Alabama Travels to Georgia
Sept. 22, 2008
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (4-0) vs. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (4-0)
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 - 6:45 p.m. (CDT) - ESPN - Sanford Stadium (92,746) - Athens, Ga.
TODAY'S GAME: The University of Alabama football faces its second top 10 opponent of the 2008 season on Saturday night when the Crimson Tide visits the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The game is slated to kickoff at 6:45 p.m. (CDT) at Sanford Stadium (capacity: 92,746) and will be televised nationally by ESPN with Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe calling the action. Georgia (4-0) is coming off of a 27-10 win over Arizona State last Saturday night in Tempe, Ariz. The Bulldogs are 1-0 in SEC play after holding off South Carolina in Columbia on Sept. 13, 14-7.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his second season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 102-48-1 (.679) record as a collegiate head coach, including an 11-6 (.647) mark at Alabama and a 4-0 record in 2008. He captured his 100th career victory in week two against Tulane and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach in week three vs. Western Kentucky. Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games. Saban is one of just two Football Bowl Subdivision coaches that have been head coaches for at least 10 years and have never suffered a losing season. For more information on Coach Saban, please see pages 11-12 of this notes package.
RANKINGS: Alabama moved up one spot in the Associated Press rankings this week to No. 8 after entering the top 10 the week prior at No. 9. It was the Crimson Tide's first appearance in the top 10 since the final poll of the 2005 season (No. 8). Alabama is also ranked No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches poll. The Crimson Tide began the 2008 season ranked 24th in the AP preseason poll. It was the first time the Tide was ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 since 2001, when UA opened the season 25th in the rankings. No. 8 Alabama is one of four Southeastern Conference schools ranked in the AP top 10 with Georgia at No. 3, Florida at No. 4 and LSU at No. 5.
GEORGIA SERIES: Alabama leads the Georgia series 35-25-4, including an 11-7 edge for the Crimson Tide in Athens. UA's last win in Athens came in 1995, a 31-0 Alabama victory. The Bulldogs have won three straight in the series. UGA pulled out a 26-23 overtime win in Bryant-Denny Stadium last year for just the second win for Georgia in Tuscaloosa. The Georgia series is the third-oldest in Alabama history, dating back to 1895.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY: The popular college football pregame show, "College Gameday" will be at the Alabama-Georgia game this Saturday in Athens. It will mark Alabama's second appearance on the show this season. The Tide's 2008 season opener against Clemson also hosted GameDay on Aug. 30 from Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard will be in Athens to preview a showdown of Top 10 SEC teams. Alabama is making its 12th overall appearance on ESPN College Gameday and its third in the Nick Saban era. The Tide is 4-7 in games featured on Gameday. Alabama made its College Gameday debut with a 21-14 win over Auburn during the 1994 season at Legion Field. Alabama has been on ESPN College Gameday for eight home games, including five Tuscaloosa games and three Birmingham games. The Crimson Tide has also appeared on ESPN College Gameday twice on the road at Auburn in 1995 and LSU in 1996.
FAST-STARTING TIDE: Alabama scored 21 first quarter points last Saturday at Arkansas and went to the half with a 35-7 advantage. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opposition this season a combined 64-0 in the first quarter and 102-13 in the first half of its four games. Alabama shutout Clemson (13-0), Tulane (13-0) and Western Kentucky (17-0) in the first period this year. The Tide has continued its hot start through the second quarter as well, outscoring its opponents by a 102-13 margin during the first half of play this season.
KEEPING IT CLEAN: Alabama ranks ninth nationally in penalty yards per game at with just 29.5 through four games. The Tide is second in the SEC in penalty yards per game, trailing only Vanderbilt (28.75) The Crimson Tide also rank tied for 17th nationally with just 4.00 penalties per game, which also ranks second in the SEC behind Vanderbilt (2.75 per game).
FRESHMAN IMPACT: Several members of the Crimson Tide's touted 2008 recruiting class have already made a significant impact on the field. Freshman running back Mark Ingram (Flint, Mich.) ranks second on the team in rushing and ninth in the Southeastern Conference with 65.8 yards per game (263 yards on 43 carries) and a team-best four touchdowns. Rookie wide receiver Julio Jones is second on the team in receptions (11) and leads the squad in receiving yards (132 or 33.0 per game) and touchdowns (3). On the other side of the football, Dont'a Hightower is fourth on the team and 32nd in the SEC in tackles with 17 stops - eight solo - in four games (4.2 tackles per game). Hightower has also forced one fumble and recovered another. Junior college transfer Terrence Cody has also cast a large shadow for the Tide defense, the 6-5, 365-pound nose guard has 12 tackles on the season with a three tackles for loss (-6) while also causing and recovering a fumble.
TRUE FRESHMAN PARTICIPATION: Alabama is fourth nationally in true freshman participation. The Crimson Tide has played 15 true freshmen during the 2008 season. Alabama has had two true freshman starters while 13 others made contributions. Florida State leads the nation with 22 true freshmen seeing time in its opener while Miami has started 21 and Arkansas 16.
2008 FBS Top True Freshmen Participation: Florida State (22), Miami (16), ALABAMA (15), Arkansas (15), SMU (11), Iowa State (11), UAB (10), Air Force (10), Central Michigan (10) and Florida (10).
NEXT GAME: Alabama returns to the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 4 to face the Kentucky Wildcats. It will be the Crimson Tide's first home SEC game after opening conference play at Arkansas and Georgia. Alabama owns a 33-2-1 lead in the series and has won two straight in the series (2003 & 2004). The Wildcats' last victory was a 40-34 overtime win in 1997.