Saturday, October 11, 2003
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UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA POST-GAME NOTES
Alabama 17, Southern Miss 3
*Alabama (3-4) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 17-3 win over Southern Miss (3-3) in front of 82,818 fans here at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The win over Southern Miss is the first by Alabama since a 27-17 win over Kentucky on Sept. 20 here in Tuscaloosa.
*Alabama game captains for the Southern Miss game were offensive tackle Wesley Britt (offense), safety Charles Jones (defense) and long snapper Nick Ridings (special teams).
*Sophomore right defensive end Mark Anderson (Tulsa, Oklahoma) made his first career start on defense today against Southern Miss, replacing senior Nautyn McKay-Loescher.
*McKay-Loescher did not play in Saturday's game with Southern Miss, marking the first time in his career the senior did not see action for the Crimson Tide. Prior to Saturday, McKay-Loescher had played in all 42 games in his UA career.
*With McKay-Loescher's absence on Saturday, senior snapper Nick Ridings is the only Alabama senior to play in every game in his Alabama career. Ridings has now played in all 43 games in his career for the Tide since the 2001 season opener at UCLA.
*Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Avalos (Tuscaloosa) made his first career start at quarterback today for Alabama. Avalos made his debut for the Crimson Tide last week and played most of the second half against Georgia, subbing for injured quarterbacks Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington.
*Redshirt freshman defensive end J.P. Adams (Northport) mad e his Alabama debut today against Southern Miss. Adams played one snap on the UA defensive line in the fourth quarter. Adams' lone play was the final offensive play for the Golden Eagles, which resulted in a fumble at the Alabama 27-yard line.
*In addition to McKay-Loescher, five other Alabama regulars did not see action in the win over Southern Miss, including starting quarterback Brodie Croyle, backup quarterback Spencer Pennington, running back Kenneth Darby, starting "SAM" linebacker Derrick Pope and defensive tackle Kyle Tatum.
*Alabama improves to 69-13-1 all-time in 83 homecoming games here at the Capstone. The Crimson Tide has won its last two homecoming games, beating Ole Miss (42-7) last year and Southern Miss today.
*The Crimson Tide improves to 6-0 in homecoming games against Southern Miss, with the last win coming in 1999. In addition, Alabama is 29-5 all-time in homecoming games against teams from the state of Mississippi.
*With the win over Southern Miss, Alabama improves its all-time lead to 32-6-2 in a series that dates back to 1947. Since 1992, Alabama has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with USM, including three last three in a row.
*Alabama improves to 12-1 all-time in games played on Oct. 11th. Today's game was the first on Oct. 11 since a 40-324 overtime loss at Kentucky in 1997.
*The Crimson Tide offense ran 57 snaps in its win over Southern Miss, including 50 rushing plays for 243 yards and two TDs. The 50 attempts and 243 yards are the second-highest totals by the Crimson Tide offense this season. The season high is 53 attempts for 266 yards in a 27-17 win over Kentucky on Sept. 20. On the flip side, Alabama attempted only seven passes (3 completions for 12 yards) in the win over USM.
*A total of six Alabama players were credited with offensive stats in today's game with Southern Miss, including one quarterback (Brandon Avalos), two running backs (Shaud Williams and Ray Hudson) and three receivers (Zach Fletcher, Traindos Luke and Tim Castille).
*In the first half, Bama ran 32 offensive plays for 157 total yards. The Crimson Tide ran the ball 29 times for 146 yards, led by Williams' 15 carries for 110 yards and one TD. Alabama opened the game with eight straight running plays before Avalos completed a two-yard pass to Triandos Luke. The Crimson Tide scored on its next possession with three running plays and added five more on its next possession before a nine-yard pass to Zach Fletcher and an incomplete pass. Alabama rounded out the first half with a 15-play, 62-yard scoring drive capped by Brian Bostick's 24-yard field. The nearly eight minute (7:59) drive saw 14 straight running plays before the field goal.
*In the second half, Alabama ran the ball 21 times for 97 yards and one TD. Bama also attempted four passes in the final two quarters for one yard.
*Southern Miss managed only 24 total yards on its first three possessions before a 12-play, 70-yard drive in the final 2:56 led to a 27-yard FG by Darren McCaleb. Prior to the last-second field goal, USM ran 17 plays for 24 yards and had only one first down against the Alabama defense in its first three possessions. The final drive netted five first downs (one coming a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty after a third-down incompletion that gave USM a first down) and 70 total yards.
*For the game, the Golden Eagles actually outgained the Crimson Tide by six total yards. USM netted 261 yards to Alabama's 255 yards.
*The Crimson Tide recorded its best rushing defensive performance of the season, limiting the Golden Eagles to 35 rushing attempts and 17 rushing yards. Alabama's previous best rushing defense effort this season was against Kentucky, limiting the Wildcats to 23 attempts and 26 rushing yards.
*In its last two wins over Southern Miss, the Alabama defense has held the Golden Eagles to three points and 52 rushing yards. USM did score a TD in last year's 20-7 loss to UA, but the seven points came on Michael Boley's interception return in the third quarter.
*The Alabama passing game has completed only eight passes (24 attempts) for 33 yards in the last two wins over USM.
*Senior running back Shaud Williams (Andrews, Texas) ran 28 times for 170 yards and two TDs in the win over Southern Miss. Williams scored on a 44-yard touchdown run with 2:01 left in the first quarter to give Alabama a 7-0 lead. With that 44-yard TD run, Williams' three previous touchdowns had averaged 59.3 yards. Williams had TD runs of 54 yards vs. Northern Illinois (Sept. 20), 80 vs. Arkansas (Sept. 27) and 44 vs. Southern Miss (Oct. 11).
*Williams added a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter of today's game to extend Alabama's lead to 17-3.
*In seven games this season, Williams has accounted for all nine of Alabama's rushing touchdowns. Dating back to the 2002 Hawai'i game, he is responsible for the Crimson Tide's last 10 rushing TDs.
*Junior running back Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) ran the ball 18 times for 76 yards in today's win over Southern Miss. Hudson's 18 rushing attempts and 76 yards are both career highs.
*Alabama punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw) had one his best days of the 2003 season, averaging 45.8 yards on six punts in the win over Southern Miss. Freelend had a career-long 55-yard punt and dropped four of six kicks inside the USM 20-yard line. The Golden Eagles had only three punt returns for 15 yards against the Crimson Tide, giving Freelend a 43.3 net average for the game.
*Junior strong safety Chris James (Albany, Georgia) recorded his second blocked punt of the 2003 season, setting up Williams' one-yard TD run in the 4th quarter. James first career blocked punt came in the Crimson Tide's 20-13 loss to No. 1 ranked Oklahoma on Sept. 6, 2003. James was credited with a 14-yard punt return today against USM, while Greg McClain added 11 more yards setting up UA at the USM one-yard line.
University of Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula Post-Game Quotes
"It was a great win. We told our players it was going to be a tough football game. It was a total team effort. Special teams were great, offensively running the football...It was very conservative and it's hard to do when the other team knows you are going to run the ball. Our offensive line came off the ball well and really opened some lanes for the running game."
On Shaud Williams' Yards After Contact:
"That's what you have to do. When you have two quarterbacks hurt, you have to go with your strengths."
"Defensively it was great work. Our players worked hard in practice all week going over all the details and doing all the little things right. They got three points but we felt like if we didn't have a late-hit on the quarterback, there would have been a goose-egg on the board."
"Special teams were incredible. It was a great effort. You always have a bunch of guys who are going to step up and make the plays. Bo Freeland did a great job of punting the ball. I didn't give him enough credit when I talked to the team. You can't say enough about what he did because it is a game of field position and he did a nice job punting against the wind."
On Next Week's Game vs. Ole Miss:
"We're first going to enjoy this. It's a Homecoming win. We'll enjoy it today and tomorrow we'll watch it and then get back focused on Ole Miss."
Alabama Player Quotes
Shaud Williams (RB)
"We knew coming in that running the ball was the way we were going to win. I'm not taking anything away from Brandon (Avalos), but we knew we were going to have to take pressure off him. We didn't want to put too much pressure on Brandon to come in there and throw the ball. Coach told us that we were going to lineup and run the ball.
(About gaining momentum for next week)
"We needed some momentum, maybe we have a little streak going now. We have that winning feeling back. So we can just keep it going.
Brandon Avalos (QB)
"It feels great. I've been waiting along time for it. It came a little quicker than I thought, but it was great to play at home in Bryant Denny on homecoming. It was just a great feeling.
(About the running backs)
"Shaud (Williams) made my job real easy. The offensive line and Shaud and Ray (Hudson) made it real easy. Shaud is a great runner. He runs really hard and he's got a lot of heart. Ray is a great back too. I just felt great with my offensive line and those guys got the running game going. It was just great."
DeMeco Ryans (LB)
"It feels great. We've lost three straight so it just feels great to have a win. There is no feeling like it after a game. To come in and sing the fight song and everybody have a big smile on their face. It just feels great all the way around. Once you get this feeling you want to have it every time that you come into the lockeroom. You don't want everybody's head down. You want to come back in with a big win."
Southern Miss Head Coach Jeff Bower Quotes
"It's pretty obvious what happened to us in the game. We were our own worst enemy and they didn't make any mistakes. They didn't have any turnovers. We had our backs against the wall on defense."
"The longer we were in the game, the better we did on offense. We'll get there. Our offensive line did a good job of protecting for the most part. We just made too many mistakes. Normally when you lose the turnover battle and make the mistakes we did you're not going to win. "
"I was proud we didn't give up too many points. We haven't had a conference loss which I'm happy about; we've just got to keep grinding away. I thought we improved on offense against a good defense."
On practicing punts-
"We devoted a lot of time to it. All I know is we've got to keep working on it."
On Alabama's punting game-
"I haven't seen any better this year. It seems like everyone we've played has punted well."
On the upcoming bye week-
"I'm looking forward to going home and getting better. We've got some things to work on."
Southern Miss Player Quotes
#9 Dustin Almond-QB
"We struggled getting the ball in the end zone. We could get it up to the 20 but getting it past the 20 was the problem. Alabama has a great team, but at the same time we shot ourselves in the foot. They have a great defensive line, they didn't quit they just pinned their ears back and kept coming, but our offensive line blocked them pretty well."
On halftime adjustments- "We told ourselves we weren't going into the locker room without a score. We got the field goal which isn't a touchdown but it was a score. In the second half I think we just got settled in."
#17 Luke Johnson-K/P
On the fumbled snap- "On the snap that I dropped, it was a good snap. The snap didn't have anything to do with it; the defense just took it off my foot. The guys on the offensive line, they were busting their tail on every play and they protect me well up front. I credit the defensive line on the dropped snap."
"One of the goals is always to win the fourth quarter and I didn't win the quarter. I put my defense in a bad position, but we have a bye week to work on it and get it perfect for South Florida."
#1 John Eubanks-DB
On kick return that was called back- "I didn't see (the holding call) I was on the sideline, the field goal unit was already out to kick the point after and I looked around and there was the flag. It was just a dagger in the heart."
"They have a big offensive line and Coach (Tyrone) Nix told us we were going to have to step up and hit them in the mouth and I think we did a pretty good job."
#24 Rod Davis-LB
On Alabama's offensive line- "They came determined to win and they played like that for four quarters. They have some big hogs upfront."
On the team's effort- "We didn't win so we didn't do good enough, bottom line. Whoever wins the fourth quarter usually wins the game. We didn't win the fourth quarter and that determined the game."
On the kick return called back- "I didn't even see the flag I think they called holding, but I was all the way down the field and I kept looking back for the flag but never saw one. I don't know I didn't see it."