Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tide's Dominant Defense Ensures Victory in Oxford

Thanks to one of the most impressive defensive displays in recent college football memory, the Crimson Tide defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 22-3. In the first quarter, Alabama out gained the Rebels 105 to 5 yards. Ole Miss only had 19 yards of offense in the first half! The fact that Bama was able to run a nickel formation for much of the game and still limit rushing yards is a testament to the recruiting and coaching that comes with a Nick Saban team.

Once a Heisman hopeful, Jevan Snead looked confused, rattled, and desperate as he completed only 11 of 34 passes, with 4 interceptions. He was never sacked, but the Tide D made it a point to hit him every time he dropped back to pass. Most QB's could not take this punishment, and Snead was no different. The turnovers were not even a matter of Snead trying to force throws to make plays. Most of the interceptions were off single coverage, and seemingly short and simple routes. Twice, it appeared that the Tide DB's simply outmanned the Rebel receivers and ripped the football away. Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said it best, "This is the fastest defense if you went from 1-11 (players). From corners to safeties to linebackers to defensive linemen, this is the best I've seen." On the ground, the versatile Dexter McCluster was held to just 2.5 ypc, and the Bama D only gave up 70 rushing yards the entire game.

Offensively, the Tide struggled in the red zone, and was held to 5 field goals. McElroy looked a bit like JPW from last season when he continued to lock in on Julio Jones despite double (and sometimes triple) coverage. Mark Ingram has a great day, racking up 173 yards and the only touchdown of the day. True Freshman Trent Richardson averaged 4.4 ypc, and a late fumble.

The Rebel Defense is one of the best in the SEC, and will continue to give their opponents trouble this season. If Alabama continues to play as well defensively as they did against Ole Miss, the sky is the limit for the Tide.

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