Game notes from Bama's victory over the Mean Green
Barry Allen, UofA
Alabama has won six of its last seven games dating back to last season. The North Texas game marks the sixth time in the Franchione era the Crimson Tide has held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing in a game. Alabama held South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Southern Miss to under 100 rushing yards last year.
North Texas game notes:
The Crimson Tide offense piled up 534 total yards in the win over the Mean Green, the third-highest total under coach Dennis Franchione. Alabama ran for 336 yards and added 198 passing yards in the win over North Texas. The best effort was 588 total yards in a 56-7 win over UTEP on Oct. 6, 2001 at Legion Field. Alabama also had 549 total yards in a 31-7 win at Auburn last year.
The 336 rushing yards against North Texas is the second-highest rushing total by Alabama under Coach Fran. The most rushing yards by Alabama in the Franchione era was 360 rushing yards in the win over UTEP last year.
On defense, Alabama held North Texas to rushing yards (37 attempts) and 141 total yards (10 for 19, 91 passing yards), its best statistical effort of the season.
Alabama has held its last two opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. Last week, Alabama held No. 2 Oklahoma to minus 23 rushing yards (23 attempts). In those two games, Alabama has allowed just 27 rushing yards (50 rushing attempts) for an average of 0.54 yards per rushing attempt.
Alabama has scored on its opening possession in each of its first three games this season. The Crimson scored a touchdown on its opening possession against Middle Tennessee and tallied a field goal on its opening drive against Oklahoma and North Texas.
Alabama played a total of 67 players in the win over North Texas, including six first-time participants. The list of players making their Crimson Tide debut tonight includes true freshman fullback Greg McLain (Lineville), redshirt freshman center J.B. Closner (San Antonio, Texas), redshirt senior safety Carl McInnish (Brewton, Ala.), redshirt sophomore rover P.J. Fletcher (Panama City, Fla.), redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Brandon Dean (Mobile) and redshirt freshman strong tackle Von Ewing (Troy).
In addition, sophomore Thurman Ward played in 11 games last year as a defensive back, but made his Alabama debut on offense tonight against the Mean Green. Also, redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Pennington took his first collegiate snap at quarterback for the Crimson Tide tonight when he entered the game with 3:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Pennington played in the Crimson Tide's 39-34 win over Middle Tennessee in the season opener, but that appearance came on UA's "hands team" as the Blue Raiders attempted an on-side kick.
Junior wide receiver Dre Fulgham made his first career start for Alabama at wide receiver against North Texas. The Crimson Tide opened the game in a three-wide set against the Mean Green. Senior Sam Collins and junior Traindos Luke were the other two receivers for UA.
In addition, sophomore safety Carlos Andrews made his first career start on defense, subbing for senior Waine Bacon, who had started each of the last 14 games for the Crimson Tide. Andrews has appeared in 14 career games for Alabama, but has never started prior to tonight.
Redshirt freshman Charlie Peprah made his second career start for the Alabama against North Texas (subbing at RCB for Hirchel Bolden). Peprah made his first career start last week against Oklahoma as the fifth defensive back in the Crimson Tide's nickel package. Junior defensive end Nautyn McKay-Loescher returned to the starting line up against UNT. McKay-Loescher did not start last week as UA opened the game with five defensive backs.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Ziifle's 24-yard field goal with 10:52 left in the first quarter was the first points scored against North Texas in a span of six quarters. The last time UNT allowed an opponent to score was the second quarter of the Texas game on Aug. 31 in Austin. The Longhorns won the game, 27-0.
Senior tailback Ahmaad Galloway's (11-25-1) two-yard touchdown run with 8:35 left in the second quarter was the first touchdown allowed by North Texas since the second quarter of its season opener against Texas.
Galloway's two-yard TD run is just the second offensive touchdown scored by Alabama in the last seven quarters, dating back the third quarter of the Middle Tennessee game on Aug. 31. Galloway has Alabama's last three offensive touchdowns in that span.
In addition, Galloway's two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gives him at least one touchdown in each of his last five regular season games dating back to last season. Galloway has six rushing touchdowns in those five games, dating back to Alabama's 31-7 win over Auburn on Nov. 17, 2001. He has three rushing TDs this season and 16 in his Alabama career.
Junior tailback Shaud Williams had his best game to date for the Crimson Tide, rushing seven times for 93 yards and one touchdown in the win over North Texas. Williams averaged 13.3 yards per carry for the Crimson Tide.
Williams scored his first touchdown for Alabama with a 41-yard run with 7:36 left in the third quarter. The 41-yard touchdown run was the first by Williams since Nov. 11, 2000 against Oklahoma State. In that game, Williams posted a two-yard run in the third quarter in Texas Tech's 58-0 win in Lubbock.
Redshirt freshman Brodie Croyle played in his second straight game for Alabama, completing two passes for 37 yards and rushing five times for 23 yards. Croyle also scored his first collegiate touchdown for the Crimson Tide with a four-yard run with 3:58 remaining in the game.
Sophomore tailback Ray Hudson ran seven times for a career high 82 yards against North Texas, including a career long 47-yard run in the second quarter. Hudson's previous best was 69 rushing yards at Vanderbilt last year.
True freshman fullback Greg McLain ran five times for 22 yards in his Alabama debut tonight against North Texas.
Junior tight end Donald Clarke had his best game at Alabama tonight, hauling in three passes for 80 yards in the win over UNT. Clarke caught passes of 43, 24 and 16 yards to lead all UA receivers.
Alabama made its 2002 Bryant-Denny Stadium debut tonight with a 33-7 win over North Texas. The Crimson Tide improves to 93-11-1 in Tuscaloosa openers dating back to the 1893 season. Since 1991, Alabama is 9-3 in its Tuscaloosa debut.
In all games played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has now posted a 270-43-3 record, including a 185-30-3 mark here in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
With the win over North Texas, Alabama improves to 15-2 (.882) all-time in night games here in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama is now 4-1 (.800) all-time in games played on September 14th. In addition to tonight's win over the Mean Green, the Crimson Tide has also beaten Maryland (1974), Texas A&M (1985) and Vanderbilt (1996). The lone loss came in 1991 at Florida.
The Crimson Tide improves to 2-0 all-time against North Texas and 12-0 against Sun Belt Conference teams after tonight's win.
The paid attendance for the Alabama-North Texas game is 79,818, snapping a streak of 56 consecutive sellouts here in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The last time Alabama did not have a sellout in Tuscaloosa came in a 24-14 win over Temple on Nov. 15, 1986. The Temple game was the last game played before the stadium was expanded to over 70,000 for the 1988 season. In 1998, Bryant-Denny Stadium was again expanded to its present capacity of 83,818.
Alabama will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 21 as they host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles here in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised by espn2 and kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT). USM (3-0) is coming off a 33-14 win over Memphis on Saturday night.