Oct. 1, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide defense has not allowed 100 yards rushing in its first five games this season. In fact, the Tide is 8-2 under Coach Nick Saban when holding an opponent to less than 100 yards on the ground. The Crimson Tide defense is featured each Wednesday on RollTide.com.
STOPPING THE RUN: Alabama is 8-2 under coach Nick Saban when holding opponents to less than 100 rushing yards in a game, including a 5-0 mark in 2008. The Crimson Tide has held Clemson (0), Tulane (86), Western Kentucky (42), Arkansas (92) and Georgia (50) to less than 100 rushing yards in the first five games this season. But going back to 2007, the Crimson Tide has held six 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.
UA RANKS THIRD IN RUSHING DEFENSE: The Crimson Tide leads the SEC and ranks third nationally in rushing defense after the first five games of the 2008 season. Alabama opponents have 115 rushing attempts for 270 yards, an average of 54.0 yards per game and 2.35 yards per attempt this season. The top five teams in the nation in terms of rushing defense are No. 1 TCU (29.4 ypg), Texas (52.5), Alabama (54.0), South Florida (58.8) and Utah (60.2). The Crimson Tide defense opened the season in impressive fashion by holding Clemson to zero rushing yards in the season opener. 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, held Arkansas to 92 yards on 31 rushes and contained Georgia to 50 yards on 16 attempts.
UA AMONG SCORING DEFENSE LEADERS: Alabama is in the top 20 nationally in four defensive categories after five games this season. The Crimson Tide ranks 18th nationally in total defense, allowing just 259.4 yards per game. The rushing defense is third in the country, giving up just 54 yards per contest. The scoring defense ranks 15th nationally, allowing just 13.4 points per game, which is fifth in the SEC. Finally, the pass efficiency defense comes in at No. 18 this week, allowing an efficiency rating of just 100.41 to opposing quarterbacks.
Justin Woodall: Woodall ranks second in the SEC with 0.6 interceptions per game this season. Woodall has three total interceptions to lead the UA defense, including one interception in each of his last three games against Western Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia. Woodall’s first career “pick” came in the win over Western Kentucky on Sept. 13 and he followed that up with a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown the next week at Arkansas. In five games, Woodall has 18 tackles, four pass break-ups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles for the Tide.
Rolando McClain: McClain leads Alabama with 34 tackles and ranks second on the team with 3 ½ tackles for loss this season. He has also added three pass break-ups from his starting linebacker position. McClain matched his career high with 15 tackles in the Tide’s 20-6 win over Tulane on Sept. 6. He also added two TFLs in the win over the Green Wave. McClain had eight tackles in UA’s 49-14 win at Arkansas on Sept. 20. He has been UA’s leading tackler in three (Tulane, Arkansas and Georgia) of the Tide’s first five games. McClain is 11th in the SEC with 6.8 tackles per game this season. McClain has recorded 109 tackles, 8 ½ tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and two interceptions in his 18-game career with the Tide.
Rashad Johnson: Johnson has become the anchor of the Tide defense over the past two seasons. Through five games this season, Johnson is second on the team with 26 tackles and leads UA with seven pass-break-ups, an average of 1.4 per game. He recorded a season-high nine tackles in the win over Tulane on Sept. 6 and followed that performance with seven tackles the next week against Western Kentucky. In 41 career games, Johnson has 161 tackles, nine pass break-ups, seven tackles for loss and six interceptions in his career.