ALABAMA GAME NOTES
Alabama Football at Vanderbilt
Saturday, September 8, 2007
GENERAL GAME NOTES: Alabama game captains were senior receiver DJ Hall, senior weakside linebacker Darren Mustin and senior left guard Justin Britt...Vanderbilt won the opening coin toss and chose to receive, Alabama chose to defend the south end zone...a pair of Crimson Tide veterans who missed the season opener due to suspension (WR Keith Brown and LB Prince Hall) saw their first game action of the season today.
TIDE SCORES ON GAME’S FIRST PLAY AGAIN: For the second consecutive game, the Crimson Tide offense scored a touchdown on its first offensive play as Terry Grant scored on a one-yard run with 12:26 left in the first period. The play was set up by a 69-yard punt return by Javier Arenas following Vanderbilt’s game-starting offensive possession. Last week, Alabama scored on its first offensive play from scrimmage when Grant ran 47 yards for a score following another good punt return by Arenas against Western Carolina. This is believed to be the first time in Alabama football history that the Tide has opened consecutive games with a touchdown on the first offensive play from scrimmage.
DEFENSE HAS ALLOWED 1 TOUCHDOWN IN EIGHT QUARTERS OF PLAY: The Alabama defense has allowed just one touchdown in eight quarters of action this season. The unit had prevented a touchdown for more than seven quarters of play to start the season before Vanderbilt notched the first touchdown by an opposing offense against the Crimson Tide on a 15-yard pass by Mackenzi Adams to George Smith with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter to cut the Alabama lead to 24-10.
FIRST-TIME STARTERS: The Alabama offense started the game in a goal line offense featuring three tight ends following Javier Arenas’ punt return to the Vanderbilt one-yard line. Redshirt freshman tight end Preston Dial and junior tight end Travis McCall joined fullback Baron Huber as first-time starters for the Tide due to that situation. For the second straight game, Alabama started defensively in a nickel formation with Kareem Jackson at nickel back. At strongside linebacker Zeke Knight started today’s game, his first career start for the Tide.
ALABAMA-VANDERBILT SERIES: This afternoon’s game marked the 22nd time that the Crimson Tide and Commodores have played in an SEC opener. Alabama owns an 18-3-1 (.841) advantage over Vanderbilt in those 22 meetings and has a 19-game winning streak in the series. The Commodores’ last win in the series was a 30-21 decision in Tuscaloosa on September 29, 1984. Vanderbilt has scored 10 points or less in 10 of the last 13 meetings with Alabama.
ALABAMA IN SEC OPENERS: Alabama is 48-20-4 (.694) all-time in SEC openers and has won 16 straight SEC openers dating back to the 1992 season. Alabama’s last loss in an SEC opener came on September 14, 1991, in a 35-0 loss at Florida. Vanderbilt is UA’s most common opponent in SEC openers (22 games). Alabama is 9-1-1 (.864) in SEC openers played in Nashville, Tenn.
SEC Openers by Opponent (Since 1933)
Opponent Record (Last Meeting)
Auburn 0-0 (NA)
Arkansas 1-0 (2002)
Florida 2-3 (1991)
Georgia 6-2 (1985)
Kentucky 3-0 (1989)
LSU 4-1-2 (1981)
Mississippi State 2-2 (1942)
Ole Miss 8-2 (1983)
South Carolina 1-0 (2005)
Tennessee 0-3 (1940)
Vanderbilt 18-3-1 (2007)
*Alabama has compiled a 161-40-5 (.794) in 206 all-time games in the month of September.
*Alabama is 12-3 (.800) in the month of September in the last four seasons.
*Head Coach Nick Saban is 33-10-1 (.760) during his career in the month of September.
*Saban’s teams are 12-1 (.923) in their last 13 September games, dating back to 2002.
*Saban directed teams to undefeated records in September in 1990 (4-0), 1997 (3-0), 1999 (4-0) and 2003 (4-0).
ON THIS DATE
*Alabama is 3-3 (.500) in games played on September 8.
*Prior to today’s game, the last time the Tide had played on this date was a 12-9 win at Vanderbilt during the 2001 season. It was the first win for then-head coach Dennis Franchione.
GAMES PLAYED ON SEPTEMBER 8
Result of Game Year
Missouri 20, Alabama 7 1975
Alabama 30, Georgia Tech 6 1979
Boston College 38, Alabama 31 1984
Southern Miss 27, Alabama 24 1990
Alabama 12, Vanderbilt 9 2001
Alabama 24, Vanderbilt 10 2007
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
- Redshirt freshman running back Terry Grant eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards today, marking the second consecutive game in which he has rushed for more than 100 yards. Grant rushed for 173 yards (7.2-yard average) and two touchdowns on 24 carries today; one week after rushing for 134 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries in the season opener against Western Carolina. Grant surpassed 100 yards today on a 35-yard run to the Vanderbilt 19-yard line late in the third quarter.
- Grant proved to be a workhorse in the second half today, rushing eight times for 80 yards on Alabama’s 86-yard scoring drive that led to a two-yard scoring run by Grant to give the Tide a 24-3 lead with 14:19 left in the fourth quarter. Grant closed that march by toting the ball on six consecutive plays.
- Sophomore return specialist Javier Arenas set up Alabama’s first touchdown of the game by returning a Vanderbilt punt 69 yards to the VU one-yard line. Arenas ended the day averaging 26.3 yards per punt return today, with 79 yards on three returns in the game. He averaged 19.7 yards on kickoff returns, taking three back for 59 total yards. Arenas accounted for 138 all-purpose yards today, averaging 23.0 yards on six touches.
- With 67 yards on three catches today, senior receiver DJ Hall is now just 34 yards shy of becoming the school’s all-time leader for career receiving yards. Former All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome (1974-77) holds the all-time record with 2,070 career yards while Hall stands at 2,037 entering next week’s game. In 38 career games, Hall has 134 catches for 2,037 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last year as a junior, he caught 62 passes for a school single-season record 1,062 yards and five touchdowns. David Palmer held the previous single-season record with 1,000 yards during the 1993 season.
- With three catches today, Hall has caught at least one pass in 20 consecutive games, dating back to the 2005 season. The streak began at Ole Miss on October 15, 2005, when he hauled in a 10-yard reception in the second quarter. He has had nine 100-yard games during the streak. Hall has also produced three double-digit receptions (10 or more catches) games during the streak.
- Junior free safety Rashad Johnson notched the first interception of his Alabama career today, picking off a Vanderbilt pass with five seconds remaining in the first period to set up Alabama at its own 41-yard line with a 10-3 lead.
- Sophomore placekicker Leigh Tiffin made field goals of 20, 40 and 29 yards and missed on attempts of 48 and 49 yards today, moving to 4-for-8 on the season for field goals, and 12-for-21 for his career.
- Sophomore punter P.J. Fitzgerald averaged 41.6 yards per punt on five attempts today. His 58-yard punt in the third quarter was a career long. Fitzgerald’s previous longest punt was a 55-yard effort against Hawai’i in 2006.