"A little bit better, but we still have to get better," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said in his assessment. "The first drive we got down there and had three bad plays."
Alabama took its first drive down to the 13-yard line and stalled. Darby ran for three on first down, then caught a pass for a loss before Wilson took a sack on third down. Christensen made a 37-yard field goal for the game's first score. After putting together a nice-looking drive with 37 seconds remaining in the first half, Wilson threw two passes incomplete toward the end zone from the 14 and Jamie Christensen blew a 31-yard field goal attempt wide left.
"The one before the half would have been nice," Shula said. "You don't want to take a chance of throwing the ball over the middle and lose a chance at not getting a field goal."
With 5:33 remaining in the first half, Alabama scored a touchdown in the red zone. On third and goal from the four, Wilson lured all 11 Duke defenders to the right side of the field by scrambling around for what seemed like minutes, then threw a high-arching pass that looked like a punt to the left corner, where DJ Hall stood alone waiting.
Bama ran five red zone plays in the third quarter, capping the possession with a 9-yard touchdown pass, Wilson to Keith Brown. The last red zone possession for Alabama came after Kenneth Darby ran from the 22 to the 2, and Jimmy Johns punched it into the end zone on the ensuing play.
There was another time Alabama was stopped in the red zone that didn't make it onto the stat sheet. Early in the fourth quarter an Alabama fan wearing a cast on his left arm and carrying a shaker in his right arm ran about 95 yards from the direction of the student section into the north end zone. He was wrapped up by two security personnel at the five yard line and taken off the field.
Alabama's defense started in a 4-3 defensive alignment, with Jeremy Clark and Dominic Lee starting at the two tackle positions. Since Alabama has so often used a three-man line, it was only the second time this year Lee has started a game. Clark has started every game for Alabama. Lionel Mitchell, who has three starts this year when Alabama uses five defensive backs, did not start Saturday.
Alabama's defense started in a 4-3 defensive alignment, with Jeremy Clark and Dominic Lee starting at the two tackle positions. Since Alabama has so often used a three-man line, it was only the second time this year Lee has started a game. Clark has started every game for Alabama. Lionel Mitchell, who has three starts this year when Alabama uses five defensive backs, did not start Saturday. Bama's defense went back to the 3-3-5 with 5 minutes to play in the first half, after Alabama's first touchdown.
Kenneth Darby hit the 100-yard mark for the first time this season against Duke. He had 115 yards on 18 carries, his 11th 100-yard game as a Crimson Tide player.
DJ Hall had another 100-yard receiving game for Alabama, with seven catches for 124 yards. It was the third 100-yard game for the Tide receiver this year, and the fourth for an Alabama receiver this year. (Hall has three 100-yard games in a row and Keith Brown had 132 yards against Hawaii.)
The only game in which Alabama did not have a 100-yard receiver was in week two against Vanderbilt, when Brown was one yard shy of triple digits on eight receptions.