Did Anyone Get Number Of That Train?
Alabama improved to 11-0 on the season. Bama is ranked second in the nation. The Crimson Tide, 7-0 in Southeastern Conference games, closes out regular season play next Friday at Auburn. Kickoff will be at 1:30 p.m. CST with television coverage by CBS. Chattanooga fell to 6-5.
After the Auburn game, Bama will be meeting Florida on December 5 in the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship and, perhaps, a chance to play in the BCS national championship game in Pasadena on January 7.
For the most part, Alabama first team players did not play in the second half against Tennessee-Chattanooga. Mark Ingram had 11 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, Greg McElroy completeed 6-11 passes for 80 yards with one touchdown, and Julio Jones had three receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.
As expected, Alabama dominated statistically. Bama had 26 first downs to five for the Mocs. The Tide rushed 56 times for 313 yards, UTC 21 times for 48 yards. Alabama passers completed 10 of 16 tosses with no interceptions for 109 yards. Chattanooga completed only seven of 27 passes and suffered three interceptions. The Mocs had only 36 yards passing--fewer yards than Bama had on interception returns.
Cory Reamer returned an interception for eight yards, Justin Woodall one for nine yards, and Javier Arenas one for 22 yards.
Alabama had total offense of 72 plays for 422 yards, Chattanooga 48 plays for 84 yards. Bama's time of possession advantage was 37:02 to 22:58.
Alabama's offensive schemers came to their senses on the Tide's second possession of the game. Not immediately, though. Alabama had blown its first possession with two failed pass plays. On first down of the second series, Greg McElroy had pass in mind, but he was chased out of the pocket and had to throw it away.
Then the Tide turned to Mark Ingram, sometimes out of wildcat, and Trent Richardson, and moved from the Alabama 49 to a touchdown by Richardson with 5:23 left in the first quarter. Leigh Tiffin kicked Bama to a 7-0 lead. The drive took 11 plays.
Richardson had two nice runs, including a 15-yard gain to the two, to set up the touchdown. He ran behind nose tackle/fullback Terrence Cody for the score.
Emboldened by its success, the Tide went to the air from its 31-yard line. McElroy connected with Julio Jones, who made a leaping catch of a long ball, coming down at the Chattanooga 25, a gain of 44 yards. Ingram took care of the next 25 yards, taking a handoff at left tackle and bulling his way to the end zone. The two-play, 69-yard drive took just 39 seconds. Tiffin's extra point kick with 3:04 remaining in he first quarter gave Alabama a 14-0 lead.
A little UTC razzle-dazzle set Bama up for another scoring opportunity. Wide receiver Jare Gault attempted a throwback pass that was picked off by Tide linebacker Cory Reamer at the Chattanooga 39 and returned to the 31.
Ingram ran twice to p;ick up a first down at the 20, and then was stopped for just a yard gain to the 19. McElroy went back to the air and rifled a pass to Jones in the end zone for the Tide's third touchdown of the first quarter. Tiffin kicked it to 21-0 with 54 seconds remaining.
It has been a tough year for Javier Arenas as a punt return man this year. Most teams have made sure he didn't have good return opportunities. Chattanooga made a mistake and kicked to Arenas early in the second quarter. Arenas took the punt at his 36-yard line and returned it 64 yards for his seventh career punt return for touchdown. That's a Southeastern Conference record.
Chavis Williams and Roy Upchurch had nice blocks to help Arenas down the sideline to the score. Tiffin's kick made it 28-0.
Chattanooga moved into Alabama territory, primarily on the strength of a questionable roughing the passer penalty, but a fourth down pass incompletion stopped the drive and gave Bama the ball at the Crimson Tide 38.
It took Alabama only five plays to add another touchdown. Richardson rank for a couple of first downs to the UTC 40. After an incomplete pass, Ingram took the handoff at the middle of the line and threaded his way to the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. That 40 -yard run gave him 11 carries for 102 yards on the day, moving him into second place all-time on the Alabama single season rushing list with 1,399. He trails Bobby Humphrey who had 1,471 in 1986. On Saturday Ingram passed Sherman Williams, Shaud Williams, and Shaun Alexander on the Tide list for single season rushing.
Tiffin completed the scoring with his fifth extra point kick, making it 35-0 with 9:53 remaining. The five play, 62-yard drive had taken just 1:45.
Arenas added to his return yardage, but as a defensive back, when he intercepted a B. J. Coleman pass at the Alabama 16 and returned it 22 yards to the Alabama 38 with 4:34 remaining in the first half. The opportunity was not cashed, punter P.J. Fitzgerald kicking for the second time in the first half. Chattanooga ran out the clock, trailing 35-0 at halftime.
Things got worse before they got better for UTC in the second half. On first down, Justin Woodal intercepted a pass at the Chattanooga 43 and returned to the Alabama 32.
Alabama's second offense with Star Jackson at quarterback entered the game on Bama's first possession. Richardson ran twice for a first down at the 21. Two Roy Upchurch runs got only a couple, and then Jackson was sacked. Tiffin's 41-yard field goal made it 38-0 with 11:43 to play.
Tiffin tied Alabama records of 25 field goals in a season and 78 in a career. He had the 25 record in 2007 and Philip Doyle had 78 (1987-90).
In addition to back-up players on offense and defense, Julio Jones, probably under orders to fair catch, took over punt-catching duties in the second half. Jeremy Shelley tried a 43-yard field goal (it was short) in the fourth quarter.
Alabama tacked on a final touchdown with four minutes remaining in the game. Roy Upchurch took it 21 yards to complete an eight-play, 72-yard drive that took 4:33. Shelley got his first career point and the 45th of the game for the Tide.
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BamaMagYesterday at 5:34 PM