TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Six Alabama players earned player of the week honors following the Crimson Tide’s 52-6 opening game victory over Western Carolina, head coach Nick Saban announced Monday.
Center Antoine Caldwell and running back Terry Grant were named the players of the week on offense after the Tide piled up 575 total yards Saturday night the most since 2001. Grant ran for 134 yards on 18 carries (all in the first half) and scored three touchdowns on the ground, which is tops in the SEC. He ran for a 47-yard touchdown on the game’s first play. Caldwell, a Rimington Award candidate, handled the offensive line calls and did not allow a sack or a pressure. Alabama rushed for a total of 313 yards and also set a new school record with 35 first downs. The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in scoring offense and total offense.
Defensively, linebackers Ezekial Knight and Darren Mustin shared player of the week honors after holding the Catamounts to six points and 247 total yards. Knight recorded four tackles (two solo) and also had a sack (-16) and a forced fumble. Mustin was the team’s second leading tackler in the game with seven stops (0.5 TFL). Alabama ranks third in the SEC in scoring defense and fourth in total defense.
Javier Arenas and Rashad Johnson were named special teams player of the week by the coaching staff. Arenas brought back two kickoffs for 75 yards and two punts for 13 yards. He took the opening kickoff back 30 yards to the Western Carolina 47 to set up Grant’s first-play TD run and his second kickoff return of 45 yards to the WCU 36 set up another TD to increase UA’s lead to 21-3 in the second quarter. Johnson had a big game all-around for the Crimson Tide as he led the team with eight total tackles (four solo). Johnson also had a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.