Rapid Reaction: Alabama sloppy in win over FCS foe Chattanooga
Alabama defeated FCS opponent Chattanooga, 31-3, but during his halftime interview, head coach Nick Saban said he was embarrassed of his team’s performance, and the outcome was much closer than expected. Possible injuries are another major concern following this game.
What it means
Yes, it could be viewed as an easy win for Alabama, except it was not so easy. The team had several players leave the game with injury, alarming for what’s viewed as a tuneup game with Auburn up next and Florida after that in the SEC Championship Game. Depth was already a concern with several players out on the offensive line, running back and in the secondary. Left tackle Cam Robinson, right guard Korren Kirven and inside linebacker Reuben Foster all left the game at various points. It should be noted Foster returned and played significant minutes in the second half.
What I liked
Alabama had several encouraging big plays on offense, and the defense looked dominant on the whole. Jalen Hurts’ 47-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley was the single most impressive offensive play. Damien Harris’ 25-yard touchdown run was high on the list. The defense gave up a number of big plays but looked solid on the whole.
What I didn’t like
The injuries are concerning, particularly on the offensive line with Alphonse Taylor and Lester Cotton already out indefinitely. First, Robinson (starting left tackle) left the game, and then Kirven (starting right guard), who briefly filled in for Robinson at left tackle, left the game. It’s possible the coaching staff decided to hold the two players out for precautionary reasons, but it remains a concern.
Hurts fumbled the ball, his seventh fumble of the season, and Josh Jacobs put the ball on ground as well. Turnovers continue to be a concern.
Who’s the man
There wasn’t one particular player who stood out, but Hurts gets the game ball, going 15-for-21 passing and throwing 3 touchdown passes while flashing his abilities at certain moments.
Hurts’ 47-yard touchdown was the biggest play on offense. Rashaan Evans recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown for the Alabama offense in the fourth quarter. Foster had an impressive tackle for a loss, showing outstanding speed.
The Iron Bowl is next. The game lost some luster when Georgia upset Auburn and helped Alabama clinch the SEC West. Still, it’s the Iron Bowl, and Auburn will relish the spoiler role.