Franchione gets first Tide win

Ordinarily a 12-9 victory over Vanderbilt would not be the stuff of celebration, but an Alabama team desperate for a victory escaped from Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville with that difficult win. It was the first Crimson Tide victory under Coach Dennis Franchione as Bama evened its record at 1-1.

Next Saturday Alabama will host Southern Miss at Legion Field in Birmingham. Kickoff is at 4:45 pm CDT with television coverage by ESPN2. Southern Miss, which was open this week, is 1-0.

The Tide victory over Vanderbilt snapped a six-game Tide losing streak dating back to last season. It gave Bama a 1-0 record in Southeastern Conference play. The Tide has now won 17 straight games against Vanderbilt, and has a 57-18-4 advantage in the series.

Neal Thomas connected on four field goals, a career best for him. It was Alabama's first victory without a touchdown since a 9-6 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville in 1990. It was the Tide's first game against Vanderbilt without a touchdown since a 0-0 tie with the Commodores in 1958. That was the first season for Bama with Paul Bryant as head coach.

Thomas' winning field goal came with 5:01 to play in the game when he connected from 27 yards out. Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the game with a 37-yard effort with 1:13 to play, but the kick sailed wide right.

Thomas had connected from 35 yards and 26 yards in the second quarter as Bama and Vandy were tied 6-6 at halftime. Thomas hit a 31-yarder in the third quarter, but then missed from 41 yards with just under 10 minutes to play as his kick hit the upright. Chuck Folino had three field goals in five attempts for Vanderbilt.

In addition to breaking a losing streak and giving Franchione his first win as Alabama's coach, the victory was a bit of good news in a week that had been dominated by the NCAA Investigative Staff informing The University that Alabama football had been charged with 16 violations, including 11 that would be considered major infractions.

Tailback Ahmaad Galloway carried most of the load for Alabama Saturday as he had 24 rushes for 144 yards. The only other tailback to see action was Ray Hudson, who had 11 runs for 69 yards.

Tyler Watts went the distance at quarterback for Alabama. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 128 yards with no interceptions. Antonio Carter had three receptions for 39 yards, while Triandos Luke and Terry Jones had two each, both for 28 yards. Theo Sanders had his first career reception, a 26-yard play that set up the winning field goal.

Vanderbilt had 20 first downs to 17 for Alabama. Alabama had 229 yards rushing, Vanderbilt 143. The Tide had 128 yards passing, Vandy 253. Total offense was 357 for Bama, 396 for Vanderbilt. Alabama did not have a turnover, and had its first takeaway when David Daniel fell on a Vanderbilt fumble. Bama also made great improvement in the penalties department as the Tide was flagged only four times for 30 yards. Vanderbilt had six penalties for 33 yards. Bama had barely half a minute more time of possession than the Commodores, 30:19 to 29:41. The Tide managed only four of 13 third-down conversions, while Vandy made good on 7 of 17 tries and converted two fourth-down attempts.

Reggie Myles had seven tackles, while Brooks Daniels had five primary stops and assisted on another another. Saleem Rasheed had four primary stops and one assist.

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