Rapid Reaction: Alabama makes convincing statement against Charleston Southern
Here are some quick thoughts on No. 2 Alabama’s 56-6 victory over FCS No. 8 Charleston Southern on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
What it means: Alabama obviously heeded head coach Nick Saban’s warnings and didn’t overlook what many said was an inferior team. And in a week when teams like South Carolina and No. 8 Florida made the mistake of looking past their FCS opponents, the Tide made a statement about why it belongs in the playoffs.
What I liked:
- The Crimson Tide didn’t look at this game as an off week. The team came to play and show its undeniable dominance.
- We saw a lot of fresh faces for Alabama, including RB Damien Harris, RB Bo Scarbrough, QB Cooper Bateman, WR Cam Sims and CB Tony Brown. All got quality playing time, performed well and played hard.
- Tide CB Cyrus Jones played the game of his life. He had one interception/fumble recovery on a pitch, and he returned two punts for touchdowns, setting a new school record.
- Charleston Southern backup QB Kyle Copeland took a lot of brutal hits from the Alabama defense, but he didn’t back down and he didn’t give up.
- The Tide run defense was strong. SEC Network announcer Brent Musburger compared the defense to Shark Week, saying great players replace great players.
What I didn’t like:
- Charleston Southern made the decision to sit star players in order to preserve them for the FCS playoffs. Buccaneers QB Austin Brown only came in for three snaps to give injured Copeland a chance to recover, and RB Darius Hammond saw the field for three carries and 12-yard kickoff return.
- Tide RB Damien Harris fumbled inside the 5-yard line on what should have been a touchdown run, but Alabama recovered.
Who’s the man: Tide CB Cyrus Jones set a school record after returning two punts for touchdowns, one of which bounced off the foot of a Charleston Southern defender. He also had an interception — ruled a fumble recovery since it was on a pitch — that he returned for 18 yards, just short of the goal line.
Key play: On the second play from scrimmage, Tide RB Derrick Henry broke through the Charleston Southern defensive line for a 15-yard run. Alabama never looked back after that.
What’s next: Alabama faces Auburn on the Plains next week. A win there clinches the SEC West title for the Crimson Tide.
Charleston Southern, despite the big loss in Tuscaloosa, will be headed to the FCS playoffs.