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Football Games Notes vs. Clemson

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson surpassed the Alabama career pass completions mark in the second quarter.
Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson surpassed the Alabama career pass completions mark in the second quarter.

Aug. 30, 2008


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ALABAMA DEFENSE The Crimson Tide's young defense had an impressive debut tonight against Clemson's high-powered offense, holding the Tigers to 0 yards rushing and 188 yards of total offense. Through three quarters, Alabama held Clemson to only two yards rushing and 129 total yards with seven first downs without a touchdown allowed (the Tigers' only score at that point came on a kickoff return). In the first half, Clemson mounted only three points and 89 total yards (seven rushing, 82 passing). Through three quarters, Alabama had outgained Clemson by a margin of 341 to 129, amassing 185-2 edge in rushing yardage and a 156-127 edge in passing yards.

BALL CONTROL Alabama controlled the ball for much of the game, a key factor in containing Clemson's potent attack. Alabama held possession for 41:13 of the game, compared to Clemson's 18:47, while running 80 plays to Clemson' 48. In the first half, Alabama held a 21:30 to 8:30 edge in possession time, running 45 plays from scrimmage to Clemson's 22. Through three quarters, Alabama had a time of possession edge of 32:19 to 12:41 and had run 67 plays from scrimmage to Clemson's 31.

SABAN-LED TIDE IMPROVES TO 8-1 WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF Alabama held a 23-3 halftime lead. With the victory over Clemson, Alabama has a record of 8-1 when leading at the half under head coach Nick Saban. The only loss was a 41-34 loss to LSU last season in Tuscaloosa.

TIFFIN BOOTS CAREER-LONG FIELD GOAL Junior kicker Leigh Tiffin connected on four of five field goals in the victory over Clemson. He opened the scoring with a career-long 54-yard field goal in the first quarter and extended the Alabama lead to 6-0 midway through the period with a 21-yard field goal, and capped the first half with a 34-yard field goal for a 23-3 Tide lead. He added a 26-yarder in the fourth period to give the Tide a 34-10 lead. With those successful attempts, Tiffin has made 23 of his last 28 field goal attempts dating back to the Georgia game last year. His 54-yarder ranks third in Alabama history, exceeded only by a 57-yarder by his father, Van Tiffin, against Texas A&M in 1985 and a 55-yarder by Ryan Pflugner against Arkansas in 1998. Pflugner's kick joins Leigh Tiffin's as the longest made field goals in Tide history kicking without the benefit of a kicking tee.

WILSON SETS CAREER COMPLETIONS MARK; SCORES ON SNEAK FOR 13-0 LEAD Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson surpassed the Alabama career pass completions mark in the second quarter tonight, with a 5-yard pass to tight end Nick Walker. Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception in tonight's game. The completions move his career total to 500, exceeding the previous Tide record of 488 set by Brodie Croyle (2002-05). Wilson also surpassed the Alabama career pass attempts mark with 882, exceeding Croyle's 869. Wilson extended Alabama's early lead to 13-0 with a 1-yard touchdown sneak with 2:51 left in the first quarter. The touchdown run was the seventh rushing TD of his career and his 44th touchdown responsible for in his career (7 rushing, 37 passing).

WALKER SETS CAREER SINGLE-GAME HIGH FOR CATCHES - IN FIRST HALF Senior tight end Nick Walker set a career-high for catches in a game in tonight's first half with six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown. He finished the game with a game-high 7 catches for 67 yards and one touchdown. Walker's four-yard touchdown catch with 6:01 left in the second quarter was his fifth catch of the game and gave the Tide a 20-3 lead over Clemson. Walker caught four passes for 35 yards on that drive, including a 21-yard catch on a third-and-1 play to the Clemson 25. Walker caught five passes (for 40 yards) against Western Carolina last year. Walker's yardage eclipsed his previous single-game high of 46 yards against Ole Miss in 2005.

Julio Jones HAS SOLID DEBUT Highly touted true freshman wide receiver Julio Jones caught 4 passes for 28 yards, highlighted by a 4-yard touchdown catch of a John Parker Wilson pass to give Alabama a 31-10 lead with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Jones's catch capped a 14-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 6:52 of the clock to give the Tide the 21-point lead.

TIDE SCORES ON OPENING POSSESSION Alabama scored on its first possession against Clemson as Leigh Tiffin connected on a 54-yard field goal for a 3-0 Alabama lead, marking the third consecutive season opener in which the Tide has taken the opening possession to a score. Last year, running back Terry Grant scored on a 47-yard run on the game's first play. In 2006, Alabama scored on a field goal by Leigh Tiffin against Hawaii. In 14 games under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama has scored on its first possession 10 times (4 touchdowns, 6 field goals).

FIRST-TIME PLAYERS Twelve players made their Alabama debuts in this game: true freshman Julio Jones (WR), true freshman Mark Ingram (RB), true freshman B.J. Scott (WR), redshirt freshman Marquis Maze (WR), true freshman Chris Jackson (WR), true freshman Dont'a Hightower (LB), true freshman Chris Jordan (LB), junior transfer Terrence Cody (DT), true freshman Mark Barron (DB), redshirt freshman Chris Underwood (TE), true freshman Marcel Dareus (DL) and true freshman Robby Green (DB).

TWO TRUE FRESHMEN START SEASON OPENER True freshman wide receiver Julio Jones started the Clemson game at kickoff return and wide receiver, becoming only the 10th true freshman to start in a season opener since freshmen regained their eligibility from the NCAA in 1972. Last year a pair of true freshmen, mike linebacker Rolando McClain and cornerback Kareem Jackson, started the season opener. In 1999, Alabama started freshman left tackle Dante Ellington and linebacker Saleem Rasheed in its 28-17 win at Vanderbilt. Alabama has started at least one true freshman in the season opener in each of the last three seasons as left tackle Andre Smith started his first game at Alabama in the 2006 season opener against Hawaii.

Player, Pos. Year
Julio Jones, WR/KR 2008
Dont'a Hightower, LB 2008
Rolando McClain, LB 2007
Kareem Jackson, DB 2007
Andre Smith, LT 2006
Tim Castille, FB 2003
Dante Ellington, RT 1999
Saleem Rasheed, LB 1999
Terry Jones, Jr., TE 1998
Jon Stevenson, RT 1991

TONIGHT'S CAPTAINS Alabama's game captains against Clemson were senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, senior center Antoine Caldwell and senior safety Rashad Johnson.

ALABAMA-CLEMSON SERIES With the victory, Alabama leads the series with Clemson, 12-3. This game was the first meeting between the two schools since the Crimson Tide posted a 56-0 win over the Tigers on Sept. 20, 1975, at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has won the last 12 meetings, including its first series win on Oct. 16, 1909 at the Birmingham Fairgrounds with UA winning, 3-0.

ALABAMA IMPROVES TO 77-33-1 VS. ACC With the victory, Alabama improves to 77-33-1 (.698) against the current ACC field. The Crimson Tide's record against the ACC field includes Boston College (1-3), Clemson (12-3), Duke (2-1), Florida State (2-1-1), Georgia Tech (28-21-3), Maryland (2-1), Miami, Fla. (14-3), North Carolina (1-0), North Carolina State (5-0) and Virginia Tech (0-1) ... Alabama has never faced Virginia or Wake Forest in football.

SABAN IMPROVES TO 3-2 VS. ACC Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 3-2 (.600) in his career against ACC teams ... In addition to the win over Clemson, Saban has posted wins against Boston College (1995) and Georgia Tech (2000) and suffered losses to Virginia Tech (2002) and Florida State (2007). He is 1-1 against ACC teams at Alabama, including last year's 21-14 loss to the Seminoles in Jacksonville, Fla.

ALABAMA 90-21-3 IN SEASON OPENERS Alabama has compiled an 90-21-3 all-time record in season openers, including a seven-game winning streak. Dating back to the 1977 season, Alabama is 28-4 in its last 32 season openers. The Tide has posted a 16-2 opening day record since 1991.

SABAN IS 10-3 IN SEASON OPENERS Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 10-3 in his collegiate season openers after the win over Clemson. He led Alabama to a 52-6 win over Western Carolina on Sept. 1, 2007 in his inaugural game with the Crimson Tide. Saban won his very first collegiate game on Sept. 8, 1990 as he led Toledo to a 20-14 win over Miami (Ohio). Saban was 3-2 in season openers at Michigan State and was 4-1 in season openers at LSU.

DOME SWEET DOME With the win over Clemson, Alabama is 8-3-1 (.708) all-time in domed stadiums. The Clemson game was Alabama's first appearance in a domed stadium since handing No. 5 Florida a 34-7 loss in the 1999 SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4, 1999, at the Georgia Dome. UA is 1-2 (.333) in its three SEC Championship game appearances at the Georgia Dome. In addition, Alabama is 6-1 (.857) in games played at the Louisiana Superdome, including a 5-1 (.833) mark in Sugar Bowl games. Alabama beat Penn State, 13-6, in the first Sugar Bowl game played in the Superdome on Dec. 31, 1975. The Crimson Tide also tied Oklahoma in the 1970 Bluebonnett Bowl inside the Astrodome in Houston.

TIDE IMPROVES TO 28-27-3 IN GAMES IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA Alabama is 28-27-3 (.509) all-time in games played in the state of Georgia. The Crimson Tide owns a 16-15-3 (.514) record in the city of Atlanta and has won six of its last eight games in Atlanta.

NEUTRAL SITES Alabama is 63-44-4 (.585) in neutral site games. The list includes all Alabama-Auburn games not played on campus, including Legion Field from 1948-88.

NEXT GAME Alabama opens the home portion of its 2008 football schedule on Saturday, Sept. 6, against the Tulane Green Wave. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis beginning at 6 p.m. (CDT).