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14 SEC Stats You Need to Know for 2016

Jalen Hurd is less than 900 yards away from becoming Tennessee's all-time leading rusher

Yet again the SEC appears loaded entering the 2016 college football season. Not only is Alabama the defending national champion, but five other schools from the conference are also in Athlon Sports’ Top 25.

 

Related: SEC Football 2016 Predictions

 

Here are the most important and interesting stats for each team in the SEC that you need to know about in 2016. 

 

1,136: Rushing yards given up by Alabama all of last season

We've always known about the Crimson Tide's reputation for stopping the run, but they made it even more apparent last season. Remarkably, Alabama played 15 games (more than any SEC team), yet still led the conference in fewest yards allowed on the ground by far. LSU was the next closest team, giving up 1,475 yards rushing in 12 games.

 

167.1: Arkansas' pass efficiency rating

Since Bret Bielema got to Fayetteville in 2013, Arkansas has been known mostly for its bruising offensive lines and stable of running backs. But it is often forgotten just how balanced Bielema's teams usually are. After steady improvement from quarterback Brandon Allen, the Hogs became one of the SEC's best passing teams. That 167.1 efficiency rating led the SEC.

 

2-7: Auburn's record against ranked opponents last two years

There's no denying the fact that Auburn has been on a slow decline, record-wise at least, since Gus Malzahn's first year. But not only are the Tigers winning fewer games at a pivotal time in Malzahn's tenure, they also are winning fewer games against teams in the Top 25. Last year, Auburn's best win arguably was the bowl victory over Memphis.

 

.412: Florida's field goal percentage

Florida struggled in the kicking game last season more than any team in the SEC. The Gators went 7-of-17 on field goal attempts, ranking dead last in the conference. Every other team hit at least 60 percent of its field goal attempts. To make matters worse, Florida ranked No. 127 out of 128 teams in the nation in field goal kicking percentage.

 

244: Passing yards from Jacob Eason in Georgia's spring game

It would be hard to find a true freshman that played cleaner in a spring game. Eason is in a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job in Athens heading into the fall, but it's going to be tough for first-year head coach Kirby Smart to keep the prized recruit off the field. Former Georgia standout Hines Ward recently said he was in favor of Eason becoming the starting quarterback.

 

2011: The last time Kentucky made it to a bowl game

The Wildcats have the longest bowl drought of any SEC team, having not made it to the postseason in five years. In its last bowl appearance, Kentucky lost 27-10 to Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala to close out its 2011 season. No doubt, head coach Mark Stoops is hoping his team can finally get over the hump and find a way to win at least six games this fall.

 

97: LSU's penalty total

Sure, we could go on and on about Leonard Fournette and LSU's rushing attack, but you're probably already aware of how good it is. What you might not know is that the Tigers were the SEC's most penalized team last season. LSU lost an average of 65 yards per game in penalties. Those yards could be very valuable in close games.

 

11,985: Dak Prescott's career total yardage at Mississippi State

Mississippi State fans are sick of hearing it, but it's going to be mighty interesting to see how the Bulldogs fare at quarterback this fall. How bad will the drop-off be now that Prescott is in the NFL? He did it all in Starkville, amassing 114 touchdowns as well.

 

4: Weeks Missouri went without scoring a touchdown last year

Mizzou put up 24 points against South Carolina on Oct. 3 but didn't muster another touchdown until Nov. 5 against Mississippi State. It was an ugly drought and an ugly year for the offense in general. The Tigers scored only 16 touchdowns all year, averaging 13.6 points per game. Only one other team in all of FBS (Kent State) scored fewer points than Missouri in 2015.

 

8: 300-yard passing games from Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly

Other SEC quarterbacks can't hold a candle to Kelly when it comes to throwing the ball. Kelly eclipsed the 300-yard mark eight times last season, including a 341-yard performance at Alabama. He finished the season with 4,042 yards through the air and 31 touchdowns. The Rebels are glad to have him back.

 

217.42: Average opponent rushing yards vs. South Carolina

The Gamecocks' run defense couldn't stop anybody last year. It's an area that new head coach Will Muschamp has already put a keen emphasis on, and for good reason. South Carolina gave up a whopping 396 yards on the ground against LSU. But at least the Tigers had Leonard Fournette. Later in the year, The Citadel, an FCS member, piled up 350.

 

892: Yards needed for Jalen Hurd to become Tennessee's all-time leading rusher

The Volunteers are poised for a big year on the ground and Hurd will be a key factor. Hurd is close to breaking Travis Henry's career rushing mark of 3,078 yards if he can stay healthy. Last season, Hurd finished with 1,288 yards on the ground and Tennessee ranked second in the SEC in rushing.

 

20%: Texas A&M's opponents' fourth down conversion rate

Only 20 percent of the time did the Aggies allow their opponents to convert on fourth down. Texas A&M led the SEC by a landslide in that category, giving up only three first downs on 15 attempts. "Chief" John Chavis has the Aggies' defense playing tough when it matters.

 

-8: Vanderbilt's turnover margin

This stat isn't as bad as it was heading into last season when Vanderbilt was minus-16. But it also doesn’t change the fact that the Commodores finished rank last in the SEC in turnover margin for a second straight season. They lost nine fumbles and 16 interceptions in 2015. The defense continues to do its part but Vandy has to quit turning it over so much. The Commodores showed improvement from 2014 to ’15. Can they make it three years in a row?

 

— Written by Cody McClure, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a radio host and lead SEC Writer for Three Point Stance Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @CodyMcClureCFB.

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