Bama's players listened to Nick Saban's sage advice about Charleston Southern
No. 2 Alabama mercilessly destroyed FCS No. 8 Charleston Southern in a 56-6 victory in the Tide’s last 2015 game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
And, wow, was it a memorable one!
The Tide dominated the Buccaneers on every front, holding Charleston Southern t0 134 yards while collecting 403 of its own, and scoring two touchdowns on special teams.
And Alabama head coach Nick Saban extended his own streak. He has now coached the Crimson Tide to eight consecutive 10-win seasons. The longest streak Paul “Bear” Bryant ever had was five consecutive years.
Alabama can clinch the SEC West title with a win over Auburn next week, but before we start gearing up for the Iron Bowl, let’s take a better look at the win over Charleston Southern.
- Saban’s rant paid off: When Saban said the Tide cannot overlook Charleston Southern, his players listened. Despite that, this should have been an easy game, Alabama didn’t sit back and look to Auburn in Week 13.
- The Crimson Tide is playing its best right now: Fewer penalties, fewer turnovers, fewer mistakes and more great plays. There’s no doubt that the Alabama of November would win in a head-to-head matchup with the Alabama of September. The way the Tide is gaining momentum each week should make for an explosive Iron Bowl.
- The future of the Alabama backfield is promising: The Alabama backups got to see a lot of playing time Saturday night, and their 24 carries for 153 yards and 2 TDs didn’t disappoint.
- CB Cyrus Jones is a gem: Despite what was at times a slow and even disappointing season, Jones exploded Saturday night on both defense and special teams, breaking a school record while he was at it.
- The Crimson Tide knows what it wants: Alabama wants to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl, it wants to beat Florida in the SEC Championship, and it wants to win two playoff games and the CFP trophy. The big victory over the Buccaneers was an indication of how serious these guys are. This team is focused solely on meeting these goals one at a time.
Offense: A — Who on the offense didn’t play well? QB Jake Coker was 11 of 13 for 155 yards and 2 TDs. Backup QB Cooper Bateman was 7 of 11 for 47 yards. Henry only had 9 carries for 68 yards, but the other five running backs combined for 24 carries and 153 yards. The Tide had 403 total yards of offense in this win.
Defense: A — LB Reggie Ragland kept doing what he does, racking up tackles. Jones impressed with 3 tackles for loss and 1 fumble recovery. The Tide defense only allowed the Buccaneers 134 total yards, and it didn’t allow them to score until the fourth quarter.
Special Teams: A — Jones set a school record with 2 TDs on punt returns. PK Adam Griffith went 7 for 7 on PATs, and P JK Scott was 1 for 1. Scott did miss an awkward 33-yard field goal, but he’s not really a field goal kicker, so we’ll forgive him.
Coaching: A — Saban managed expectations, and he kept the Tide on point, hungry and focused. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin had his offense energized, while defensive coordinator Kirby Smart kept his side of the ball determined and brutal.
Overall: A — This was possibly Alabama’s most balanced game so far this season. Every aspect was clicking, and the Tide took advantage for a big win.
- CB Cyrus Jones: Jones made the most of his last game at Bryant-Denny. Two punt returns for 115 yards and 2 TDs, one fumble recovery returned for 18 yards and three tackles for loss.
- RB Bo Scarbrough: The true freshman had just five carries coming into Week 12, but in this game alone he had 10 carries for 69 yards and 1 TD. We should be seeing a lot more of Scarbrough in 2016.
- RB Derrick Henry: Henry may not have had as big of a game as fans expected — just 9 carries for 68 yards — but two of those carries were for touchdowns, and those touchdowns brought his total to 21 touchdowns on the season. Henry is now tied with former Tide RB Trent Richardson for the Alabama single-season touchdown record.
- CB Minkah Fitzpatrick sprained his knee against Mississippi State in Week 11, and after a hopeful week, he did not dress out Saturday night against Charleston Southern. He is still day-to-day.
- RB Kenyan Drake suffered a broken arm against Mississippi State in Week 11, and coaches expect he will return in two weeks.
- RT Dominick Jackson has been playing with a high ankle sprain since October, but it limited him more in practice this week, so he did not take the field against Charleston Southern. Saban hopes Jackson will return next week against Auburn.