Notes From Alabama’s 41-0 Win Over Owls

Alabama Coach Nick Saban had urged fans to stay until the end of the Florida Atlantic game. The game was just short of a sellout of 101,363 with ticket sales of 100,306 and probably a few thousand no-shows. And with a lightning delay called with just under eight minutes to play in the game and rain coming down, the stadium was practically empty.

However, because both teams agreed to end the game with Alabama taking a 41-0 victory, a lot more of those fans than realized it did stay until the end of the game.

A lot of the starters got to leave the game early, too, as it was a game in which a large number of back-up performers played, some for the first time this year. And there were some first-time starters.

The most prominent first-time 2014 starter was middle linebacker Trey DePriest, a two-year starter who missed last week’s game as he was suspended for a minor NCAA infraction.

The most dramatic first-time starter this season was Eddie Jackson at cornerback. Jackson, who had earned a starting position for part of last season as a true freshman, suffered an ACL injury last spring and had surgery in April. He has made a dramatic comeback and earned the starting job where Bradley Sylve had a rough opening game against West Virginia.

Also, Denzel Devall started at strongside linebacker against FAU, but that was a technicality. He was first team at Sam last week, but Bama opened the West Virginia game in nickel with Jarrick Williams at star and no strongside linebacker.

There were two new starters on the defensive line, Brandon Ivory (last year’s starter) at nose tackle and Jarran Reed at defensive end. Last week’s defensive line starters, A'Shawn Robinson and D.J. Pettway saw plenty of playing time in the defensive front.

On offense, the Tide started Alphonse Taylor at right guard. A week earlier it had been Leon Brown, but Brown was tagged with two holding calls and a false start vs. West Virginia, which may have resulted in his demotion.

Also getting a first start was Chris Black at wide receiver.

The start by White was because last week’s starter, DeAndrew White, suffered a shoulder injury against West Virginia. White is expected back in a week or so.

Also not starting this week because of injury was Jarrick Williams, who had started in the Tide’s nickel package a week earlier. Although Bama did not start in nickel, when Alabama did play with extra backs the star was Geno Smith and the dime was Jabriel Washington. Williams is expected to be out for about three more weeks.

Alabama played some 65 men, including a number who didn’t play the previous week. Among them were:

On defense, safety Hootie Jones, lineman Dee Liner, linebacker Tim Williams, nose tackle Joshua Frazier, and lineman Korren Kirven.

On offense, tailback Tyren Jones, tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, and linemen Brandon Greene, Grant Hill, Isaac Luatua, Bradle Bozeman, and Dominick Jackson.

Not breaking a sweat Saturday after an impresive debut against West Virginia was freshman punter J.K. Scott. That’s because Alabama never faced a punting situation against Florida Atlantic.

The conclusion can be drawn that Bama hopes to redshirt outstanding freshmen offensive linemen J.C. Hassenauer, Josh Casher, and Ross Pierschbacher.

Amari Cooper had 13 pass receptions in the game, tying the Alabama record set by D.J. Hall in 2007 against Tennessee. Cooper finished the game with a personal high of 189 yards receiving. He had 97 yards receiving in the first quarter and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving in four straight games and ninth in his career. Hall holds the Bama record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games at five, set in 2006.

The game also marked the first time in Alabama history that two quarterbacks passed for more than 200 yards in the same game. Blake Sims passed for 214 yards and Jake Coker for 202.

The 416 yards of passing offense was second in Alabama history, behind the 284 against Auburn in 1969.

In the 7/8 game played against FAU, the Tide had 620 yards of total offense (416 passing, 204 rushing), the third consecutive game in which Alabama has surpassed the 500-yard mark in total offense.

The 620 yards of total offense ranks eighth all-time in Alabama history.

When senior quarterback Blake Sims scrambled to a touchdown in the first quarter Saturday, it marked the 171st consecutive game in which the Tide has scored, which is an on-going program record.

Alabama now has won 13 consecutive season-opening games in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide record in 87 home openers is 74-11-2, a winning percentage of 86.2.

The shutout by the Alabama defense was the Tide’s 10th in its last 40 games. In Coach Nick Saban’s seven-plus years as Bama’s head coach, the UA defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 50 times.

Alabama captains were center Ryan Kelly, H-back Jalston Fowler, and linebacker Denzel Devall.

Honorary captains were 2009 national championship linebackers Cory Reamer and Eryk Anders.

Sideline reporter for the SEC Network was Laura McKeeman Rutledge, a former reporter and now married to former Crimson Tide shortstop Josh Rutledge, who plays for the Colorado Rockies.

Former Alabama Gymnastics Coach Sarah Patterson and her husband/assistant coach David were recognized in pre-game ceremonies. The Pattersons retired this year after 36 in leading a Bama gymnastics program that won six national championships.

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