| NEWS 95 days to kickoff: Examining Alabama's 95 penalties in 2019 - TideSports.com


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A season-long penalties problem proved to be most costly at the end of the University of Alabama’s season last year, in its final possession of the Iron Bowl. Fifteen penalty yards slowed progress on a drive that ultimately ended with a missed field goal attempt on the 11-yard line.

The field goal could have tied the game; without the penalty yardage, there could have been a game-winning touchdown.

Barring a pandemic-required schedule change, Tuesday brings UA 95 days away from its 2020 season opener against USC. It will be the team’s first chance to improve on a 95-penalty 2019 season that proved both costly and historic.

The 95 penalties committed by UA, when broken down to 7.3 penalties per game, were by far the most of a UA team coached by Nick Saban; none of the previous 12 committed more than six per game, and only five of those 12 committed five or more. The 2019 team was both the first UA team to commit 11 penalties in a game since the 2016 Peach Bowl and the first of the Saban era to commit 13 in a game, which it did in the aforementioned Iron Bowl.

It is not fair to pin all of UA’s penalty problems on the 2019 team, as penalties have been on the rise for years. Before 2015, only one Saban-coached UA team had committed five or more penalties per game (2010, 5.1). Starting with 2015, UA has committed 5.9, 5.7, 5, 5.8 and 7.3 penalties per game. That rise in penalties has not been mirrored by the rest of the sport: in six of the last 10 years, the national median for penalties per game was between 6 and 6.2 per game.

However, the drastic rise from 2018 to 2019 does say something about last year’s team, especially when considering how the penalties broke down by type


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