Eight Are Great In Win Over Gate(-ors)
Eight Alabama players were recognized for their outstanding play by the coaching staff following the Crimson Tide's win over No. 12 Florida.
This week Bama will be hosting Vanderbilt in another Southeastern Conference game. Kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stacdium will be at 6 p.m. CDT with television coverage by ESPNU.
The Alabama staff selections included center William Vlachos, who was the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, and tailback Trent Richardson and linebacker Courtney Upshaw, both cited for fine performances in the weekly SEC announcement.
Others named were offensive guard Chance Warmack, linebacker Alex Watkins, and on special teams Marquis Maze, Brad Smelley, and Vinnie Sunseri.
Richardson recorded his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game as he carried the ball 29 times for a career-high 181 yards (the most in the series vs. Florida) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 27 yards. Richardson ranks second in the SEC and ninth nationally with an average of 124.4 yards per game, while leading the league and ranking fifth nationally in scoring with 11 total touchdowns (10 rushing).
Vlachos and Warmack cleared the way for Richardson's career day as they received the two highest grades on the Alabama offensive line. UF entered the game ranked in the top five nationally in rush defense, total defense and scoring defense. Additionally, Florida went into the game as the nation's only team not to have allowed a rushing touchdown. Richardson had two rushing touchdowns and the Tide had four. The Alabama line also did an outstanding job in protection as they did not allow a sack against the Gators.
The defense held the Gators well below their season averages, allowing just 222 total yards, nine first downs and 10 total points. After Florida scored on the first two drives of the game, Alabama gave up just 107 yards and no points on their final 10 possessions of the game.
Upshaw led the way with four solo tackles, three for loss and a sack. His 45-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter proved to be the winning margin as the Tide took a 17-10 lead.
Watkins proved pressure on the Florida passing game as well, recording a key sack and forcing a fumble. At the end of the second half, UF drove to the Alabama 13-yard line, but back-to-back sacks by Watkins and Upshaw pushed the Gators back to the 35 and they missed a 52-yard field goal.
Alabama's defense leads the SEC in all four major categories, ranking first nationally in rush defense and scoring defense.
Maze had another big day in the return game, this time with a long kickoff return that helped set up a score. After Florida had taken a 10-3 lead in the first quarter, Maze returned a kickoff 70 yards to the UF 29-yard line to start a short drive that resulted in a game-tying Richardson TD run. Maze finished the game with 159 all-purpose yards (3 kickoff returns for 123 yards and two catches for 36 yards).
Florida's punter had a strategy of not kicking to the dangerous Maze.
Sunseri recorded a tackle on kickoff coverage and forced a fumble while also participating on the punt return and kickoff return teams. Smelley graded out well as a member of the punt team, kickoff return team and field goal/PAT unit. He added one catch for 16 yards from his tight end position.
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