Alabama Defense Subdues Aggies

Preseason consensus opinion predicted the front seven was the strength of the Alabama team. So far they have impressed holding the previous five opponents well below their rushing total averages. The trend continued yesterday at Kyle Field in College Station as the Tide humbled the no. 9 ranked Aggies, 41-23.

Real estate was tough to come by as Alabama held down the league’s seventh best rushing attack averaging 188 ypg. A scant 32 total rushing yards on 25 carries was all Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) could muster against the stingy Tide defense. Their leading ball carrier, senior running back Tra Carson averaging 86 ypg, had a long run of just six and finished the game with 46 yards on 13 carries and no touchdowns.

Two members of the vaunted front seven, 6-3, 283 pound defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and 6-2, 252 pound linebacker Reggie Ragland were outstanding. Allen had two (-14) of the team’s season high six sacks along with four tackles for loss (-17). The junior totaled five tackles, four solo and forced a fumble. The sack and tackle numbers matched career highs. He is the team leader with five sacks (-37) and seven tackles for loss (-40) on the season. After seven games, he has 15 tackles, three pass breakups and quarterback hurries.

Ragland’s nine tackles, one solo led the team in stops for the fifth time this year. He also contributed a quarterback sack (-5) and 1.5 tackles for loss (-8). A team captain, the senior leads the squad in tackles (59), has four for loss (-16), three pass breakups and quarterback hurries, along with two forced fumbles.

Benefactors of the defensive line and linebackers applying pressure were the Tide secondary. Blossoming safety Eddie Jackson recorded two of the season high four interceptions. The 6-0, 194 pound junior broke a 63-year old school record for interception return yardage set by Hootie Ingram in 1952 on 10 picks. Jackson has returned a team leading five interceptions for 230 yards thus far. His 93-yard second quarter pick six was the third longest in Tide history. Jackson's 119 yards of two interception returns registered yesterday established a new single game school record. The previous high was 98 by Mark McMillian against Tennessee-Chattanooga on October 5, 1991. He had two solo stops and breakups against the Aggies. Jackson has recorded 24 tackles, 19 solo, one tackle for loss (-1), recovered a single fumble and forced one.

The three defenders met with the media following the Alabama win against the explosive Aggies averaging 39.2 ppg prior to yesterday’s contest.


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