Alabama defense ranks in top 5 nationally 9th year in a row

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Those last 2 yards by Clemson not only cost Alabama another championship, they also knocked the Crimson Tide out of sole possession of the top spot on the national total defense chart.

After allowing the Tigers 511 yards in the College Football Playoff title game Monday night - with the last 2 coming on Deshaun Watson's winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with a second left - the Tide's season average went from 244 yards per game to 261.8.

That left Alabama in a virtual tie with Michigan - virtual because the Wolverines' average, though listed by the NCAA at 261.8, is actually 261.76.

The Tide played 15 games, Michigan played 13.

As it is, 'Bama has finished in the top five in total defense every year since 2008.

Alabama also finished first in rushing defense for the second straight year, at 63.9 yards a game, and first in scoring defense, at 13 points a game.


A look at other notable statistical feats in 2016:


Texas' D'Onta Foreman led the nation in rushing with an average of 184.4 yards per game.

San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey broke Ron Dayne's FBS career rushing record. Pumphrey finished with 6,405 yards; Dayne had 6,397 for Wisconsin from 1996-99.


Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield set the NCAA single-season record for passing efficiency with a mark of 196.4. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson previously held the record (191.8 in 2011 for Wisconsin). Efficiency is measured using a formula that takes into account pass attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions.

Mayfield completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 3,965 yards, with 40 touchdowns against eight interceptions. His per-attempt average of 11.1 yards tied the NCAA record set by BYU's Ty Detmer in 1989.


Zay Jones of East Carolina finished with an FBS-record 158 receptions, three more than Freddie Barns of Bowling Green in 2009. Jones' 13.2 catches per game ranks second all-time behind Howard Twilley's 13.4 for Tulsa in 1965.


Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes was the total offense leader for the second straight year. Mahomes averaged 444.8 yards a game in 2016, the most since Tech's B.J. Symons averaged 459.7 in 2003. Mahomes' average was up 51 yards from last season, in part because of his 734 yards in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 22.


Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, despite battling injury, led the nation in all-purpose yards average for the second year in a row. His 211.5 yards a game were well ahead of Joe Mixon's 194.3 for Oklahoma but far short of his 276-yard average in 2015.


Harold Landry of Boston College edged out fellow defensive end DeMarcus Walker of Florida State for the national lead in sacks. Landry had 1 1/2 sacks against Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl, pushing his total to a school-record 16 1/2. Walker had one sack against Michigan in the Orange Bowl for a total of 16.


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