Chattanooga Knows How To Play Role

There's a story told from long ago about Chattanooga's arrangement with the University of Tennessee. This was in the day of legendary Vols Coach Robert Neyland.

Alabama always followed Chattanooga on the Tennessee schedule. The Mocs were also playing for a legendary coach, Scrappy Moore. One year Moore told Neyland that Chattanooga was going to switch to the single wing offense employed by the Vols because all the high schools in East Tennessee--from where Moore got his players--ran the single wing.

Heretofore, Chattanooga had always run an offense and defense that matched Alabama's.

"Scrappy," Neyland is reported to have said, "don't you like playing us every year?"

Indeed Moore did. The $10,000 or so that Tennessee paid Chattanooga to bus up to Knoxville and take an annual beating paid a good bit of the Chattanooga budget.

Well, then, Neyland told him, if he wanted to keep getting that check, he'd better keep running the Alabama offensive and defensive schemes.

This year Alabama paid Chattanooga $400,000 to come to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Next year Alabama will give the highest amount ever to a mid-major when the Tide opens the season against San Jose State. That is a $900,000 payoff.

The UTC check was accepted by Athletics Director Rick Hart, the son of Alabama's executive director of athletics, Dave Hart.

Alabama has won all 11 games played against Chattanooga.

Players were probably safe to have a little celebration Saturday. The Southeastern Conference officiating crew of Marc Curles was working the game. That's the crew that was suspended for two games earlier in the year, in part for a celebration penalty called against Georgia in its loss to LSU. The crew also missed a personal foul call against Arkansas in a loss to Florida.

Running back Mark Ingram eclipsed the 100-yard barrier quickly, rushing 11 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns before seeing his final action of the first half on a 40-yard touchdown run with 9:53 left in the second quarter.  The 102 yards gives Ingram six 100-yard rushing performances in 2009 and seven for his Alabama career. He now has 1,399 rushing yards this season, second on the Alabama single-season rushing list. Bobby Humphrey had 1,471 yards in 1986.

Javier Arenas returned a Chattanooga punt 66 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, the seventh punt return touchdown of Arenas' Alabama career and setting a new SEC career record breaking the previous mark of 6 by Derek Abney of Kentucky (2000-03).  In the category of combined punt and kickoff return touchdowns, Arenas ranks second in SEC history with seven (all on punt returns).  Abney holds that combined SEC mark with eight (six via punt returns, two via kickoff returns).  

Arenas returned two punts for 68 yards to elevate his career punt return yardage total to 1,658, ranking him second in SEC history behind Vanderbilt's Lee Nalley, who had 1,695 punt return yards from 1947-49.  The NCAA record for career punt return yardage is held by Wes Welker of Texas Tech, who gained 1,751 yards on punt returns from 2000-03. Arenas now ranks third in NCAA history for punt return yardage:

Senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin's 41-yard field goal with 11:43 left in the third quarter tied Tiffin for a pair of important Alabama records.  Already the Alabama career scoring leader, Tiffin's field goal gave him 78 career field goals, tying the school record held by Philip Doyle (78 from 1987-90). Tiffin has made 25-of-28 field goal attempts this season, tying his own record of 25 field goals made, a record he set in 2008 when he made 25 of 34 attempts.

With eight kicking points against Chattanooga, Tiffin has scored 109 points this season via field goals or extra-point conversions.  That ranks second on the Alabama single-season list for kicking points.

Alabama's 21 first-quarter points against Chattanooga are the most scored by the Crimson Tide in a quarter this season. The previous high came in the 2009 season opener when the Tide scored 18 fourth-quarter points in a 34-24 win over seventh-ranked Virginia Tech on September 5 in Atlanta.  Alabama scored 17 points during the third quarter of its 38-20 win at Kentucky on Oct. 3.  

Alabama has tallied an interception in eight straight games and now has at least one interception in nine of the 11 contests in 2009. Alabama had an interception in eight games in 2008 and has now strung together 18 straight wins in games in which the Crimson Tide tallies at least one pick dating back to a win over Colorado in the 2007 Independence Bowl.

Alabama held Chattanooga scoreless. The Alabama defense has not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter in the last seven games dating back to the Florida International game (when Alabama allowed 7 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the first half).  Alabama has not allowed a point in opening quarter of its last five games.

With three forced turnovers (all interceptions) against Chattanooga, Alabama has produced 19 turnovers in the last seven games. The Tide has picked off 16 passes in those six games and recovered three fumbles.

The Crimson Tide has forced 72 turnovers in 38 games under Coach Nick Saban, an average of 1.9 per game. The Crimson Tide has forced 23 turnovers in 11 games this season, while the UA offense has only turned the ball over 10 times (four interception, six lost fumbles).

Alabama has recorded at least one turnover in 33 of 38 games under Saban. UA is 27-6 under Saban when it gains at least one turnover. Alabama is 3-2 in games without a turnover over the last three seasons.  

Twenty-seven seniors suiting up for the final time at Bryant-Denny Stadium were honored by the Alabama football team Saturday in pre-game festivities.  The senior class, which entered Saturday's game with a record of 45-17 in their Alabama careers, has constructed a 29-6 record at Bryant-Denny Stadium entering the Chattanooga game.  Seniors recognized are:

LB Eryk Anders (San Antonio, Texas), CB Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.), LB Alex Benson (Trussville), OL Evan Cardwell (Killen), NG Terrence Cody (Fort Myers, Fla.), OT Drew Davis (Evergreen), DE Brandon Deaderick (Elizabethtown, Ky.), P P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.), S Hampton Gray (Tuscaloosa), TE Baron Huber (Knoxville, Tenn.), CB Marquis Johnson (Sarasota, Fla.), OG Mike Johnson (Pensacola, Fla.), S Tyrone King (Birmingham), WR Mike McCoy (Rankin, Miss.), TE Colin Peek (Ponte Vedra, Fla.), LB Cory Reamer (Hoover), CB Chris Rogers (Lakeland, Fla.), LS Brian Selman (Vestavia Hills), S Ali Sharrief (Stevenson), P Heath Thomas (Montgomery), PK Leigh Tiffin (Muscle Shoals), RB Roy Upchurch (Tallahassee, Fla.), WR Jacob Vane (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), WR A.J. Walker (Huntsville), DL Byron Walton (Trinity), DE Lorenzo Washington (Loganville, Ga.), and S Justin Woodall (Oxford, Miss.).

Captains for Alabama were offensive guard Mike Johnson, quarterback Greg McElroy, linebacker Rolando McClain, and cornerback/kick returner Javier Arenas.

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