not only was Alabama’s rushing offense dominant, its rushing defense was just as solid. The Tide held Auburn to 57 rushing yards on 1.9 yards per rush.


Marvin Gentry/US PresswireJavier Arenas helped Alabama avenge a loss to Mississippi State the previous year


2008 vs. Mississippi State
Reversal: The Crimson Tide held Mississippi State to 2-of-12 on third downs. They allowed the Bulldogs to go 7-of-16 on third downs in the previous meeting.

Statistical boon: Javier Arenas averaged 25.5 yards per punt return, including one that went 80 yards for a touchdown and another that went for 46 yards to the Mississippi State 2-yard line.

2008 vs. LSU
Reversal: Alabama got 126 rushing yards from Glen Coffee in the win. The team had 20 total rushing yards in its loss.

Statistical boon: Alabama picked off four passes, still the most the Tide have had in a game under Saban.

2008 vs. Georgia
Reversal: Alabama got 12.8 yards per passing attempt by John Parker Wilson. He averaged 5.3 in the loss.

Statistical boon: Alabama had five drives in the first half -- not counting a kneel-down before halftime -- resulting in 31 points: four touchdowns and a field goal.