Sept. 13, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 4-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide used a balanced attack to rack up more than 500 yards of total offense and score five touchdowns on its way to defeating Florida International 40-14 in front of a sellout crowd in the home-opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.
Freshman Trent Richardson made his debut at Bryant-Denney Stadium a memorable one with two rushing touchdowns in the second half. Richardson's first score came on a nine-yard carry to take the Tide lead to 26-14 late in the third quarter. Then, following a 49-yard Javier Arenas punt return, Richardson struck again with a 35-yard burst to extend the lead to 33-14 on the first play of the fourth.
The defense stiffened in the second half, shutting out the Golden Panthers and holding them to 95 yards of total offense. For the game, Florida International managed only one rushing yard. Junior linebacker Rolando McClain led the team with 10 tackles, and sophomore defensive lineman Marcel Dareus had two of the team's five sacks. Sophomore strong safety Mark Barron came up with an interception late in the fourth quarter giving the Tide one forced turnover for the game.
BY THE NUMBERS: Here is a look at some of the number from Saturday's win over Florida International.
1 - The number of rushing yards by Florida International on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The Golden Panthers ran the ball 26 times, which included five quarterback sacks. The last time Alabama held an opponent to so few rushing yards came in the 2008 season opener when No. 9 Clemson ran 14 times for zero yards in a 34-10 loss to Alabama.
10 - Alabama has 10 sacks in its first two games of the season and ranks second nationally with 5.0 sacks per game. Sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus leads the Crimson Tide with 3.5 (-25) sacks this season, while junior linebacker Rolando McClain has two sacks (-19). Alabama only had four sacks (-36 yards) at this point last season and did not record its 10th sack of the year until the seventh game against Kentucky on Oct. 4. In 14 games last season, the Tide recorded 26 total sacks, an average of 1.86 sacks per game.
20 - The Crimson Tide has 20 tackles for loss in its first two games against Virginia Tech and Florida International. The 20 TFLs have resulted in -91 yards rushing this season. Alabama leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 10 tackles for loss per game. Sophomore defensive end Marcell Dareus (-25), junior linebacker Rolando McClain (-22) and sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower (-6) all have 3.5 tackles for loss in the first two games of the season.
32.5 - The Alabama defense leads the SEC in rushing defense (32.5), sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (10.0) this season. The Crimson Tide has held both Virginia Tech and Florida International to a combined 65 rushing yards in the first two games. Virginia Tech managed 64 rushing yards (31 attempts) in the season opener, while FIU netted one yard (26 attempts) on the ground last week. The one rushing yard allowed by Alabama against FIU was the lowest total since the Tide held Clemson to zero rushing yards (14 attempts) in the 2008 season opener in Atlanta.
516 - The Crimson Tide rolled up 516 yards of total offense in the win over Florida International, marking the fourth time under head coach Nick Saban the Crimson Tide had amassed 500 yards in a game. Here is a look at the top-five offensive performances in the Saban era.
Top Offensive Games (Saban Era)
575 vs. Western Carolina (313 rushing/262 passing) (Sept. 1, 2007)
557 vs. Western Kentucky (281 rushing/276 passing) (Sept. 13, 2008)
516 vs. Florida International (275 rushing/241 passing) (Sept. 12, 2009)
510 vs. Tennessee (147 rushing/363 passing) (Oct. 20, 2007)
498 vs. Virginia Tech (268 rushing/230 passing) (Sept. 5, 2008)
1,014 - Alabama's offense is off to s solid start under first-year quarterback Greg McElroy. The Crimson Tide has piled up 1,014 yards of total offense this season in wins over Virginia Tech and Florida International. The 1,014 yards are the most by Alabama in back-to-back games since compiling 1,104 yards in consecutive games against South Carolina (516) and UTEP (588) during the 2001 season. Alabama is coming off its best offensive output of the season and third-best in the Saban era with 516 total yards in its 40-14 win over Florida International last week in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide had 275 rushing yards and 241 passing yards in the win over the Golden Panthers. In the season opener, Alabama racked up 498 yards of total offense, the fifth best offensive day under Saban, in a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech.
Most Total Offense in Consecutive Games (Since 2000)
1,104 vs. South Carolina (516) and UTEP (588) in 2001
1,014 vs. Virginia Tech (498) and Florida International (516) in 2009
959 vs. Western Kentucky (557) and Arkansas (402) in 2008
950 vs. Mississippi State (401) and Auburn (549) in 2001
951 vs. UTEP (588) and Ole Miss (363) in 2001
946 vs. Western Carolina (575) and Vandy (371) in 2008
924 vs. Southern Mississippi (372) and Arkansas (552) in 2002
906 vs. North Texas (534) and Southern Mississippi (372) in 2002
888 vs. Ole Miss (378) and Tennessee (510) in 2008
886 vs. Mississippi State (409) and LSU (477) in 2002
NEXT GAME: Alabama (2-0) will host North Texas (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised by the SEC Network with kick off set for 11:21 a.m. (CST). After opening the season with a 20-10 win at Ball State, North Texas dropped a 31-30 double-overtime game to Ohio on Saturday night in Denton, Texas. The Mean Green leads the Sun Belt Conference in total defense (270.5) and pass efficiency defense (90.27), while ranking second in pass defense (154.5).
The defense is anchored by Tobe Nwigwe (26 tackles) and Craig Robertson (21 tackles) this season. On offense, the Mean Green is third in the Sun Belt in rushing (205.5) and boasts the league's top rusher and No. 2 receiver. Cam Montgomery leads the league with 118.5 rushing yards per game, while Jamaal Jackson is second in receiving with 63.5 yards per game.