SABAN: Win Brings About 'Moral Challenge'

Worst. 34-0 win. EVER. Nick Saban didn't use those exact words, but that was the flavor of Crimson Tide Head Coach's post-game comments Saturday night after Alabama's win over Vanderbilt at Bryant-Denny stadium.

Nick Saban said Saturday night's game elicited a "moral challenge" for his team, and surprisingly it was not one of whether to be merciful on the overwhelmed Commodores as the number of men on its injury list mounted.

The moral challenge, he said, was one of fighting complacency.

"This is the moral challenge that we all have to overcome in our human nature," Saban said. "We get satisfied too easy."

"It's always good to get a win in the league, but we obviously didn't play our best football game, especially in the first half," he said.

The first half included two offensive three-and-out possessions, and another punt after an eight-play drive fizzled at midfield. But there were also two sustained touchdown drives -- one of 10 plays and another of 13 plays. And while the Alabama defense kept Vanderbilt off the scoreboard it allowed five plays of 10 yards or more including a 29- and 31-yard play.

"In the first half we didn't have the mental energy we need to have, not the kind of mental consistency," Saban said. "The first half was the first time this year that I felt we were flat, and we were that way in pre-game."

The second half, though, was a different story. The play-by-play of Alabama's first drive pretty much tells the story:

12:34 3rd quarter
Richardson run + 6
Richardson run + 3
Richardson run + 6
Richardson run + 3
McCarron to Maze + 7
Richardson run + 19
Richardson run + 24
Fowler run + 6
Fowler run + 10
Fowler run + 6
Richardson run + 2
Offisdes Vanderbilt +1
Richardson run + 1 TOUCHDOWN! PAT GOOD! 21-0
6:03 remaining 3rd quarter

Saban said the Crimson Tide simplified its defense and went to an unbalanced running formation on offense that Vanderbilt couldn't stop.

"In the first drive of the second half we just felt like we should be running at these guys with direct runs," Saban said. "We did a really good job in that particular drive, and we were only ahead 14-0 so it was kind of critical; I think probably the turning point in the game."

Saban's squad will have a chance to respond to its moral challenge next week at Ole Miss in a 5 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2.

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