Enough To Win

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Certainly, Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack and Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner were happy, very happy, after the 43-37 win over Alabama her Saturday night, but both felt there were things their respective units could do better.

"I didn't see that one coming," said Wommack, who is not used to his vaunted Rebel defense giving up 37 points, but who was elated nonetheless. "God is good. Glory to Him.

"The bottom line is that we played a spectacular first half and then got a little gassed in the second half. There were things we know we can do better and will have to fix. We ran short of personnel at the end, but we hung in there long enough to get the win over a tough Alabama team that would not give in, would not go away, even when we felt we had them put away. Credit to them."

Wommack said the game was "a war" with the difference being the turnover margin.

"We caused three turnovers, which were big and came at a great time to get us going," he noted. "From there, it turned into a game of two halves. We played a really nice first half and then just kind of went off the rails some in the second half. I'm not taking anything away from Bama, but when we got gassed, we played differently.

"We will have to see what happened because we will have seven more SEC wars and we can't have a second half lapse like that and expect to come out on top."

Dave said Rebel DT Robert Nkemdiche had "one of his best games."

"We had a lot of guys assert themselves, but Rob was devastating before he started cramping and he even gutted through that," Wommack noted.

Werner was like Wommack - he wasn't looking for the type of game he got, but he was quick to praise the Rebel defense for jump-starting the UM offense.

"Forty three points on that defense? You never dream of that, but our defense game us several short fields and we took advantage of it," said Dan. "We had some explosive plays and we knew we would have to have two or three of those to win the game - it's who we are.

"And I will say this - I thought we ran the ball well enough to keep Bama honest, and they are a tough team to run against."

Chad Kelly got his first SEC action and Werner was pleased, for the most part.

"Number one, he took care of the ball. We had zero turnovers and they had five. That's how you win. He put up 43 points and threw for 341 yards on 18-33 passing for three TDs," Werner added. "Overall, I can't say enough about all of them, and Chad was good and only going to get better. He passed his first SEC test for sure."

At the end of the game, the Rebel offensive line had freshman Javon Patterson, RS freshmen Sean Rawlings and Jordan Sims and Ben Still at center, yet they neutralized Bama for the most part.

"I said it last week. Matt Luke has done a tremendous job developing depth with our OL," said Werner. "We are not afraid to play any of those guys.

"We had three freshmen in there most of the second half and they held their own against a defensive line touted to be the best in the nation. Great, great job."

The Rebel defense gave up 503 yards on a whopping 100 plays, a lot of that in the fourth stanza when the Rebs were obviously out of juice. Conversely, the Rebel offense was limited to 65 plays but they gained 433 yards, over 6 yards a play in as hostile an environment as you can play in.

"It was all good because of the way the score ended and we are getting on the bus with a win, but we can do much much better and that is encouraging," Dan closed.

Indeed - great win, but only the beginning.


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