Sept. 24, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - One of the nation's top run defenses and touchdowns by Javier Arenas and Justin Woodall in the win at Arkansas, highlight this week's defensive notebook, which can be found each Wednesday on RollTide.com.
TIDE 8TH NATIONALLY IN RUSHING DEFENSE: The Crimson Tide ranks eighth nationally in rushing defense after the first four games of the 2008 season. Alabama opponents have 99 rushing attempts for 220 yards, an average of 55.0 yards per game and 2.22 yards per attempt this season. The top five teams in the nation in terms of rushing defense are No. 1 TCU (30.5), No. 2 Louisville (42.0 ypg), Georgia (45.8 ypg), Florida State (48.3 ypg) and Kentucky (50.3 ypg). The Crimson Tide defense opened the season in impressive fashion by holding Clemson to zero rushing yards in the season opener. The Tigers featured the tailback tandem of C.J. Spiller and James Davis, who were held in check all night by the Tide defense. The duo was held to 20 rushing yards on 12 attempts. In the Crimson Tide's second game Alabama held Tulane to 86 rushing yards on 32 attempts, then allowed just 42 yards on 22 carries vs. Western Kentucky and held Arkansas to 92 yards on 31 rushes.
STOPPING THE RUN: Alabama is 7-2 under Coach Nick Saban when holding opponents to less than 100 rushing yards in a game, including a 4-0 mark in 2008. The Crimson Tide has held Clemson (0), Tulane (86), Western Kentucky (42) and Arkansas (92) to less than 100 rushing yards total in the first four games this season. But going back to 2007, the Crimson Tide has held five straight opponents below 100 yards rushing with Colorado amassing just 75 yards in the 2007 Independence Bowl. Alabama was 3-2 last year when opponents failed to reach 100 rushing yards in a game.
TOUGH TO FIND THE END ZONE: Alabama has gone 20 consecutive quarters of action without yielding points on the ground, spanning all four games this season and last year's Independence Bowl victory over Colorado. The last rushing touchdown by an Alabama opponent was scored by Auburn on a one-yard plunge by quarterback Brandon Cox with 3:58 left in the fourth quarter on November 24, 2007 at Auburn. During that five-game stretch, the Crimson Tide has not allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards and is 5-0. Alabama has allowed its opponents to rush for just 59.0 yards per game (295 total rushing yards) during that five-game stretch for an average of 2.32 yards per carry.
TIDE SCORES 2 DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS: Alabama's defense scored two touchdowns against Arkansas, both on interception returns. That marked the first time in Alabama history that the Crimson Tide had scored two touchdowns on interceptions returns in the same game. Since 2001, Alabama has had four games in which the Tide scored two defensive touchdowns:
Sept. 20, 2008 - at Arkansas (Javier Arenas 63-yard interception return; Justin Woodall 74-yard interception return)
Nov. 5, 2005 - at Mississippi State (Matt Miller 15-yard fumble return; Rudy Griffin 17-yard interception return)
Oct. 4, 2003 - at Georgia (Charles Jones 30-yard interception; Juwan Garth 10-yard fumble return)
Sept. 22, 2001 - Arkansas (Reggie Myles 42-yard fumble return; Thurman Ward 60-yard interception return)
ARENAS SCORES - ON DEFENSE THIS TIME: Junior cornerback Javier Arenas intercepted an Arkansas pass last week and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown with 53 seconds left in the first quarter to give Alabama a 21-0 lead. That marked the first Alabama interception return for a touchdown since Jeffrey Dukes took an interception 24 yards for a score against Mississippi State on November 4, 2006, in Tuscaloosa. The interception return for a score is Arenas' fifth touchdown via return in his Alabama career, and his first via an interception. Arenas also has four punt returns for touchdowns. The interception was Arenas' first career theft at Alabama.
WOODALL TAKES IT TO THE HOUSE: Crimson Tide junior safety Justin Woodall intercepted an Arkansas pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown to give the Crimson Tide a 35-7 in the second quarter. The interception was the second of Woodall's Alabama career and his return tied for the 12th-longest interception return in Alabama history. It was also his second interception in as many games. He ranks tied for eighth in the SEC in interceptions with .50 per game and tied for 38th nationally.
PICK SIX: The Alabama defense recorded four interceptions, six pass break-ups and scored two touchdowns in the 49-14 win at Arkansas on Sept. 20. The Tide had four interceptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yard interception return by Javier Arenas and a 74-yard interception return by Justin Woodall. The four interceptions are the most by the Alabama defense since Hawai'i quarterback Timmy Chang threw four picks in a 21-16 Tide win on Nov. 30, 2002, in Honolulu. The 131 interception return yards were just 10 shy of the single-game record of 141 yards set against Tennessee in 1951. The Tide has registered six interceptions on the season, ranking third in the SEC while their two interception returns for touchdowns are tied for the most in the league.