How Many Points Will Alabama And LSU Score Tonight?

In previewing tonight’s national championship game between LSU and Alabama, USA Today reports that a high-scoring contest isn’t expected: 

LSU and Alabama combined for just 15 points in their November matchup that saw neither team reach the end zone.

The anticipated defensive struggle Monday night will contrast with the Rose, Fiesta and Orange Bowl which totaled 83, 79 and 103 points, respectively. In fact, in those three games there were more points in eight of the 12 quarters than the previous November matchup between the Tigers and Crimson Tide.

But how have these teams scored in previous matchups? Since 1902, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide have faced off 74 times, with an average combined score of about 32 points — twice the total from this season’s earlier game.

This histogram shows the number of games in 10-point increments. Twenty games have resulted in 40 or more points (see larger version): 

There have been some low-scoring games over the years, but also some real shootouts. In 2007, for example, the matchup resulted in 75 points, with LSU winning 41-34. This line chart shows the trend over time (see larger version): 

We’ll see what happens tonight.

Data source: Sports-Reference.com

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