Football to Host Rival Tennessee This Weekend

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Oct. 17, 2011

Game #8 |  No. 2/3 Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC ) vs. Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC)
 Date Saturday, Oct. 22 | 6:15 p.m. CT
 Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)
 Tickets Ticket Information
 Television ESPN2 | Mark Jones, Ed Cunningham & Jeannine Edwards
 Radio Crimson Tide Sports Network | Listen Live
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Gameday Gameday Information
 Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Opponent Notes
 All-Time Series Alabama Leads 47-38-7 | 25-18-6 at home

THE GAME: Alabama returns home for a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division matchup against Tennessee in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, October 22. Last time out, the Crimson Tide dominated Mississippi in Oxford, 52-7, as running back Trent Richardson rushed for a career-high 183 yards and four touchdowns in the win. The Volunteers dipped to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in league play after dropping a 38-7 decision to LSU in Knoxville. Saturday’s game will air on ESPN2 with Mark Jones serving as the play-by-play announcer, and Ed Cunningham at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart serving as sideline reporter.

HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his fifth season with the Crimson Tide. Named the school’s 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007, Saban has compiled a 45-11 record (50-11 before five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and one national championship. Saban holds a career record of 136-53-1 (141-53-1) as a collegiate head coach, while also serving at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU. Saban won his first national championship as head coach of the LSU Tigers in 2003, guiding the Tigers to a 13-1 record that season. Overall, Saban has coached four conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC, 2003 SEC and 2009 SEC) and 11 of his 14 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban’s direction. Saban is also the only active coach to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.

RANKINGS: In the latest polls released on October 16, Alabama remains at No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll. Tennessee is not ranked in either poll.

TENNESSEE SERIES: This will be the 94th meeting between the Crimson Tide and Volunteers. Alabama has won four straight games in the series that dates back to the 1901 season. Overall, the Tide leads the series 47-38-7 and has posted a 25-18-6 record against Tennessee at home.

NEXT GAME: Alabama will have a week off before returning home to take on No. 1/2 LSU on November 5. The meeting between the Crimson Tide and Tigers will be the 75th in a series that dates back to the 1895 season. Alabama leads the series, 45-24-5, but the Tigers came out on top, 24-21, in last year’s game at Baton Rouge.

ALABAMA UNDER SABAN IN OCTOBER: Alabama has been very successful in the second month of the season under head coach Nick Saban. Now in his fifth season at Alabama, Saban has led the Crimson Tide to a 16-1 record in October since 2007. Over that span in games played in October, the Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 462-215 and is 5-1 against ranked opponents. The only October loss under Saban was at No. 19 South Carolina on Oct. 9, 2010. The loss against the Gamecocks broke an 11-game winning streak. Alabama has won its last five games in October since that loss.

WINNING BIG: Alabama has won its last eight games by 16 or more points dating back to last season’s Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan State. That eight-game streak equals longest such mark in the modern era of Crimson Tide football (since 1950). During the current streak, the Tide has beaten the No. 7 Spartans by 42 (49-7), Kent State by 41 (48-7), No. 23 Penn State by 16 (27-11), North Texas by 41 (41-0), No. 14 Arkansas by 24 (28-14), No. 12 Florida by 28 (38-10), Vanderbilt by 34 (34-0) and Mississippi by 45 (52-7). The other eight-game streak in school history included the final six games of the 1977 season and the first two games of the 1978 campaign. During the 1977-78 streak of eight games UA defeated Louisville by 49(55-6), Mississippi State by 30 (37-7), LSU by 21 (24-3), Miami by 36 (36-0), Auburn by 27 (48-21), Ohio State by 29 (35-6), Nebraska by 17 (20-3) and Missouri by 18 (38-20). That streak was snapped by a loss to Southern California (14-24). Alabama also had a seven-game streak of wins by 16 or more points during the 1971 season and streaks of six games in 1961 and 1975.

ALABAMA SCORING OUTPUT: The Crimson Tide’s 52 points scored at Mississippi on October 15 marked the most points scored by Alabama in a Southeastern Conference game since Alabama downed Vanderbilt, 59-28, on Sept. 29, 1990.

RICHARDSON HONORED BY SEC, AGAIN: Junior running back Trent Richardson earned his second Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week nod on October 17, after a solid performance at Mississippi where he led Alabama with a career-high 183 rushing yards and four touchdowns. His 76-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Rebels was also the longest of his career.

14 POINTS OR LESS: Alabama has not allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points during the first seven games of the 2011 season and eight straight games dating back to the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. The 2011 Crimson Tide defense leads the nation in scoring defense, surrendering an average of just seven points per game while recording two shutouts (41-0 vs. North Texas and 34-0 over Vanderbilt). UA is also first nationally in total defense (184.14) and rushing defense (38.14). The last time Alabama held its opponent to 14 points or less for at least eight straight games was 1992 when the Tide did it nine straight times to open the season. The school record for consecutive games holding an opponent to 14 points or less is 31 from 1960-63. The Crimson Tide did it in the last three games of the 1960 season and all 11 games of the 1961 and 1962 campaigns before the streak ended in the seventh game of the 1963 season when Mississippi State scored 19 in a 20-19 UA win.  

APPLYING PRESSURE: Senior jack linebacker Courtney Upshaw has been a regular presence in opposing backfields this season. He leads the SEC and ranks tied for 17th nationally with 1.50 tackles for loss per game or 10.5 for a loss of 48 yards. Upshaw is also tied for fifth in the SEC with .50 sacks per game (3.5 for minus-29 yards) while making 20 total tackles with a team-high six quarterback hurries. He now has 29 career tackles for loss (-121 yards) and 11.5 sacks (-70 yards), both totals ranking just outside of the top 10 in school history. Alabama leads the SEC in both tackles for loss (8.14 per game) and sacks (2.14 per game) while ranking 10th nationally in TFLs. UA has recorded 57 tackles for loss this season (-235 yards) and 15 sacks in seven games. By comparison, the Crimson Tide had 75 TFLs and 27 sacks in 13 games a year ago.

LONG DRIVES: Alabama is tied for third nationally with four drives of 90 yards or longer. Both Texas Tech and Utah State have had five drives of 90 yards or more, while the Crimson Tide is joined by Georgia Tech with four. Arkansas, Illinois and Southern Mississippi all have three drives or 90 yards or longer. Alabama’s first 90-yard drive of the season came on the road at No. 12 Florida when the Tide went 92 yards on a drive that started at the 12:25 mark of the fourth quarter. Trent Richardson finished off the 5:27 drive that lasted 11 plays with a 36-yard touchdown run. UA then had a 12-play, 94-yard drive against Vanderbilt that resulted in a one-yard Richardson touchdown. The Mississippi game featured two drives of 90+ yards with Richardson accounting for all 92 yards on two plays, a 16-yard effort on the opening play and a 76-yard touchdown run. Later, Jalston Fowler closed out a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter against the Rebels with a 69-yard run.

ESPN.com MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Alabama was well represented on the ESPN.com Midseason All-America team, as compiled by Mark Schlabach. The Crimson Tide had five players recognized on the list (2 offense, 3 defense), more than any other team in the country. On offense, Trent Richardson earned the nod at running back while Barrett Jones was recognized for his versatility on the offensive line. Defensively, Courtney Upshaw, DeQuan Menzie and Mark Barron led the way for the Tide.

OVER THE LAST EIGHT GAMES: Over the last eight games, dating back to the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State, the Alabama defense has allowed just 27.38 rushing yards per game or 219 total rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The Crimson Tide has allowed 28 rushing yards or less in five of those eight games, including two games of negative rushing yards (Michigan State, -48 and Kent State, -9). Only Penn State has rushed for more than 100 yards, going for 107. Conversely, Alabama has rushed for 1,966 yards (320 carries) and 30 touchdowns in those eight games, averaging 245.8 yards per game and 6.14 yards per carry while scoring a touchdown on the ground every 10.67 rushes. Trent Richardson has led the way over that span with 954 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns on 142 carries for 6.72 yards per tote. Eddie Lacy has carried 56 times for 505 yards (just seven games) and seven touchdowns while averaging 9.02 yards per carry.

TIDE NO. 2 IN INITIAL BCS RANKINGS: The first Bowl Championship Series rankings were released on Sunday, Oct. 16, with Alabama firmly in the top two. The Crimson Tide is in second, just .003 behind No. 1 LSU. The Tigers boasts a BCS average of .9522 with Alabama at .9519. Oklahoma comes in at No. 3 with a .9301 average, .218 behind the Crimson Tide and .733 ahead of No. 4 Oklahoma State (.8568). Boise State rounds out the top five at .8027 with Wisconsin (.7708) in sixth, Clemson (.7582) seventh, Stanford (.7484) eighth, Arkansas (.6263) ninth and Oregon (.6190) 10th. Alabama ranked second Harris Interactive and third in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Crimson Tide was also second in the computer average behind Oklahoma State.

TIDE NO. 2 IN SECOND INSTALLMENT OF THE HARRIS POLL: Alabama is No. 2 in the second Harris interactive College Football Poll of the 2011 season. The Harris Poll is comprised of former coaches, players and administrators along with current and former media members. It is a component of the BCS rankings along with the coaches poll and six computer rankings. The Crimson Tide garnered 2,744 points, including 25 first-place votes. LSU is ranked first with 74 first-place votes and 2,819 total points. Oklahoma is third with 13 first-place votes and a total of 2,684 points. Wisconsin is fourth and Boise State fifth. Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon and Arkansas round out the top 10.

FINISHING IN THE FOURTH QUARTER: After letting three games slip away in the fourth quarter last season, Alabama put an emphasis on finishing strong in 2011. That emphasis has paid dividends so far with an impressive edge in several categories in the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide has outscored its six opponents – including three top 25 teams – by a margin of 51 points (59-8) in the fourth quarter while outgaining its opposition 687 yards to just 125 yards on the ground, a difference of 562 yards. The Tide offense has only had to throw 12 passes – completing 10 – while opponents have only completed 44.8 percent of their passes with four interceptions and averaged just 2.23 yards per rush and 3.01 yards per play.

DISCIPLINE SHOWS: Alabama’s disciplined approach to football is evident in its ability to play a clean football game. The Crimson Tide ranks second nationally in fewest penalties per game, being flagged an average of just 3.14 times per game. The Tide also ranks third in fewest penalty yards in the country, averaging 28.29 per contest. UA leads the SEC in fewest penalties per game and ranks second behind Kentucky in penalty yards per game (26.67).

ALABAMA CONTINUES SUCCESS ON THE ROAD: Alabama’s win at Mississippi on October 15 continued a trend of road success by the Crimson Tide in recent seasons. Including the win over the Rebels, Alabama has a 14-2 mark in true road games since 2008. The Tide posted a 3-2 mark last season on the heels of identical 4-0 records in 2008 and 2009. Alabama has outscored its opponents 549-251 over that span. In all games away from Tuscaloosa since 2008, Alabama is 19-4, including a 10-4 mark against ranked opponents.

RICHARDSON/INGRAM COMPARISON: Junior running back Trent Richardson has had a solid season running the ball in the 2011 collecting 912 yards on the ground through seven games. Through seven games during Mark Ingram’s Heisman Trophy winning season in 2009, he had 905 rushing yards. In addition, Richardson has had 132 carries for 15 touchdowns, while Ingram had 135 carries and eight touchdowns after seven games.

VLACHOS, RICHARDSON AND UPSHAW HONORED BY THE SEC: Alabama senior center William Vlachos was honored by the SEC as its Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Crimson Tide’s 38-10 victory at Florida on October 1. Vlachos received the highest grade on the line and did not allow a sack or a pressure, making critical line calls in pass protection. In addition to Vlachos, junior running back Trent Richardson and senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw made the Other Outstanding Performances list as Richardson tallied a career-best 181 rushing yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns, while Upshaw recorded four tackles, three for losses including a sack, and returned an interception for a touchdown against the Gators.

TIDE AT HOME SINCE 2008: Alabama is 24-1 in its last 25 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2008 season. During that stretch the Crimson Tide has been extremely stingy on defense and very effective on offense. Some of the most impressive numbers include 56 rushing touchdowns for the Alabama offense, while the Crimson Tide defense has surrendered only two rushing touchdowns at home over that span. UA has averaged 192.3 yards of total offense more than its opponents while rushing for 130.2 more yards per game. Alabama is also outscoring its opponents by 25.6 points per game (33.6 points per game [841 points] to 8.0 points per game [201]). Below is a look at the numbers for the Crimson Tide during its last 25 games at home:

ALABAMA RANKED 56 STRAIGHT WEEKS BY AP: Alabama has been ranked in 56 straight Associated Press polls, which is the longest streak in the nation.  The streak began with the first poll of the 2008 season. Boise State holds the next longest streak with 52 straight mentions.

TOUGH SLATE: Alabama boasts one of the most difficult schedules in the nation with four games against teams ranked in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll Top 25. The Tide has already faced then-No. 20 Penn State, where Alabama came out with a 27-11 win, then-No. 12 Arkansas, winning 38-14, and then-No. 12 Florida, taking home a 38-10 victory. The Tide will also take on No. 2 LSU (Nov. 5) and No. 23 Auburn (Nov. 26).

BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 17-5 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the past three seasons and 9-3 against AP top 10 teams. UA had reeled off nine straight wins against top 25 teams until at loss at South Carolina in October of 2010. The Crimson Tide’s 31-6 win over No. 7 Florida on October 2, 2010, was the Tide’s second straight win over a top 10 team and third top 25 victory in a four-week span. Alabama went 5-3 against the AP Top 25 last season.

ALABAMA HAS SECOND MOST WINS SINCE 2008: Alabama has won 43 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season, which is the second most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Crimson Tide won 12 games in 2008, followed that with a perfect 14-0 record in 2009 and a 10-3 mark in 2010. Alabama is one win back of Boise State, with 44 wins. The Tide has the most victories of any team that plays in a BCS conference.

FIRST-TIME STARTERS: Five Alabama players have made their first starts for the Crimson Tide this season: wide receiver Kenny Bell, quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker Alex Watkins, wide receiver DeAndrew White and defensive end Jesse Williams.

NEWCOMERS CONTRIBUTE IN 2011: The Crimson Tide has seen 18 of its newcomers (nine redshirt freshmen, seven true freshmen and two junior college transfers) make appearance thus far in the 2011 season. Among the nine redshirt freshmen were TE Harrison Jones, LB Adrian Hubbard, DL Brandon Ivory, OL Chad Lindsay, OL Austin Shepherd, QB Phillip Sims, RB Blake Sims, TE Brian Vogler and WR DeAndrew White. Alabama’s seven true freshmen included S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, LB Trey DePriest, LB Xzavier Dickson, WR Christion Jones, OL Cyrus Kouandjio, DL Jeoffrey Pagan and DB Vinnie Sunseri. DL Quinton Dial and DL Jesse Williams, who are both junior college transfers, have also contributed for Alabama this season.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Eight Crimson Tide players earned preseason All-America honors from various publications prior to the 2011 season. The list includes Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower, Barrett Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Robert Lester, Trent Richardson, Courtney Upshaw and William Vlachos. Barron was a first-team selection by Phil Steele, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, Sporting News and Playboy, while Hightower earned first-team honors from Lindy’s, second-team recognition from Phil Steele and third-team distinction from Athlon Sports. Jones was a first-team choice from Phil Steele, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s and Sporting News. Kirkpatrick joined Hightower on the Athlon Sports third team, while Lester made his way to the second team of Phil Steele and Lindy’s. Richardson was a first-team pick on Phil Steele and Playboy and a second-team choice by Athlon Sports, Lindy’s and Sporting News. Upshaw was named to Phil Steele’s third team list as was Vlachos, who also earned third-team recognition from Athlon Sports.

TIDE PLAYERS EARN EARLY ACCOLADES: Twelve Alabama players were named to 14 different preseason awards watch lists heading into the 2011 season. The players were recognized before the start of the 2011 season as potentially the top players at their position nationally. Trent Richardson led the way for the Tide appearing on five of the 14 lists, while Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw were named to four of the lists. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Robert Lester, Marquis Maze and William Vlachos appeared on three difference lists, and Darius Hanks and Barrett Jones on two. Rounding out the preseason watch nods were Nico Johnson and Michael Williams, making one list apiece. Barron, Hightower, Kirkpatrick and Upshaw were on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and were joined by Lester on the Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year) list. Richardson was named to many of the overall player and running back award watch lists announced, including the Doak Walker Award (best running back), the Maxwell Award (most outstanding player) and the Walter Camp Award (player of the year). Lester also appeared on the Walter Camp Award list with Richardson. For a complete listing of the preseason watch lists, refer to the chart on page 4.

TWO TIDE PLAYERS NAMED PLAYBOY ALL-AMERICANS: Alabama landed two players on the 2011 Playboy Magazine annual preseason College Football All-America Team. Mark Barron was selected at safety and Trent Richardson at running back. Alabama has had eight Playboy All-Americans in the last four years after Andre Smith was chosen in 2008, Rolando McClain and Javier Arenas were selected in 2009 and Julio Jones and Mark Ingram in 2010.

RECORD NUMBER OF PRESEASON ALL-SEC SELECTIONS: The Tide placed a total of 16 players on the Preseason All-SEC team, which is the most in any year in the league. In addition, Alabama’s nine first-team selections is the highest for any team in a single season beating out the previous high of eight that was set by Alabama in 2010 and Florida in 2009.

11th ANNUAL HERBIE AWARDS: ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit unveiled his annual “Herbie Awards” prior to the season. Alabama garnered six different accolades. Junior Trent Richardson was named as one of the best running backs while the Tide linebackers were mentioned as one of the best position units in college football. Sophomore linebacker C.J. Mosley was mentioned as a “Name You’ll Know by October” while head coach Nick Saban was named as one of the best defensive minds in the sport. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart made the list of “See You Next Year: College Head Coaches in 2012”. Senior safety Mark Barron was named to the All-Uni Team. Herbstreit also predicted that Alabama will defeat South Carolina to earn the SEC Championship.

NFL DRAFT: The Crimson Tide saw five UA players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, including first round picks Marcell Dareus (third overall to the Buffalo Bills), Julio Jones (sixth overall to the Atlanta Falcons), James Carpenter (25th overall to the Seattle Seahawks) and Mark Ingram (28th overall to the New Orleans Saints). Greg McElroy rounded out the Alabama draft picks by being selected in the seventh round (208th overall) by the New York Jets.

NFL IMPACT: Alabama has been a feeder system for the National Football League in recent years and the start of the 2011 NFL campaign proved no different. All four Crimson Tide first round picks (Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram and James Carpenter) earned the start in week one for their respective teams. The four rookie starters were second among all schools as Wisconsin had five former players start in their pro debuts. In all, 12 rookies earned the start in their first game from the Southeastern Conference.

SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa led to the Crimson Tide’s rapid rise up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time impacted the Tide’s record book. Saban produced the largest win increase from year one to year two in school history as Alabama went from seven wins in 2007 to 12 wins in 2008. He is one of two coaches (with Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops) in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. Saban achieved more firsts in 2009 with back-to-back 10-win seasons and his first undefeated campaign. He followed that up with another 10-win season in 2011. Saban ranks sixth in winning percentage (71.8 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of FBS football. He is also the only active coach, and one of only two coaches (with former Florida head coach Urban Meyer) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.

NEW HIRES: The Alabama football staff features three new assistants in 2011 with the addition of Mike Groh (wide receivers and recruiting coordinator), Chris Rumph (defensive line) and Jeff Stoutland (offensive line). Groh, a former quarterback at Virginia, joined the Crimson Tide after most recently serving as quarterbacks coach at Louisville. Rumph, a four-year letterman at South Carolina, spent the last five seasons as the defensive ends coach at Clemson, while Stoutland served as Miami’s offensive line coach from 2007-10.

SUNSERI FOOTBALL FAMILY: Alabama assistant head coach Sal Sunseri is joined this season by his youngest son, Vinnie, who has been named one of the Specialists of the Week by the coaching staff four times this season. The Sunseri family tree now spans to two major college football programs as his eldest son, Tino, is in his junior season at Pittsburgh. Tino is in his second season as the starting quarterback and was named a team captain. Sal left his mark on the field as well, earning consensus All-American honors as a senior team captain at Pittsburgh in 1981. In addition, he anchored a Panther defense that led the NCAA in total defense in 1980 and 1981.

HELMET DECALS: The Alabama football team is sporting more than just crimson on its helmets in 2011. The Crimson Tide wears a houndstooth pattern decal and a number 77 decal on all of its helmets this season. The houndstooth decal represents the memory of the devastation created by the tornado that hit the Tuscaloosa community on April 27 and the 77 decal is in memory of the late Aaron Douglas, a Tide offensive lineman who passed away in May.

ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama’s success on the field under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has also coincided with the Crimson Tide’s success in the classroom. The 2011 Crimson Tide began the season with 11 players that already have degrees in hand, including Hardie Buck (Aug. 2011), Josh Chapman (May 2011), Nick Gentry (Dec. 2010), Brandon Gibson (Dec. 2010), Barrett Jones (Aug. 2011), Phelon Jones (May 2011), Alfred McCullough (May 2011), Morgan Ogilvie (Aug. 2011), Chris Underwood (May 2011), William Vlachos (May 2011) and Alex Watkins (Dec. 2010). Over the past four seasons (2008-11) the Crimson Tide has seen 42 players compete after having already graduated.

RETURNING SUCCESS: Alabama returned 19 starters and 51 lettermen from its 2010 squad that went 10-3, finishing the season ranked 10th in the Associated Press poll and 11th in the USA TODAY Coaches’ poll. Much of last year’s preseason talk was about the Tide’s offense, whereas this year it has been much about the defense. Highlighting the list of returnees in the defensive backfield is senior All-American Mark Barron and junior All-American Robert Lester. Barron was the team’s leader in total tackles with 75, while Lester led Alabama in interceptions with eight. Among the Tide’s returnees up front is senior Courtney Upshaw and junior Dont’a Hightower, who combined for 121 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, seven sacks and five pass breakups. Upshaw was first on the team in tackles for loss with 14.5 and ranked fifth in the SEC with his seven sacks. As a unit, Alabama’s defense finished the 2010 season ranked third nationally in scoring defense (13.54 ppg), fifth in total defense (286.38) and sixth in pass efficiency defense (103.54).

 Defensive Notes

DEFENSE MAKES A STATEMENT: Through seven games, the Crimson Tide has held opponents to an average of 184.14 total yards of offense, ranking Alabama first in the nation in total defense. The Tide also ranks in the top five in the remaining defensive categories, including pass efficiency (second - 84.91 passer efficiency rating), scoring defense (first - 7.00 ppg), rushing defense (first - 38.14 ypg) and pass defense (fifth - 146.00 ypg). Alabama leads the SEC in all of the above categories minus pass defense, where the Tide is second behind South Carolina.

TIDE SPENDS EVENING IN MISSISSIPPI BACKFIELD: Alabama registered a season-best 14 tackles for loss and five sacks in a 52-7 SEC win at Mississippi this past weekend. The Crimson Tide accounted for minus-52 yards with Nico Johnson and Courtney Upshaw leading the way with two TFL each. Upshaw also recorded a season-best two sacks to give him the team lead with 3.5 on the year. It is the most tackles for loss in a single game for Alabama during Nick Saban’s tenure at the Capstone, a span of 61 games. The previous high was 13 tackles for loss against Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 17, 2007.

SHUTOUT: Alabama’s win over Vanderbilt on October 8, marked the second shutout win for the Crimson Tide in 2011 (with a 41-0 win over North Texas on Sept. 17), and the first SEC shutout victory for the Tide since a 36-0 win over Auburn on Nov. 29, 2008. It also marks Alabama’s first shutout win over Vanderbilt since a 20-0 win on Sept. 11, 1997, and marked the 13th time Alabama has shutout the Commodores in the series.

GAMES WITH AN INTERCEPTION: Alabama has recorded at least one interception in six of its seven games this season. The only game the Tide did not record a pickoff was against North Texas (Sept. 17). Alabama recorded an interception in 11 of the 13 games in 2010, putting together a run of 17 games with a pick in its last 20 outings. Seven different Tide players have tallied an interception in 2011, with Dee Milliner leading the way with two.

10 POINTS OR LESS: Alabama held Mississippi to 7 points. Under Saban, the Crimson Tide has held opponents to 10 points or less 29 times, including five times in seven games this season. Last season Alabama held opponents to 10 points or less eight times and limited opponents to that mark seven times in 2009 and 2008. In 2007, the Tide posted two games in which it held opponents to that mark. Since 2007, Alabama has held opponents to 10 points or less 28 times and less than a touchdown 13 times.

NON-OFFENSIVE TDs IN THE SABAN ERA: Courtney Upshaw’s 45-yard interception return at Florida on October 1, was Alabama’s second interception return of the 2011 season, and the second in two weeks along with DeQuan Menzie’s 25-yard interception return for a score against Arkansas. The score against the Gators was Alabama’s third non-offensive touchdown of 2011 and the 23rd overall since the Nick Saban Era began in 2007. Since Saban took over as Alabama head coach, the Crimson Tide has garnered 23 non-offensive touchdowns including 10 interception returns, 7 punt returns, 3 kickoff returns, 2 fumble returns and 1 blocked punt return for a touchdown.

COMPLETIONS HARD TO COME BY: The Alabama defense has been the second best in the nation in limiting completions from opposing quarterbacks. The Crimson Tide has held opponents to a meager 48.00 completion percentage through seven games (108-of-225). The Tide is also second in the nation in yards per attempt at 4.54 ypa while ranking fifth in yards per completion at 9.46.

YARDS AT A PREMIUM: The Alabama defense is allowing an average of only 184.14 yards per game entering this week, which ranks first nationally and leads the SEC. The Tide is also surrendering only 3.16 yards per play, which leads the nation. UA opponents have run 408 plays against the Crimson Tide defense this season and only managed 106 plays – both running and passing – that went for more than five yards, which accounts for just 26.0 percent. On the flip side of that, the Alabama offense has seen 45.6 percent of its plays go for more than five yards (217-of-476). The Tide defense has also given up only 45 plays (11.0 percent) of more than 10 yards and 22 plays of more than 15 yards (5.4 percent).

HOLDING THEIR GROUND: Crossing midfield against the Crimson Tide defense has not been an easy task in the first seven games of the 2011 season. Alabama opponents have crossed the 50-yard line only 22 times (only counts drives that started in the opponent territory), but of those 22 drives that moved into Alabama territory, the opponent passed the UA 40-yard line only 14 times. Of those 22 drives, opponents have managed 41 points (five touchdowns and two field goals). Alabama has forced interceptions on three of those drives and punts four other times. The Tide has also blocked one field goal, forced three turnovers on downs once and recovered a fumble.

STOUT DEFENSIVE OUTING: The Alabama defense turned in another strong defensive effort in the win over Mississippi. The Crimson Tide held the Rebels to 141 total yards (28 rushing, 113 passing) on Saturday night. In Saban’s 61-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited the opposition to less than 300 yards of total offense 36 times, or 59 percent of the time. The Tide has not allowed more than 251 yards (Penn State) in a single game this season and has limited the opponent to less than 200 yards four times (Kent State – 90 yards; North Texas – 169 yards; Vanderbilt – 190 yards; Mississippi – 141 yards).

FIRST DOWN CHAIN TOUGH TO MOVE: Alabama’s defense has also proven to be very stingy when it comes to allowing first downs, surrendering just 73 first downs in seven games for a an average of 10.4 per contest. UA has allowed just 20 total first downs rushing and six have come by penalty. Opposing offenses are converting just 28.03 percent of their third-down attempts against Alabama (30-of-107). The Crimson Tide gave up a season-low six against Kent State. The Tide allowed only one rushing first down and a single first down to KSU in the entire first half. The six first downs allowed were the second fewest in the Nick Saban era (2007-present) – UA gave up just five to Chattanooga in 2009. The Crimson Tide has held opponents to nine first downs or less 11 times dating back to the start of the 2008 season and most recently against Mississippi on October 15 (nine).

YARDS HARD TO COME BY: During Nick Saban’s last 47 games at the Capstone, the Crimson Tide defense has held the opposing offense to less than 200 yards of total offense 17 times. Alabama has accomplished the feat four times thus far this season, limiting Kent State to 90 total yards, North Texas to 169 total yards, Vanderbilt to 190 total yards and Mississippi to 141 yards. The 90 yards against Kent State also marked the second time a Saban defense has limited its opponent to less than 100 yards of total offense. Alabama’s best came in 2009 when they held Chattanooga to just 84 yards of total offense. The Tide held opponents under 200 yards three times in 2010, four times in 2009 and six times in 2008.

THREE AND OUT: Alabama led the nation in defensive three-and-outs in 2009 with 5.61 per game and then ranked 10th nationally last season with 4.08 per game. The 2011 season is off to an even better start with a nation-best 47 three-and-outs through seven games. The Tide forced Kent State into three-and-outs on 12 of its 17 possessions. UA then forced Penn State to three three-and-outs in week two and North Texas into eight. Alabama opened SEC play by recording seven three-and-outs against Arkansas followed by six at Florida, five against Vanderbilt and six at Mississippi, making for an average of 6.7 per game.

FIRST HALF DEFENSE: Alabama has allowed seven points or less in 10 of its last 11 first halves of play. Over that span, the Crimson Tide has surrendered just three points or less on seven occasions, including four shutouts. UA had a streak of nine straight games before allowing 10 points in the first half to Florida last week.

GROUND DEFENSE: Limiting opposing running backs to less than 100 yards is nothing new for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has surrendered only nine individual 100-yard rushing games dating back to the 2005 season (86 games), a mark that is tied with Boston College for first nationally. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007 (61 games), Alabama has allowed four players to rush for 100 yards in a game: Tennessee’s Tauren Poole (117 yards), Mississippi’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis (131 yards), Houston’s Anthony Alridge (100 yards) and Arkansas’ Darren McFadden (195 yards).

TOUGH SLEDDING ON THE GROUND: Alabama is tied with Ohio State for giving up the fewest rushing touchdowns in the nation since the start of the 2005 season, surrendering only 49. The Buckeyes led the nation entering the 2011 season, but they have given up three thus far, including two in a loss to Nebraska. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, the Crimson Tide has allowed 31 rushing touchdowns while OSU has allowed 30. In 2010, Alabama surrendered only six rushing touchdowns in 13 games and has given up two this season - one at Penn State and one at Mississippi.

NOWHERE TO RUN: Alabama held Mississippi to 28 rushing yards on 31 carries. In head coach Nick Saban’s 61-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited the opposition to less than 100 rushing yards 38 times, or 62.3 percent of the time. The 28 yards on the ground by Mississippi marks the sixth time in seven games this season that the opposition has been held under 100 yards.

BARRON HONORED FOR OUTING AT PENN STATE: Senior safety Mark Barron was named the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week on September 14. Barron totaled seven tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery and both of his take-aways thwarted Penn State drives inside Crimson Tide territory. The interception ended a Penn State drive at the UA 9-yard line in the third quarter and the fumble recovery stopped the Nittany Lions at the Alabama 35-yard line in the fourth quarter. The interception was the 11th of Barron’s career. He was also named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts at Penn State.

DePRIEST MAKING AN IMPACT: True freshman linebacker Trey DePriest has started on special teams and seen reserve action at linebacker for the Crimson Tide this season. He was named the co-SEC Freshman of the Week for his efforts against Kent State where he led the team in tackles with 10 while making his presence felt literally throughout the stadium with multiple bone-jarring hits. DePriest has also been twice named a Specialist of the Week by the Alabama coaching staff and is third on the team with 17 tackles in five games this year.

RETURNING CAPTAINS: Senior safety Mark Barron and junior linebacker Dont’a Hightower are the third set of captains to return to the position for a second season since Alabama first began naming multiple team captains in 1956. In 2002, both Jarret Johnson and Tyler Watts were second-year leaders, while Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Johnson repeated in 2008.

HIGHTOWER RETURNS: Junior linebacker Dont’a Hightower returns for his fourth season at the Capstone as the man in the middle of Alabama’s complex defensive scheme. Hightower received a medical redshirt for the 2009 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth game of the season against Arkansas. An amazingly quick recovery returned him to the practice field with full contact during spring drills. Hightower split time between the Mike and Will linebacker spots in 2010 while also seeing time with his hand in the dirt on passing downs to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills. The Lewisburg, Tenn., native has 158 career tackles with 12.0 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hurries. Hightower leads the team in 2011 with 25 tackles in four games with a career-best 4.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.

BARRON RETURNS: Senior safety Mark Barron is one of the most prominent safeties in the nation. The Mobile, Ala., native is a two-time first-team All-SEC player while garnering third-team All-America honors in 2009 and first-team All-America recognition in 2010. He has 175 career tackles and has ranked second and first, respectively, among Crimson Tide players in total stops the past two seasons. Barron has 19 pass breakups over the past three seasons and 11 interceptions. In 2010, Barron was the leader of the Tide secondary. He finished as the Tide’s top tackler 75 stops while missing the bowl game with a torn pectoral muscle. This year, he is second on the team with 22 total stops while recording one interception and two pass breakups.

 Offensive Notes

OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT UNDER McELWAIN: Since offensive coordinator Jim McElwain’s arrival in 2008, Alabama has improved each season in points per game, rushing yards and passing yards. The Crimson Tide is currently averaging 12.6 more points per game in 2011 (39.7 ppg) than it did in 2007 (27.1 ppg) and 86.8 more yards per game in total offense.

SCORING VARIETY: Alabama has found the end zone in a variety of ways in its four SEC contests this season. The Crimson Tide threw for two touchdowns against Arkansas, rushed for one touchdown and returned a punt and an interception for scores. DeQuan Menzie returned an interception 25 yards for a score, while Marquis Maze returned a punt 83 yards. AJ McCarron tossed two touchdown passes, while Eddie Lacy rushed for a touchdown. At Florida, Trent Richardson rushed for a pair of touchdowns, McCarron and Lacy also tacked on one rushing touchdown apiece, and Courtnew Upshaw returned an interception 45 yards for the score. In the win against Vanderbilt, Alabama had four passing touchdowns from McCarron to DeAndrew White twice and Brad Smelley and Darius Hanks each for one, while Richardson tacked on one rushing TD. Most recently at Mississippi, Richardson accounted for four of the Tide’s seven touchdowns. The remained three touchdowns were collected by Jalston Fowler, who had two rushing, and Bradon Gibson, who caught a 10-yard pass from McCarron.

GIBSON CATCHES FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWN: Alabama senior wide receiver Brandon Gibson caught his first career touchdown in the win over Mississippi on October 15. Gibson became the 12th different player to score for the Crimson Tide in 2011.

TAKING CARE OF THE FOOTBALL: The Alabama offense has not turned the ball over in 50 consecutive possessions dating back to a lost fumble in the fourth quarter against North Texas. The Tide has not thrown an interception in 77 possessions, dating back to the third quarter of the opening game against Kent State. Alabama is tied for 20th nationally and third in the SEC in turnover margin at plus-.71 per game, but the Crimson Tide has not committed a turnover of any kind in SEC play, while forcing eight turnovers (six interceptions, two fumbles) against the likes of No. 14 Arkansas, No. 12 Florida, Vanderbilt and Mississippi for a turnover margin of plus-2.0.

RICHARDSON HAMMERS HIS WAY PAST 100: Junior running back Trent Richardson recorded his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game last Saturday at Mississippi with a career-best 183 yards on 17 carries. The six straight 100-yard outings equals Shaun Alexander school record of six consecutive during the 1999 season. Alexander had at least 100 yards in his first six games of the season while Richardson has done it in games 2-7 of the 2011 season. Siran Stacy (1989) and Sherman Williams (1993) both had five in a row in 1993. Richardson’s first 100-yard effort came at Happy Valley against No. 23 Penn State, rushing for 111 yards. He followed with a 167-yard, three-touchdown performance against North Texas and a 126-yard effort vs. Arkansas. He totaled 181 yards and two touchdowns at Florida and 107 yards and a score against Vanderbilt. Richardson then set a career-high in rushing yards for the third time this season with 183 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. He also went over the century mark at Tennessee in 2010 (119 yards), vs. Penn State in 2010 (144 yards), vs. Florida International in 2009 (118 yards) and against Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game (2009 season).

RICHARDSON’S CONSECUTIVE 100-YARD GAMES: Alabama running back Trent Richardson has reeled off six straight 100-yard rushing games, the longest consecutive streak in the nation among active players and tied for the longest streak in Alabama history.

RICHARDSON HAVING BIG YEAR: Trent Richardson is in the top four nationally and leading the Southeastern Conference with 130.29 yards per game and 10th on the Alabama career rushing yard list with 2,363 yards. He is third nationally in scoring at 13.71 points per game. Richardson leads the Crimson Tide with 912 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns (16 total touchdowns). He is the 16th Alabama back to surpass 2,000 yards rushing in a career.

RICHARDSON ON RECORD PACE: Alabama junior running back Trent Richardson has been scoring touchdowns at an alarming rate to start the 2011 season. In just seven games, Richardson has found the end zone 15 times. Richardson opened the year with three touchdowns against Kent State and followed that up with two more at Penn State. Richardson scored three touchdowns for Alabama against North Texas and added another against Arkansas. With the two scores against Florida, one vs. Vanderbilt and a career-best four at Mississippi, Richardson pushes his career total to 29 touchdowns on the ground and 35 overall. The 35 touchdowns (29 rush, 5 rec., 1 ret.) ranks fifth, three behind Johnny Musso on the Alabama career list. Shaun Alexander is the all-time leader at Alabama with 50 career touchdowns with Mark Ingram second with 46.

RICHARDSON SETS CAREER BEST: Alabama junior running back Trent Richardson has set his career high in rushing three times this season. He first went for 167 yards on 11 carries against North Texas, breaking his previous best of 144 vs. Penn State in 2010. He then rushed for 181 yards on a career-high 29 carries in a win at No. 12 Florida. The 181 yards is the most by an Alabama back against Florida in the series history, surpassing Billy Jackson’s 147 yards against the Gators in 1978. Richardson then accomplished the feat for a third time with 183 yards on just 17 carries (10.76 ypc) at Mississippi with a career-high four touchdowns.

RICHARDSON VS. THE TOP 25: Trent Richardson has excelled against the nation’s best competition in the 2011 season. He has faced three top-25 teams in five games and is averaging 139.3 rushing yards per game against the likes of then-No. 23 Penn State (111 yards), then-No. 14 Arkansas (126 yards) and then-No. 12 Florida (181 yards). Richardson also netted 131 yards receiving on 10 receptions against top-25 competition this year. He has four rushing and one receiving touchdowns in those games with 549 yards of total offense.

BALL SECURITY: Junior running back Trent Richardson has continued a pattern of Alabama running backs holding onto the football. Holding the ball high and tight is a principle of running backs coach Burton Burns that has been highly successful during his five years at Alabama. Richardson has lost just one fumble in 470 career touches. His only lost fumble came in the sixth game of his freshman season (2009), losing the ball at the end of a seven-yard run in Oxford against Mississippi. Richardson has not lost a fumble in 406 touches, which spans a portion of the last three seasons. In fact, Alabama’s rotation of its top-two running backs (Ingram/Richardson, 2009-10; Richardson/Lacy, 2011) has lost just three fumbles dating back to the start of the 2009 season, a span of 1.009 touches. If you go back to the start of Coach Burn’s tenure at the Capstone, the Crimson Tide’s main tandem of running backs has lost just seven fumbles in five years.

IMPRESSIVE GROUND ATTACK: Alabama has now scored 24 rushing touchdowns this season ranking the Crimson Tide third nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference in that category. Alabama has scored 36 touchdowns this season total.

AJ CONSISTENT AND EFFICIENT AT QB: Alabama sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron has shown excellent decision making after the first seven games of the 2011 season. The native of Mobile, Ala., has connected on 117-of-174 passing (67.24 percent) for 1,380 yards and nine touchdowns with zero interceptions in the last five games. McCarron has started all seven of Alabama’s contests this season at quarterback. He ranks 32nd nationally and fifth in the SEC with a 148.63 passing efficiency rating.

151 PASSES WITHOUT AN INT: Alabama sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron has reeled off 151 consecutive passes without throwing an interception. It is the third-longest streak in school history. He has gone six straight games without a pick. Brodie Croyle holds the school record of 190 consecutive passes without an interception with Jay Barker (155) second. McCarron passed Greg McElroy’s mark of 149 straight passes without an interception.

ALABAMA AERIAL ATTTACK: Alabama went to the air against Vanderbilt with sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron leading the charge with a career-best game. McCarron completed a career-high 23 passes on a career-best 30 attempts. He also tossed a career high in touchdowns with four. Senior wide receiver Marquis Maze caught a career-best nine balls for 93 yards. Sophomore DeAndrew White also tallied a career-high in touchdowns (2) and yards (52).

McCARRON TOSSES 4 TDs IN A GAME: Sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron threw four touchdowns against Vanderbilt. The four touchdowns in a single game ties Mike Shula (Memphis State, Oct. 26, 1985) and John Parker Wilson (Arkansas, Sept. 15, 2007) for the second most in school history. Gary Hollingsworth threw a school-record five touchdowns at Mississippi on Nov. 4, 1989.

THREE ROAD STARTS = THREE ROAD WINS: Making only his second-career start at quarterback, AJ McCarron recorded his first road win and it came at one of the most intimidating venues in college football – Beaver Stadium – against one of the most tradition-rich programs – Penn State. McCarron’s initial success on the road followed the footsteps of his predecessor, Greg McElroy, who defeated No. 7 Virginia Tech 34-24 in his first start away from home at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 2009. McElroy then won his first true road contest at Kentucky later that season, 38-20. McElroy finished his career 11-2 away from Tuscaloosa (includes neutral site games). McCarron also joined McElroy in registering a win over Arkansas in his first SEC start. On October 1, McCarron went into another hostile environment in his first SEC road contest where he guided the Tide to a 38-10 victory at Florida. Most recently, McCarron directed Alabama to a 52-7 decision at Mississippi.

SMELLEY, WHITE GRAB FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWNS: Senior tight end Brad Smelley hauled in his first career touchdown when he caught an AJ McCarron pass for six yards for the first score of the game in the first quarter against Vanderbilt on October 8. Redshirt freshman receiver DeAndrew White also caught his first career touchdown when he snared a high pass at the back of the end zone late in the second quarter against the Commodores, before catching another in the third quarter. Smelley and White became the ninth and 10th players, respectively, to score this season. Senior Darius Hanks also joined the action against Vanderbilt, recording his first touchdown of the season to become the 11th different player to score in 2011.

MAZE SETS CAREER HIGHS: Alabama senior wide receiver Marquis Maze tallied a career-high nine catches against Vanderbilt. The nine catches were the most by an Alabama player since Julio Jones caught 10 passes against Auburn (Nov. 26, 2010). 

MAZE NOMINATED FOR GEICO PLAY OF THE YEAR: Senior Marquis Maze’s 83-yard punt return against Arkansas on September 24, earned a nomination for the GEICO Play of the Year. The punt return for a touchdown was the first of his career and the longest return of his career. The punt return was the first for a touchdown for Alabama since Javier Arenas found the end zone against Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2009. The return also marked the 10th longest return for a touchdown in Alabama history.

JONES AND RICHARDSON HONORED BY THE SEC: Alabama junior running back Trent Richardson and junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones were named SEC Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, respectively, following the Crimson Tide’s 38-14 victory over Arkansas on September 24. Richardson rushed for a game-high 126 yards on 17 carries, marking his third-straight 100-yard game, and also caught three passes for a game-best 85 yards. Jones received the highest grade on the Alabama offensive line and helped lead a balanced Tide attack that led to 197 rushing yards and 200 passing yards.

Darius Hanks RETURNS: Alabama senior wide receiver Darius Hanks returned to the field on September 17, for the first time this season after sitting out two games in compliance with the NCAA redshirt rule. In 2011 he has four receptions for 33 yards.

MAZE MAKES A STATEMENT: Senior wide receiver/return specialist Marquis Maze is one of the key components in replacing All-America wide receiver Julio Jones, and Maze has shown his ability. The senior enjoyed a big day in the season opener against Kent State, setting personal single-game bests in receiving and returns. For the game, Maze returned eight punts for 96 yards (12-yard average), returned a kickoff for 39 yards, and caught eight passes for 118 yards for a total of 253 all-purpose yards. The receiving yard total is a single-game high for Maze at Alabama, exceeding his prior high of 96 yards against Florida in 2009. On the season, Maze leads the Crimson Tide in receptions with 31 for 355 yards (11.5 yard average) and one touchdown.  He also has 24 punt returns for 322 yards, with an average of 13.4 yards per return, ranking 18th nationally.

Barrett Jones DOES IT ALL ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE: Junior All-American Barrett Jones has started at right guard the past two seasons, but added a few responsibilities to his résumé this spring and fall. He started all four games this season at left tackle and has also seen snaps at left guard, right tackle and center. A candidate for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award, Jones has now started 31 games at the Capstone.

O-LINE EXPERIENCE A KEY: Alabama has one of the most experienced offensive lines in the nation. The Crimson Tide return four starters from last year’s unit and a combined 111 careers starts. Center William Vlachos leads the line with 34 career starts, making every start dating back to the 2009 season opener. Tackle/guard Barrett Jones is close behind with 32 starts, missing only two games late last season (Georgia State & Auburn) with a sprained ankle. Chance Warmack has started the last 20 games at left guard and D.J. Fluker started 16 games at right tackle. Anthony Steen is the newcomer to the group with nine starts.

100-YARD RUSHERS AND RECEIVERS: Thirty-four times in 31 different games Alabama has had rushers exceed 100 yards, and the Tide has had 14 100-yard receivers in 14 games since head coach Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. Former running back Mark Ingram recorded 12 100-yard rushing games during his career, while junior Trent Richardson has 10 100-yard rushing efforts, sophomore Eddie Lacy with two and sophomore Jalston Fowler with one. Under Saban, Alabama has gone 30-1 in those 31 games that produced a 100-yard rusher. Marquis Maze (1) and Trent Richardson (1) are the only current players with a 100-yard receiving game. The Tennessee game on Oct. 23, 2010, marked the sixth time under Saban that Alabama has had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game.

Special Teams Notes

MAZE RETURNS KICKOFF for 70 YARDS AT FLORIDA: Alabama senior wide receiver and return specialist Marquis Maze had another stellar special teams performance in the Crimson Tide’s 38-10 win at Florida on October 8. Towards the end of the first quarter, Maze returned a kickoff for 70 yards, his longest kickoff return of the season, setting up an Alabama touchdown to tie the game at 10-10. Maze leads the team with an average of 36.4 yards per kick return.

MAZE’s 83-YARD PUNT RETURN FOR A TD: Alabama senior wide receiver and return specialist Marquis Maze took the first Crimson Tide opportunity of the second half against Arkansas for a touchdown on an 83-yard punt return. The punt return for a touchdown is the first of his career and the longest return of his career. The punt return was the first for a touchdown for Alabama since Javier Arenas found the end zone against Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2009. The return also marked the 10th longest return for a touchdown in Alabama history.

MAZE SETS PUNT RETURN MARK: Alabama senior wide receiver and return specialist Marquis Maze totaled a career-best 253 all-purpose yards vs. Kent State while also leading all receivers with 118 yards on a career-best eight catches. But he etched his name in the Alabama record book with a game-high tying eight punt returns for 96 yards. The 96 yards was also the seventh-most in a single game in UA history. Maze also added one kickoff return for 39 yards.

 SERIES notes

TENNESSEE SERIES: Alabama leads the series with Tennessee, 47-38-7, in a series that dates back to the 1901 season. The Crimson Tide has won the last four meetings and seeks its fifth straight series win for the first time since a seven-game winning streak from 1986-92. Alabama posted a resounding 41-17 win over the Tennessee on Oct. 20, 2007, in Tuscaloosa and followed that up with a 29-9 win in 2008 in Knoxville. The most thrilling game in the Saban era came in 2009 as a UT field goal was blocked by the hand of Terrence Cody, denying Tennessee a game winning field goal as time expired, giving Alabama a 12-10 victory. Last season, the Tide dominated the Vols by posting a 41-10 victory on the road. The first meeting took place Nov. 28, 1901, in Birmingham, when the two schools played to a 6-6 deadlock. Alabama posted an 8-1-1 record in the first 10 meetings with Tennessee, including eight shutouts, before the series was halted from 1915-27. The series resumed on Oct. 20, 1928, the first of 66 consecutive meetings on the third Saturday in October, with Tennessee claiming a 15-13 win in Tuscaloosa. Alabama won 11 consecutive games (1971-81) over Tennessee to gain the upper hand in the series. The Tide and Vols have met every year since 1928, with the exception of the 1943 season when neither school fielded a football team due to World War II. Tennessee posted a seven-game winning streak (1995-2001) over Alabama, marking the Vols longest winning streak in series history, also the longest by any opponent against Alabama. The Tide snapped that streak with a 34-13 win in Knoxville in 2002.

SABAN-DOOLEY CONNECTION: Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is no stranger to Nick Saban. Dooley spent seven years under Saban, joining the three-time national coach of the year in his inaugural staff at LSU. Dooley wore many different hats under Saban, coaching running backs, tight ends and special teams at different points throughout the seven year span and served as recruiting coordinator at LSU in what became three of the most influential signing classes in the Tigers’ school history.

THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER: For 66 years the annual Alabama-Tennessee game was simply referred to as “The Third Saturday in October.” Alabama and Tennessee first played on the traditional third Saturday date Oct. 20, 1928. The tradition continued through the 1994 season. In 1995, the Southeastern Conference Office realigned its conference football schedule, putting an end to the 66-year tradition. The Oct. 14, 1995, game was played on the second Saturday in October. Since 1996, Alabama and Tennessee have met on the third Saturday in October six times, including the 2006 and 2007 games. The 2008 and 2009 games took place on the fourth Saturday in October, as will the 2011 matchup. The series became so popular that the late Al Browning, former sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News and Knoxville News-Sentinel, wrote a book entitled Third Saturday in October, recapping each game in this tradition-rich football series.

SABAN VERSUS THE VOLS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has compiled a 6-1 (.857) career record against Tennessee.  He is 4-0 in his career at Alabama, including a 41-17 win in 2007, a 29-9 in 2008, a 12-10 win in 2009 and a 41-10 victory in 2010. Saban is one of eight Alabama coaches to win his first game against Tennessee, joining W.B. Blount (1903), Jack Leavenworth (1905), J.W.H. Pollard (1906), D.V. Graves (1912), Red Drew (1947), Bill Curry (1987) and Gene Stallings (1990). During his stint at LSU, Saban faced Tennessee twice. On Sept. 30, 2000, Saban led LSU to a 38-31 overtime win over Tennessee at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The following year, on Sept. 29, Tennessee posted a 26-18 overtime win over LSU at Neyland Stadium. LSU beat Tennessee, 30-21, on Dec. 8, 2001, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to win the SEC Championship.

UA/UT SERIES RANKINGS: History shows that when Alabama and Tennessee meet on the gridiron at least one team will be residing in the current Associated Press or USA Today Coaches poll. This year is no exception. Alabama is ranked No. 2 in this week’s AP poll, while Tennessee is not ranked. The 2011 season marks the fourth-straight year the Crimson Tide has faced the Volunteers ranked among the top ten teams in the country. In 2010, the seventh-ranked Crimson Tide dominated Tennessee, 41-10, while top-ranked Alabama narrowly escaped in 2009’s 12-10 victory. In 2008, No. 2 Alabama beat Tennessee 29-9 in Knoxville.  Prior to that game, the last time UA faced UT when ranked as high as No. 2 in the polls came in 1993 when the two teams played to a 17-17 tie at Legion Field. The Vols are unranked while playing Alabama for only the fourth time since 2000. At least one team has been ranked, in one poll or the other, every year since 1959, with the exception of 1968, 1984 and 2000. Since 1939, the highest ranked team has compiled a 47-9-2 record in the Alabama-Tennessee series.

ALABAMA-TENNESSEE TV RESULTS: The 2011 game marks the 35th televised game in series history. The Alabama-Tennessee game has been televised every year since 1989. The Crimson Tide owns an 18-13-2 record over the Volunteers in televised games.

 Miscellaneous Notes

36 NATIONAL TV GAMES IN LAST 46 GAMES: Alabama’s contest at Mississippi on October 15, marked the 36th nationally-televised game since the start of the 2008 season for the Crimson Tide. In 2010, Alabama had five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, two games on ESPN2, one on ABC and one on ESPNU. In 2009, UA played two games on ABC, including the BCS National Championship Game, and six games on CBS while ESPN broadcast two more Crimson Tide games. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games broadcast nationally, including five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX.

TIDE 45-3 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: The Crimson Tide is 45-3 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama had a 28-game winning streak snapped in 2010 against LSU. The first two losses came against LSU with the last loss to Auburn in 2010. In 2007, UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In 2010, UA led 10-3 at the half before the Tigers rallied for a 24-20 win at Tiger Stadium. The Tide lost 28-27 to Auburn to close out the 2010 season after leading 24-7 at the half. The Crimson Tide is 3-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 2-2 when tied at halftime. The three wins when trailing at the half came in a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech on Sept. 5, 2009, in Atlanta; a 24-15 victory over No. 9 LSU on Nov. 7, 2009; and a 24-20 win at Arkansas on Sept. 25, 2010 . Alabama’s two wins when tied at halftime came at LSU on Nov. 8, 2008, (a 27-21 victory) and at Auburn with a 26-21 win on Nov. 27, 2009.

HUGE CROWDS: On September 10, at Penn State, Alabama played before the largest crowd ever to witness a Crimson Tide football game as 107,846 fans packed Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. The Crimson Tide has played in nine games away from home that saw the attendance figure eclipse 100,000, with all but Saturday’s game being played at Neyland Stadium against Tennessee.

FRESHMAN ACADEMICS: Alabama’s 2010 freshman class did more than just excel on the football field, the Crimson Tide placed 11 rookies on the 2011 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll, by far the highest total in the SEC - more than double the second-place team. Mississippi State was second with five, while Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee each had four. Florida and Georgia placed three representatives on the list apiece, and Arkansas, LSU and Vanderbilt all had two members of the honor roll, respectively. Mississippi rounded out the list with one. Alabama freshmen that made the list include: Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, Corey Grant, Adrian Hubbard, Harrison Jones, Arie Kouandjio, C.J. Mosley, Nick Perry, Brian Vogler, DeAndrew White and Jay Williams. The 2009 freshman class was equally impressive placing 12 on the list, which again was more than double the next-highest SEC institution.

TOP AIDES: Alabama’s coaching staff was ranked No. 1 in the Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com Top 10 Football Coaching Staffs list. Following the Tide was Oklahoma, TCU, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Iowa, South Carolina, Penn State, Boise State and Wisconsin. Alabama’s leadership on the sidelines and in the booth has a wealth of knowledge across all levels of football. The nine-man staff features a former head coach at the Bowl Subdivision level in Bobby Williams (Michigan State). The staff also has five coaches that have spent time as assistant coaches in the NFL in Mike Groh (Jets), Jim McElwain (Raiders), Kirby Smart (Dolphins), Sal Sunseri (Panthers) and Bobby Williams (Lions and Dolphins).

CRIMSON TIDE PLAYERS ON NFL ROSTERS: The Alabama football program is well represented in the NFL as it starts the 2011 season with former players and coaches dotting league rosters. The Tide has 38 former players and coaches working in the NFL this season. Charlie Peprah is the only Alabama player on the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. The Crimson Tide has 25 current NFL players. There are 13 former UA players and/or coaches serving as assistant coaches in the NFL this season.

ALABAMA’S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 187-125-4 (.596) all-time record in 315 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.

OVERTIME RECORD: Alabama is 4-7 (.364) all-time in overtime games. In its last overtime game, the Crimson Tide defeated LSU 27-21 at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 8, 2008. Alabama has lost six of its last nine overtime games. The Crimson Tide is 4-6 (.400) in overtime games against SEC teams. Alabama is 2-4 (.333) in overtime home games. The Crimson Tide is 3-4 (.429) in single-overtime games.

NICK’S KIDS: At Michigan State, head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, started the Nick’s Kids Foundation, which the Sabans have continued in Tuscaloosa. Since their arrival at the University of Alabama, the Sabans have helped raise more than $2 million for “Nick’s Kids” that has been distributed to more than 150 charities and organizations throughout the state of Alabama.