Executing in adversity

Saturday night's win against the South Carolina Gamecocks was enough to jolt the Alabama Crimson Tide into the nation's top spot, but it didn't come easy. It took a historical night from an Alabama running back and a relentless defense, to finally put away the No. 22 Gamecocks, as they fell 20-6 Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

Mark Ingram's lights out performance earned him 246 yards on the ground, the highest ever in a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. A supporting cast on defense continues to make an impression, holding Carolina to 64 rushing yards and a pair of field goals. Overall, the offensive and defensive units executed at the games' most critical moments.

Let's take a look at how Alabama's special teams faired in Saturday's match-up.

The game began with an impressive South Carolina kickoff return into Alabama territory. The Tide was also flagged for a 15-yard facemask penalty on the play. Things could only get better for Alabama's special teams.

After a slow start, the Tide's special teams finally settled in. It may not have been the units' strongest performance of the year, but they executed when called upon, they displayed poise and most importantly, they got the job done.

Paul Justin Fitzgerald finished the night with a solid 45.3 yards per punt and placed two kicks inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Leigh Tiffin converted two-of-three field goal attempts and both of his PAT kicks.

The football found its way into the hands of sophomore receiver Julio Jones, who has been faced with double and triple coverage the majority of the season. Filling in for the injured Javier Arenas, the versatile Jones averaged 15 yards per return on five returns for 75 yards.

The weaknesses include, a number of mental lapses that have negated long returns and Alabama's coverage units that continue to remain suspect. These could prove to detrimental to field position, which is at a premium as the Tide dives deeper into SEC play.

Simply put, the Alabama football team has executed. Despite the adversity they've been dealt, the nation's top team has gone from reacting to responding. If one thing is certain, it will take more than injures or mental lapses to bring the Alabama Crimson Tide to its knees.

The Alabama-Tennessee game is nationally televised by CBS Sports with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Jamie Christensen is the only player in Crimson Tide history to kick consecutive game winning field goals, as well as three last second, game winning field goals in one season: vs. Ole Miss on October 15, 2005, vs. Tennessee on October 22, 2005, and The Cotton Bowl vs. Texas Tech on January 2, 2006.

Christensen was in Tuscaloosa from 2003-2007 and played under coach Mike Shula (4 years) and coach Nick Saban (1 year).

He is a graduate of the Culverhouse College of Commerce with a B.S. in Business Management, B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Finance.

Christensen is a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch in Atlanta [click here].

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