Just in case anyone has forgotten, let us remind that Alabama Coach Nick Saban was not in a good mood following the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide’s 38-10 win over Western Kentucky last Saturday. The game played by Bama was clearly not up to the team’s high standards.
Nevertheless, the Alabama coaching staff recognized 11 players for their performances in the home opener. tight end O.J. Howard, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and freshman tackle Jonah Williams were selected on offense; lineman Jonathan Allen, safety Ronnie Harrison, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, and safety Eddie Jackson on defense; and Minkah Fitzpatrick, placekickerAdam Griffith, Keith Holcombe, and punter JK Scott on special teams.
Howard caught two passes for 29 yards with a long of 20 and teamed with Williams and the rest of the Crimson Tide offensive front providing time for 475 yards of total offense. Williams posted a grade of 85 per cent with no sacks or pressures allowed and two knockdown blocks. Ridley caught a team-high nine passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, setting career highs in yards and matching his career high for receptions. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch with seven of his nine catches going for a first down (6) or touchdown (1). The sophomore wideout hauled in a long pass of 51 yards with three of his receptions totaling 15 yards or more.
The Tide’s defense shut down the high-powered Hilltopper offense, limiting WKU to 239 total yards including just 23 yards rushing. Allen had three total tackles, including one of UA’s four sacks, his for a loss of 13 yards. The three defensive backs helped force two interceptions and held the Hilltoppers’ quarterback to a 95.91 passer efficiency rating. Harrison and Jackson each intercepted a pass, with Jackson’s pick going for six points. The interception was his third pick-six for his career and was a return of 55 yards. Humphrey had two tackles while forcing a fumble and breaking up one pass.
Fitzpatrick contributed a pair of tackles on special teams, including a forced fumble on the opening kickoff. Griffith kicked off six times for a 389 total yards for a 64.8 yards per kick average and totaled four touchbacks. He also added a 36-yard field goal to move him up to ninth place on the Crimson Tide’s all-time points scored list. Holcombe had one tackle on special teams, helping to limit the WKU punt return game to only 13 return yards. Scott punted five times for 232 yards to average 46.6 yards per punt. He pinned three kicks inside the 20-yard line with two inside the 8-yard mark. Scott had punts of 58 and 57 yards to give him five 50-plus yard punts this season.