Oct. 5, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, following his 12-tackle performance in the Tide's 38-20 win at Kentucky this past Saturday in Lexington.
McClain, the Tide's defensive leader, stepped up in the absence of the injured Dont'a Hightower and led the Tide with 12 tackles (8 solo) in the win. He also added one interception, one forced fumble and one pass break-up in the win.
His forced fumble led to a 45-yard fumble return by Courtney Upshaw that gave the Tide a 21-6 halftime lead. He added a 21-yard interception return in the third quarter that set up Mark Ingram's second touchdown run of the game two plays later that pushed the lead to 28-6. He later tipped a pass to teammate Eryk Anders for an interception that resulted in a third quarter field goal and a 31-6 Crimson Tide lead.
The Alabama defense forced four turnovers (came into the game with four on the season) and McClain played a direct role in three of those turnovers. Alabama ranks 2nd nationally in total defense, 4th in scoring defense and 8th in rush defense.
McClain leads team with 35 total tackles and is 2nd with 4.5 tackles for loss this season.
McClain is the fourth Alabama player to be recognized by the SEC Office this season, joining Mark Ingram (vs. Virginia Tech) and Trent Richardson (vs. Florida International and Arkansas).
The Alabama coaching staff recognized seven players of the week with Cory Reamer being named as both a defensive player of the week and special teams player of the week. Mark Ingram, William Vlachos and Darius Hanks captured offensive honors, while McClain joined Reamer as the defensive players of the week. Javier Arenas was selected as a special teams player of the week along with Reamer.
Vlachos cleared a path for Ingram to rush for 140 yards and two touchdowns while the Crimson Tide pounded out 204 yards on the ground. He also provided time for McElroy to have another efficient day passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Along with his 140 yards rushing, Ingram also caught one pass for six yards. Darius Hanks caught two passes for 34 yards, including his first career touchdown on a seven-yard pass from McElroy. He also hauled in a first-down catch on a 27-yard pass late in the second quarter.
Reamer, making his first start at will linebacker, made six tackles with five solo stops to solidify the UA defense. He also excelled on special teams.
Arenas broke another long kickoff return to open the game with a 60-yard return that set up the Crimson Tide's first touchdown. He finished with three returns for 97 yards while Kentucky kicked away from him on punt returns.