TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Alabama football coaching staff announced the selection of six players for the team’s weekly Player of the Week honors following the Tide’s 41-34 loss to No. 3 LSU on Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night. Two players were chosen from the offense, defense and special teams units.
Offensively, the staff selected center Evan Cardwell and wide receiver Keith Brown as the offensive honorees. Cardwell, a sophomore from Killen, started his fourth straight game at the center position against the Tigers. Facing one of that nation’s best defensive lines, Cardwell helped the Tide to three touchdown drives in the game.
Brown had his best game of the season and sparked the Tide passing attack. The senior from Pensacola, Fla., had two catches, both for touchdowns. Brown made a leaping 29-yard catch right before the end of the half to give his team the lead going into the locker room. He added a 14-yard catch in the third quarter that gave the Tide a 10-point lead.
Wallace Gilberry and Rashad Johnson earned the nod from the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball for the Tide. Gilberry, a senior from Bay Minette, was a disruptive force on the Alabama defensive line against LSU. He recorded all three of the Tide’s sacks in the game for a total of -19 yards. Gilberry finished with eight tackles and forced one fumble in the loss.
Safety Rashad Johnson, a junior from Sulligent, was equally as impressive in the Tide secondary. Johnson led Alabama with nine tackles, including one for loss. He recorded one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry and tallied his fifth interception of the season in the second quarter.
On special teams, Javier Arenas and Foress Rayford shared special teams player of the week accolades. Arenas had a career day against LSU, racking up 237 all-purpose yards on the night, setting a career mark. The sophomore from Tampa, Fla., scored a touchdown to give the Tide a late lead on a 61-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. He finished with three punt returns for 69 yards and eight kickoff returns for 168 yards.
Rayford, a defensive back from Mobile, has been prominent on the Tide special teams units all season. Against LSU, the senior provided several key blocks on the kickoff and punt return teams, helping Arenas rack up 237 all-purpose yards. His block helped spring Arenas for the 61-yard touchdown return to give Alabama a seven-point lead late in the game.