Alabama sent a clear message on Saturday that it wasn’t a team to be overlooked. It rode a dominant effort by Bryce Young to a blowout of Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and were rewarded with the top seed in the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide will take on No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 31.

Nick Saban has long discussed “rat poison” when it comes to positive media coverage of his team and how it could cause his players to lose focus. However, a good portion of the coverage leading up to the game favored the Bulldogs and their dominant defense, and for good reason.

That didn’t sit well with a number of Tide players, including linebacker Will Anderson. The linebacker recorded 6 tackles, including 2 tackles for a loss and a sack of Stetson Bennett IV, during Alabama’s 41-24 win in Atlanta.

“We came in, we was the underdogs. People saying we was gonna get whipped, whooped, blew out — all the other stuff. Like, we Alabama, man. We ain’t no D-III team. We ain’t none of that,” Anderson said on Sunday. “The whole week was, all we kept hearing was, ‘Georgia defense, Georgia defense.’ Nobody was giving Alabama credit for how we play on defense.”

Anderson discussed how that motivated the Tide in their preparation for the game.

“All week long we had a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “Every day on good on good, we was going back and forth because all we was hearing was their O-line is nasty and mean. All we was hearing was they had the best defensive front in the country and stuff like this.”