SEC Weekly Release
ALABAMA QUICK NOTES:
- The Alabama-LSU game features two of the top four statistical defenses in the nation ...
- UA is ranked first in total defense, while LSU is fourth ...
- Alabama has scored on 17 consecutive trips into the "red zone", including 11 TDs ...
- Alabama is the only team in the SEC to score a TD this season on offense, defense, kickoff return and punt return ...
- Bama's three first-half scoring drive vs. Miss. State averaged more than 10 yards per play (23 plays, 240 yards, 17 points) ...
- Alabama has allowed the fewest sacks in the SEC this season (9), while LSU has at least one sack in 33 consecutive games ...
- Kenneth Darby is 67 yards shy of becoming the 11th UA player with 1,000 rushing yards in a season ...
- Tyrone Prothro is 46 yards shy of 1,000 career all-purpose yards ...
- UA leads SEC with 60 three-and-outs this season ...
- Mark Anderson has one TFL in six straight games ...
- UA has forced at least one turnover in all nine games this season and in 18 off 22 games under Shula ...
- UA is 15-1-1 in last 17 games at LSU ...
ALABAMA PLAYS FINAL ROAD GAME AT LSU
After securing its sixth win of the season last weekend to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2001 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide (6-3, 3-3 SEC) travels to Baton Rouge, La. this weekend for a Saturday night showdown with No. 15 LSU Tigers (6-2, 3-2 SEC) at historic Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised to a national cable audience by ESPN with kickoff set for 6:47 p.m. (CT). The Crimson Tide will be playing at the home of the defending national champion for the first time since 1987. The last time Alabama ventured into the house of the defending national champion was Sept. 12, 1987, and led by Bobby Humphrey's 200 rushing yards, No. 19 Alabama beat No. 11 Penn State 24-13 in Happy Valley. The Crimson Tide continues to lead the SEC with 229.8 rushing yards per game this season. In nine games, Bama has 407 rushing attempts for 2,068 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide averages 5.1 yards per carry this season. The bulk of the rushing totals have come from tailback Kenneth Darby (Huntsville), who took over for the injured Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) after the sixth game of the season. Darby is second in the SEC with 106.3 yards per game. In nine games, he has 169 rushing attempts for 933 yards and seven TDs, to lead the team in all three categories. He is 67 yards shy of 1,000 yards this season, which would make him just the 11th player in school history to crack the 1,000-yard barrier. Handling the broadcast duties for ESPN will be Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Mike Gottfried (analyst) and Erin Andrews. The game will also be televised on a tape delayed basis by the Crimson Tide Sports Network with David Crane (play-by-play) and Chris Stewart (color). Fans can also tune to the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (analyst) and Tom Roberts (sidelines) describing the action.
THE HEAD COACHES
Coach Mike Shula (10-12, .455) is 6-3 (.667) in his sophomore season as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Shula compiled a 4-9 (.308) record in his rookie season at Alabama last year against the nation's most difficult schedule. The Crimson Tide lost to both teams (Oklahoma and LSU) that played in the BCS National Championship game last season. Shula previously served as an assistant coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Chicago and Miami. A three-year letterman at Alabama (1984-86), Shula was a two-time All-SEC selection and threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior (1985), leading Alabama to dramatic come-from-behind wins over Georgia and Auburn. LSU head coach Nick Saban (45-15, .750) is in his fifth season as head coach of the Tigers. in his first four years at LSU, Saban has guided the Tigers to four bowl games, two SEC Championships and the 2003 National Championship. Last year, LSU posted a 13-1 overall record and won the school's first national championship since the famed "Chinese Bandits" of 1958. Overall, Saban has compiled an 88-41-1 (.681) overall record in 11 years as a collegiate head coach. Prior to LSU, he was the head coach at Michigan State. He is the son of former NFL head coach Lou Saban.
Alabama will close out the 2004 regular season with its annual "bragging rights" game with the Auburn Tigers. The Alabama-Auburn game will kickoff at 2:34 p.m. (CT) from Bryant-Denny Stadium and will be televised by CBS Sports.
BAMA BECOMES BOWL ELIGIBLE
*Alabama notched its sixth win of season on Nov. 6 with a 30-14 win over Mississippi State to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2001 season.
*Coach Mike Shula did not down play the importance of the team's sixth win following the win over Miss. State.
"It was a nice win. It was nice to get that sixth win and become bowl eligible," Shula said. "The guys were really excited in the lockerroom after the game.
"For what these kids have been through, and this program has been through the last few years, it's good to become bowl eligible.
"Now at Alabama, our goals are higher than just becoming bowl eligible. But based on what has happened the last few years, they need to be excited.
"This is a start. It is a signal that we are making progress. Wesley Britt has been here five years and only played in one bowl game. He deserves another bowl game.
"Our ultimate goal is a New Year's Day bowl and if we can win our next two games we have a good chance at that."
*Alabama has not participated in the post season bowl party since a 14-13 win over Iowa State in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27, 2001.
*Alabama has college football's most storied bowl history. The Crimson Tide has posted a 29-19-3 (.598) all-time record in 51 bowl appearances.
*Alabama owns the NCAA record for most bowl games and most victories.
TIDE HAS WINNING SEASON IN SIGHT
*The 30-14 win over Miss. State on Nov. 6 not only made the Crimson Tide bowl eligible, but it's also one win away from clinching another winning season in the long and storied tradition of Alabama football.
*One win in its next three games would clinch Alabama's 93rd winning season in school history.
*This is Alabama's 110th year of football and one more win would mean the Tide has posted a winning record in 84.5 percent of its football playing seasons.
*Since 1997, Alabama has had only four winning seasons, with its last coming in 2003 (10-3) under former coach Dennis Franchione.
*Alabama posted 26 consecutive winning seasons from 1958-83, including all 25 years under head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
*From 1958-1996, Alabama had 39 winning seasons in 40 years of football competition.
SECOND YEAR SUCCESS
*Despite a rash of injuries, which includes the entire starting backfield, and recent scholarship limitations, Alabama head coach Mike Shula has seen his team make significant progress this season.
*In fact, Alabama has two more wins after nine games (6-3) this season than they recorded in 13 games (4-9) last season.
*Shula's two-game improvement ties him with Paul Bryant, Bill Curry and Xen Scott for sixth-place on the school's all-time list for most improvement from the first to the second year.
*The two-game improvement continues a long-standing tradition at Alabama, where the head coach shows improvement from year one to year two.
*Of the 17 head coaches who have worked at Alabama for more than one season, 11 have shown improvement from the first to the second year.
*Three other coaches had the same number of wins in year one and year two on the UA sidelines.
*Gene Stallings (1990-96) and W.B. Blount (1903-04) hold the Alabama record for most improvement between their first and second seasons.
*Both coaches won four more games in their second year than they did in their season.
*Stallings led Alabama to a 7-5 record in his first season in 1990 and followed that up with an 11-1 record in 1991, an improvement of four games.
*Blount posted a 3-4 record in 1903 and followed that up with 7-3 mark in his final season as head coach in 1904.
*Here is a look at the UA head coaches and their records in their first two seasons as head coach.
DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
*Alabama will face the defending national champions this Saturday when they meet the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.
*Alabama is 4-6 (.400) all-time against the defending national champion, including a 2-2 (.500) mark on the road.
*The last time Alabama faced the defending national champion was a 21-7 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 23, 1999 in Tuscaloosa.
*The last time Alabama faced the defending national champion on the road was a 24-13 win at No. 11 Penn State on Sept. 12, 1987. Junior tailback Bobby Humphrey ran for 220 yards in the upset win over the Nittany Lions.
*Here is the complete listing of Alabama's games against the defending national champion.
BAMA VS. DEFENDING NATIONAL CHAMPS
Year Result Site
1909 LSU 12, Alabama 6 Birmingham
1929 Alabama 13, Georgia Tech 0 Atlanta
1952 Tennessee 20, Alabama 0 Knoxville
1958 Auburn 14, Alabama Birmingham
1971 Nebraska 38, Alabama 6 `72 Orange Bowl
1983 Penn State 34, Alabama 28 State College
1987 Alabama 24, Penn State 13 State College
1991 Alabama 30, Colorado 25 Blockbuster Bowl
1992 Alabama 34, Miami 13 `93 Sugar Bowl
1999 Tennessee 21, Alabama 7 Tuscaloosa
2004 Alabama at LSU Baton Rouge
*LSU won the National Championship Foundation national title in 1908.
*Georgia Tech won the College Football Researchers, Helms Athletic Foundation and National Championship Foundation national championship in 1928.
CARTER MAKES EMOTIONAL RETURN
*Senior split end Antonio Carter (Tallahassee, Fla.) made an emotional return to the field in the closing minutes of the Crimson Tide's 30-14 win over Miss. State on Nov. 6.
"I didn't know at all [if I would play] when Coach Shula came, found me and put me in," said Carter, who had not played for the Crimson Tide since Nov. 29, 2001 against Southern Miss.
"It was just a wonderful surprise. I found him afterwards and hugged him and told him how much I appreciated it. The feeling when I went out there made it all worth it.
"I am at the end of my career. I wanted to get out there, although I am not really at 100 percent. I am hurting, but at the same time, it feels good."
Shula said he called Carter's number to honor his leadership.
"That was great for him and great for our team," Shula said. "He is one of our captains, and is one of our leaders. Our young guys need to emulate A.C. and what he stands for. He goes out every day and does what needs to be done."
Carter had not played for the Crimson Tide in nearly three years after a sustaining a number of injuries following his junior season. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
UA HAS SEC'S TOP RUSHING OFFENSE
*The Alabama Crimson Tide enters this weekend's game against LSU with the best rushing offense in the SEC.
*Alabama leads the league with 229.8 rushing yards per game. Alabama also ranks 13th in the nation in rushing offense this season.
*Through nine games, Alabama has rushed the ball 407 times for 2,068 yards and 19 touchdowns.
*Alabama has rushed the ball 69.3 percent of the time this season.
*The 2,068 rushing yards accounts for 64.9 percent of UA's total offense in 2004.
*The rushing offense has really been emphasized the last four weeks as Alabama has run the ball 190 times for 931 yards.
*Alabama averaged 47.5 rushing attempts and 232.75 rushing yards per game against Kentucky, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Miss. State.
*Alabama's best rushing attack of the season came at Kentucky on Oct. 9 as the Tide ran a season-high 63 times for 304 yards in a 45-17 win.
*The 63 rushing attempts and 304 rushing yards were the most in the Shula era.
*The last time Alabama rushed for 300 yards in a game was Sept. 21, 2002 when the Crimson Tide had 64 carries for 351 yards in a 20-7 win over Southern Miss.
*The bulk of the Crimson Tide's rushing offense this season has come from senior tailback Ray Hudson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Kentucky.
*In six games this season, Hudson had 92 rushing attempts for 638 yards and four touchdowns. Hudson was the SEC's second-leading rusher at the time of his injury.
*The Crimson Tide also lost its starting fullback in the fourth quarter of the Tennessee game on Oct. 23.
*Prior to the season-ending injury, sophomore fullback Tim Castille (Birmingham) had 62 rushing attempts for 247 yards and six TDs.
*Castille did not have a negative rushing attempt in eight games this season.
*Hudson and Castille combined for 897 rushing yards and 10 TDs this season.
*Sophomore Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) and true freshman Aaron Johns (Thomasville) will pick up the rushing load the remainder of the season at tailback.
*Darby is the second-leading rusher in the SEC with a 103.7 yards per game.
*In nine games, he has rushed the ball 169 times for 933 yards and seven touchdowns.
*Darby (7), Castille (6) and Hudson (4) have scored 17 of the Crimson Tide's 19 rushing TDs this season.
*Twice this season, Darby has missed the 100-yard mark by just one yard, rushing for 99 yards at Kentucky (Oct. 9) and Tennessee (Oct. 23).
*Johns has played in only five games, but got some valuable experience at Kentucky on Oct. 9, when he had a season-high 12 carries for 30 yards in the fourth quarter.
*For the season, Johns has 37 rushing attempts for 167 yards, including 11 carries for a season-high 86 yards in the win over Western Carolina (Sept. 18).
*Sophomore Le'Ron McClain (Tuscaloosa) and seldom-used junior Josh Smith (Mountain Brook) will pick up the load for Castille at fullback.
*McLain has 10 rushing attempts for 55 yards and one TD this season. An excellent lead blocker, he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
*McLain also has four catches for 21 yards this season, with two touchdowns.
*Smith has played in nine games this season, mainly on special teams, and has three rushing attempts for seven yards.
*He had one carry for three yards against Western Carolina (Sept. 18), one carry for two yards at Kentucky (Oct. 9) and one carry for two yards against Miss. State (Nov. 6).
KENNETH DARBY NEARS 1,000 YARDS
*Sophomore tailback Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) needs to just 67 yards to become the 11th player in Alabama history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single-season.
*Through nine games, Darby has 169 rushing attempts for 933 yards and seven touchdowns.
*In his brief Alabama career, Darby has 203 rushing attempts for 1,118 yards and seven touchdowns in 19 career games.
*He is averaging 58.8 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry in his two-year career.
*He is coming off the best game of his career where he ran 36 times for 200 yards and one touchdown in a 30-14 win over Miss. State on Nov 6.
*He became the 12th player in Alabama history to rush for 200 yards in a single game.
*In addition, the 36 rushing attempts tied for the fifth-best mark in school history.
*Darby is the first player in Alabama history to rush for 200 yards in a single-game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
*In his last four games, Darby has rushed 110 times for 585 yards and four touchdowns.
*Darby is averaging 146.25 rushing yards over his last four games. He is also averaging 5.3 yards per carry in those four games.
*In his first career start against Southern Miss (Oct. 16), Darby ran the ball 29 times for 197 yards and one touchdown.
*The 197 rushing yards are the most in a game by an Alabama making his first career start.
*With 67 rushing yards this week at LSU, Darby would become the 11th player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single-season.
*Darby is also trying to give Alabama a 1,000-yard rusher for the second consecutive year.
*In 2003, tailback Shaud Williams ran for 1,367 yards, the third-best total in school history.
*The last time Alabama had a 1,000-yard rusher in back-to-back seasons was 1998 and 1999 when Shaun Alexander did it as a junior (1,178) and a senior (1,383).
*Darby also seeks to become just the second sophomore in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single-season.
*Bobby Humphrey ran for an Alabama record 1,471 yards as a sophomore in 1986.
200-YARD RUSHERS (Single-Game)
Yards Player Opponent (Year)
291 Shaun Alexander at LSU (1996)
284 Bobby Humphrey at Miss. State (1986)
233 Bobby Marlow Auburn (1951)
221 Johnny Musso Auburn (1970)
220 Bobby Humphrey at Penn State (1987)
217 Bobby Humphrey at Tennessee (1986)
216 Harry Gilmer at Kentucky (1945)
214 Shaun Alexander at Ole Miss (1999)
211 Siran Stacy at LSU (1989)
206 Shaun Alexander vs. Vanderbilt (1998)
204 Bobby Humphrey vs. Auburn (1986)
200 Kenneth Darby vs. Miss. State (2004)
1,000-YARD RUSHERS (Single-Season)
Yards Player (Atts) Year
1,471 Bobby Humphrey (236) 1986
1,383 Shaun Alexander (302) 1999
1,367 Shaud Williams (280) 2003
1,341 Sherman Williams (291) 1994
1,255 Bobby Humphrey (238) 1987
1,178 Shaun Alexander (258) 1998
1,137 Johnny Musso (226) 1970
1,088 Johnny Musso (191) 1971
1,079 Dennis Riddle (242) 1996
1,079 Siran Stacy (216) 1989
ALABAMA OFFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
Alabama has lost three starters to season-ending injuries this year, including Brodie Croyle, Ray Hudson and Tim Castille ... The Crimson Tide offense continues to lead the SEC in rushing (229.8) this season ... Alabama also leads the SEC in time of possession (33:40) ... The Crimson Tide also has the SEC's best "red zone" offense this season, scoring on 32 of 35 (.914) chances ... Alabama is third in the SEC with 21 "red zone" TDs ... UA's 35 "red zone" chances have resulted in 180 points ... Bama has scored on 17 straight trips into the "red zone", including 11 TDs ... Alabama has rushed for 220 or more yards in seven of its nine games ... Alabama has had 39 or more rushing attempts in eight of nine games this year ... Bama ranks second in the SEC with 19 rushing TDs ... UA has at least one rushing TD in eight of nine games this season, including four in a row ... Bama had a season-high 63 rushing attempts for 304 yards in the win at Kentucky, the first 300-yard rushing game in the Shula era ... Kenneth Darby's 36 rushing attempts vs. Miss. State are the most in the SEC this season ... UA's five rush TDs at Kentucky tie for the most in the league in 2004 ... Alabama has had more time of possession than its opponents in eight of nine games (S Carolina) ... UA has held the ball for 10+ minutes in 10 of its 36 quarters this season ... Alabama's 41 scoring drives have averaged 2:54 possession time this season ... Bama has 17 scoring drives under two minutes ... UA has 10 scoring drives over five minutes ... Alabama held the ball for 41:05 in its win at UK on Oct. 9th ... The last time Alabama held the ball for more than 40 minutes was the 1999 SEC Championship game against Florida (40:11 TOP) ...The starting offensive line has played 2,761 snaps this season ... Senior Evan Mathis has logged 2,710 career snaps, while senior Wesley Britt has 2,698 ... The Crimson Tide has allowed the fewest sacks (9) in the SEC this season ... UA has not allowed a sack in four (Ole Miss, Arkansas, Kentucky and Miss. State) of its nine games ... Alabama ranks last in the SEC in passing offense (124.0) ... UA has thrown at least one interception in five of its last six games, including three in a row ... Junior Spencer Pennington has completed 54 percent (21-for-39, 196 yds) passes in two road starts this season ... Bama quarterbacks Brodie Croyle (7-9), Spencer Pennington (2-2) and Marc Guillon (0-2) are a combined 10-13 (.435) in their 22 career starts for the Tide ... Bama has scored in the second quarter in all nine games this season and 10 straight games dating back to the 2003 season ... UA has outscored the opposition 84-30 in the second quarter ... Alabama also has the SEC's best fourth-quarter scoring margin at +53 points, outscoring its opponents 76-23 in the final stanza ... Sophomore receiver Tyrone Prothro is 46 yards shy of 1,000 career all-purpose yards ... Prothro is the only UA player with a least one reception in all nine games this season ...Overall, Prothro has at least one catch in 15 of his 18 career games, including 15 in a row ... Alabama is 8-4 (.667) under Shula when scoring first, including a 5-0 mark this season ... UA is 1-3 this year when the opposition scores first ... UA snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Miss. State when the opponent scores first ... Under Mike Shula, Alabama is 2-8 (.200) when the opponent scores first ... UA has scored at least 40 points in three games in a season for the first time since 1993 ... The last time UA scored 40 or more points four times in a season was 1991 ... UA's 45 points at Kentucky (Oct. 9) are the most in an SEC game since a 45-7 win over Ole Miss in 2000 ... The 45 points are also the most in an SEC road game since a 48-17 win over Vanderbilt in 1991 ... UA's 99-yard scoring drive against Kentucky (14-99-7:30) is tied with Auburn (vs. La. Tech and Ole Miss) for the longest in the SEC this season ... The Crimson Tide also logged a 98-yard scoring drive against Ole Miss (10 plays, 5:24 TOP) earlier this year ... Alabama had two scoring drives of 85 yards or more in the Ole Miss game ... Bama has seven scoring drives this season or 80+ yards ... UA has 22 plays this season of 25 or more yards and 10 plays of 40 or more yards ... Bama has scored 80 points off turnovers this season, including 42 points in the last four games ... Alabama has played two turnover-free games this season (Utah State and Kentucky) ... The last time Alabama did not commit a turnover in an SEC game was Nov. 9, 2002 against Miss. State ... The last time UA did not have a turnover in an SEC road game was Nov. 2, 2002 at Vanderbilt ... Alabama threw a season-high four interceptions in its loss to South Carolina (Oct. 2) ... The Crimson Tide opened the season with 77 pass attempts before its first interception ...
BAMA DEFENSE LEADS SEC
*The Alabama defense has shown marked improvement this season.
*Alabama leads the NCAA in three statistical categories, including total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.
*Alabama also ranks sixth in the nation this week in scoring defense.
*Through nine games, Alabama has allowed 223.8 yards per game.
*Alabama has trimmed 104.7 yards per game off last year's eight game total entering Saturday's game at LSU.
*Last year at this time, the Crimson Tide defense had given up an average of 328.5 yards per game.
*Through nine games in 2003, Alabama ranked fourth in the SEC and 28th nationally in total defense.
*Bama also leads the nation in passing defense and has allowed just 107.4 yards per game through the air this season.
*After nine games last year, Alabama had allowed 216.5 passing yards per game to rank 10th in the league and 55th nationally.
*Below is a statistical comparison of the 2003 and 2004 Alabama defense through nine games.
ALABAMA DEFENSIVE COMPARISON
Category 2004 2003
Points Allowed 122 241
Scoring Defense 13.6 26.8
Rushing Defense 116.3 121.8
Passing Defense 107.4 226.3
Total Defense 223.8 348.1
Pass Eff. Defense 85.0 126.1
Sacks By 20 (-131) 21 (-155)
ALABAMA SEC RANKINGS COMPARISON
Category 2004 2003
Scoring Defense 2nd 9th
Rushing Defense 4th 5th
Passing Defense 1st 10th
Total Defense 1st 4th
Pass Eff. Defense 1st 9th
ALABAMA NCAA RANKINGS COMPARISON
Category 2004 2003
Scoring Defense 6th 56th
Rushing Defense 13th 24th
Passing Defense 1st 55th
Total Defense 1st 28th
Pass Eff. Defense 1st 42nd
ALABAMA DEFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
Alabama has forced an SEC-best 60 three-and-outs this season ... Alabama has allowed the second fewest first downs (111) in the SEC this season (LSU has allowed the fewest, 106) ... Bama leads the SEC in opponents third down conversions (29-for-117, 24.8 percent) ...Bama leads the nation in three defensive categories, including total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense ... The Crimson Tide has held its last eight opponents to less than 200 passing yards ... Utah State (205) is the only UA opponent to throw for 200 yards in a game this season ... Alabama has held five opponent to less than 200 yards in total offense this season ... UA is second in the SEC and sixth in the nation in scoring defense this season ... The Crimson Tide has allowed the second-fewest TDs (15) in the SEC this season ... Alabama has held five opponents under 100 yards rushing this season ... The Crimson Tide held Southern Miss to just 23 total passing yards in its 27-3 win on Oct. 16th ... It was the fewest passing yards allowed by Alabama since limiting Southern Miss to 21 passing yards in 2001 ... Alabama defense held Kentucky to 29 total yards (19 snaps) in the final 27:17 of the game in Lexington ... During that time, Alabama also forced three turnovers and blocked one punt ... Alabama is fifth in the SEC with 20 sacks (-131) this season ... Bama has at least one sack in seven of its nine games this year ... UA recorded 11 TFLs (-41) in the win over Miss. State ... For the season, Alabama has 68 TFLs (-223), including one in all nine games ... Junior Mark Anderson has at least one TFL in six straight games ... Junior Freddie Roach has one TFL in four straight games ... Alabama has forced at least one turnover in all nine games this season and 14 straight games, dating back to last season ... The last time Alabama did not force a turnover came in a 43-28 loss at Ole Miss on Oct. 18, 2003 ... The Crimson Tide has forced at least one turnover in 18 of the 22 games under Shula ... UA has forced 20 turnovers this season ... Bama has scored on 12 of those 20 turnovers, resulting in 80 points, including a 31-yard interception return by Simeon Castille in the season opener against Utah State ... The Tide ranks second in opponents points off turnovers (17) to Auburn's league-leading 17 points by opponents ... Alabama has the best "red zone" defense in the SEC as opponents have scored on 12 of 18 (.667) possessions ... Bama is third in the league in "red zone" TDs (9) allowed ... Opponents have had only four trips into the "red zone" in the last four games ... Miss. State did not have any trips into the "red zone" ... UA has allowed only 17 "red zone" points (3-for-5) in its six wins this season ... UA has allowed 54 "red zone" points (9-for-13) in its three losses ... Three UA players have 200 or more career tackles, including senior Cornelius Wortham (229), junior Roman Harper (210) and junior DeMeco Ryans (201) ... Roach is just 13 tackles shy of becoming the fourth UA player with 200 career tackles ... Bama's starting linebackers have combined for 43 tackles, six TFLs and two interceptions in the last two games ... Wortham has 18 tackles in his last two games, including 11 vs. Miss. State ... For the season, Wortham has three double digit tackle games ... Wortham is ninth in the SEC with 7.1 tackles per game this season ... He also ranks fourth among linebackers with 64 total tackles ... Harper is 10th among defensive backs with 54 tackles this year ... Redshirt freshman Wallace Gilberry is fourth in the SEC with 5.5 sacks this season ... Bama has allowed only 13 plays this season of 25 or more yards ... The UA defense has pitched a shutout in 19 of 36 quarters this season ... In a three-game stretch with Ole Miss, Western Carolina and Arkansas, the Alabama defense allowed only 14 points in 11 quarters ... Alabama is the only team in the SEC with at least one shutout in each of the last three seasons ...
BAMA LEADS NATION IN KO RETURNS
*The Alabama Crimson Tide has the best kickoff return average of any team in the country through nine games.
*The Crimson Tide leads the NCAA and SEC with 31.33 yard kickoff return average heading into Saturday's game with LSU.
*For the season, Alabama has 18 kickoff returns for 564 yards and one touchdown.
*Bama's 31.33 kickoff return average is a marked improvement from last year.
*Through nine games in 2003, Alabama ranked eighth in the SEC and 71st nationally with a 19.6 yard average.
*One of the main reasons is the success of sophomore Tyrone Prothro (Heflin), who has 10 returns for 326 yards and one TD.
*Prothro would lead the SEC and rank second nationally with his 32.6 average this season, but he does not qualify for the national leaders because he does not have the 1.5 kickoff returns per game required by the NCAA statistical services.
*Prothro was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after his school-record tying 100-yard kickoff return at Kentucky on Oct. 9.
*Prothro, who has the SEC's lone kickoff return for a touchdown this season, had two kick returns for 125 yards in the win over UK.
*Junior Brandon Brooks (Birmingham) has also been a threat this season.
*Brooks has eight kickoff returns for 238 yards, including an 87-yarder against Western Carolina (Sept. 18). He is averaging 29.8 yards per return.
*Brooks would be second in the SEC and seventh nationally this season, but like Prothro does not meet the NCAA minimum of 1.5 kickoff returns per game this season.
*Prothro (326) and Brooks (238) have nearly as many kickoff return yards (564) in nine games this season as the Alabama team had in 13 games (766 yards) last year.
*In 13 games last year, Alabama had 34 kickoff returns for 766 yards (22.5 avg) and one touchdown.
BO FREELEND ON RAY GUY WATCH LIST:
*Senior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw) has been named one of the 10 semifinalists for the the 2004 Ray Guy Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate punter by the The Greater Augusta (Ga.) Sports Council.
*The other semifinalists are Dustin Colquitt (Sr., Tennessee), Gary Cook (Sr., UNLV), Brandon Fields (So., Michigan State), Chris Kluwe (Sr., UCLA), Tom Malone (Jr., Southern California), Matt Payne (Sr., Brigham Young), Adam Podlesh (So., Maryland), Daniel Sepulveda (So., Baylor) and Steve Weatherford (Jr., Illinois).
*In nine games this season, the Eutaw native has punted 44 times (1,836) for a 41.7 yard average.
*Freelend has pinned 11 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. UA opponents have only 13 punt returns (8.2 avg) this season, with 14 fair catches.
*During his UA career, Freelend has punted 117 times (4,812 yards) for a 41.1 yard average with the Tide.
*In 2003, he punted 73 times for a 40.8 average. The 73 punts and 2,976 punting yards ranked third on the school's single-season charts.
*In the 2003 Ole Miss game, he punted five times for 262 yards and tied the Alabama single-game record with a 52.4 yard average for a minimum of five punts.
*The 10 semifinalists were chosen from the initial list of 41 punters, who were evaluated on overall statistics and contribution to his team with emphasis placed on the following categories: net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20, average return yardage and percentage not returned.
*These various components are what made Ray Guy, the awards namesake, a most exceptional punter and these characteristics are indicative of the nation's top collegiate punter.
*A national voting body of Division I-A coaches and sports information directors, media, and former punters will decide the three award finalists and the winner.
*The 2004 Ray Guy Award recipient will be announced on Thursday, December 9, 2004 on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, televised live on ESPN.
*The winner will again be honored at the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala in Augusta, Georgia in early 2005. Also honored at the Gala will be the annual G.A.M.E.S. (Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports) Award winners.
BRIAN BOSTICK NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR LOU GROZA AWARD
*University of Alabama senior place kicker Brian Bostick (Cullman, Ala.) is one of the 20 seminfinalists for the 2004 Lou Groza Award, according to an announcement by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
*The Lou Groza Award, presented by the 2005 FedEx Orange Bowl National Championship committee, is awarded annually to best place kicker in college football.
*Other semifinalists include Jeff Babcock (Colorado State), Travis Bell (Georgia Tech), Mason Crosby (Colorado), Stephen Gostowski (Memphis), Tyler Jones (Boise State), Darren McCaleb (Southern Miss), Justin Medlock (UCLA), Mike Nugent (Ohio State), Matt Nuzie (Connecticut), Brandon Pace (Virginia Tech), Matt Payne (BYU), Todd Pegram (Texas A&M), Dave Rayner (Michigan State), Joe Rheem (Kansas State), Reagan Schnieder (UTEP), Alexis Serna (Oregon State), Colby Smith (Middle Tennessee), Shaun Suisham (Bowling Green) and Andrew Wellock (Eastern Michigan).
*In nine games this season, Bostick is 13-of-16 in field goals, second in the SEC in field goals per game and field goal percentage, and he has hit all 31 of his PAT attempts. He is second among SEC kickers in league in scoring with 7.2 points per game, which ranks him fourth among all players this year.
*Bostick has made 44 of his 47 total kicks (.936) this season and leads the Crimson Tide with 65 points through nine games.
*He connected on 3-of-3 field goals and made all three of his PAT attempts as Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 30-14. The three made field goals matched his career high for the Crimson Tide.
*Perhaps his most significant kick was a 47-yard field goal that gave Alabama a 23-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The 47-yard field goal matched his season high set two weeks earlier against Tennessee. He also made a 34-yard field goal midway through the third quarter which put Alabama ahead 20-14. His first field goal of the game was a 24-yarder early in the second quarter, cutting the Mississippi State lead to 7-3.
*Bostick finished the game with 12 points, missing his career high for points in a game by one point. For his efforts against Miss. State, he was named the SEC Special Teams Player of Week.
*The voters for the Lou Groza Award are comprised of all Division I head coaches, sports writers and sportscasters from across the country, conference officials, various NFL kickers and all previous Lou Groza Award finalists.
*The three finalists for the Lou Groza Award will be announced on Monday November 22nd. Finalists will be honored at the 13th Annual Lou Groza Award Banquet on Tuesday December 7th at the West Palm Beach Marriott in West Palm Beach, FL.
*The award, now in its 13th year, is named for NFL Hall-of-Fame kicker Lou Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954.
* Nicknamed "The Toe," Groza was one of the first people to truly make kicking an art form, and he helped usher in to football the idea that a player could be used exclusively for kicking.
ALABAMA SPECIAL TEAMS NOTEBOOK
The Crimson Tide leads the SEC and NCAA in kickoff returns (31.3 avg) ... Tyrone Prothro would ranks second in the NCAA with his 32.6 kickoff return average but he falls just shy of the NCAA minimum (1.2 returns per game) through nine games ... Prothro was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week against Kentucky (Oct. 9) ... He tied the Alabama record with a 100-yard kickoff return against Kentucky on Oct. 9th ... It was the seventh 100-yard kickoff return in school history and first since 1988 ... He had two kickoff returns at Kentucky (125 yards) for a 62.5 yard average ... Brandon Brooks (Birmingham) is averaging 29.8 yards per kickoff return this season, which would be second in the SEC and fourth nationally if he had the NCAA required minimum (1.2 per game) number of returns ... By contrast, Alabama is ninth in the SEC and 95th in the NCAA with a 6.9-yard punt return average this season ... Senior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw, Ala.) is a semifinalist for the 2004 Ray Guy Award, presented annually to the nation's top punter ... He averaged 47 yards on four kicks in the win over Southern Miss (Oct. 16) ... Against Tennessee, he averaged 42.2 yards on a season-high eight punts in the loss to the Vols ... Freelend has four punts of more than 50 yards in his last three games ... Senior kicker Brian Bostick (Cullman) is a semifinalist for the 2004 Lou Groza Award, presented annually to the nation's top place kicker ... Bostick was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week in the win over Miss. State (Nov. 6) ... Bostick connected on a career-high three FG attempts, including a season-high 47-yarder in the fourth quarter that gave UA a 23-14 lead ... He also made all three PAT attempts and finished the game with 12 points, one shy of his career high ... In nine games this season, Bostick has made 44 of 47 (.936) kicks for the Tide, including all 31 PAT attempts ... He is 13-for-16 (.813) in field goals and ranks second in the SEC in field goals per game (1.44), field goal percentage and scoring (7.2) ... In SEC play, Bostick has made 23 of 25 kicks this year, including all 15 PAT attempts and 8 of 10 FGs ... In non SEC action, he has made 21 of 22 (.955) kicks, including all 16 PATs and 5 of 6 FGS ... Bostick has made eight of his last nine FG attempts, including the last five in a row ... He has at least one 40-yard FG in three consecutive games ... He has also made six straight FGs in SEC play ... Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.) handles the kickoffs for the Tide ... Christensen has 20 touchbacks in 53 kickoffs this season ... He had four touchbacks in six kickoff attempts against Southern Miss (Oct. 16th) ... Freshman Marcel Stamps (Brantley) had a blocked punt return (29 yards) for a touchdown against Western Carolina ... Anthony Madison recorded his first blocked punt of the season at Kentucky ... It was the second of his UA career ...
*Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU 43-19-5 (.679) in a series that dates back to the 1895 season.
*The Fighting Tigers won the inaugural meeting (12-6) played in Baton Rouge on Nov. 18, 1895. The two teams did not meet again until the 1902 season, with LSU prevailing once again. Alabama's first series win came on Nov. 9, 1903 in Baton Rouge as the Crimson Tide scored a 10-0 victory.
*LSU won four of the first six meetings in the series, before Alabama began to take control at the conclusion of World War I. From 1919-45, Alabama posted a 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3) against LSU.
*The Fighting Tigers would gain a slight advantage over the next nine meetings, posting a 5-3-1 record from 1946-58.
*In 1964, the series became one-sided in favor of the Crimson Tide. Alabama would go 16-2 (.889) against LSU from 1964-81, including a series-long 11-game winning streak from 1971-81.
*During Paul Bryant's era as head coach (1958-82), UA posted a 16-4 (.800) mark against LSU, which included a five-game winning streak (1964-68) and a 11-game winning streak (1971-81). LSU's four wins over Bryant's teams came in 1958, 1969, 1970 and 1982.
*Since 1982, the Crimson Tide holds a narrow 12-9-1 (.568) series lead with the Tigers. Included in that stretch was a four-game winning streak by Alabama from 1989-92.
*LSU also ended UA's school record 31-game (30-0-1) unbeaten streak with a 17-13 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1993.
*LSU enters the 2004 season having won five of the last eight meetings in the series, including a convincing 27-3 win last year at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
*The Tigers also snapped a 15-game winless streak to the Crimson Tide in Tiger Stadium with a 30-28 win in Baton Rouge on Nov. 4, 2000.
LSU SERIES IS A LONG ONE
*For now, the Alabama-LSU series ranks as the fourth-longest in Crimson Tide history. The two teams will be meeting for the 68th time on Saturday.
*The Alabama-Auburn game next weekend will also be the 68th meeting in the series, tying the UA-LSU series for the fourth-longest in school history.
MOST GAMES VS. OPPONENT (All-Time)
Opponent Games 1st Meeting
Miss. State 89 1896
Tennessee 87 1901
Vanderbilt 79 1903
LSU 68 1895
Auburn 67 1892
*In addition, the LSU game is tied for the the third-oldest series in the UA record books as the two teams first met in 1895.
ALABAMA'S OLDEST FOOTBALL SERIES
Rank Opponent First Meeting
1. Auburn 1893
2. Ole Miss 1894
3. Georgia 1895
5. Miss. State 1896
6. Tennessee 1901
*The LSU series is the fourth oldest series in the UA record books. The series dates back to 1895.
*LSU and Southern Miss are the only two teams to play Alabama at all four modern era home sites -- Crampton Bowl, Ladd Stadium, Legion Field and Bryant-Denny Stadium.
*Alabama has shutout LSU 15 times, including last year's 31-0 win in Baton Rouge. The Crimson Tide's biggest shutout win was a 42-0 decision in 1925.
*LSU has shutout Alabama three times and not since 1997 here in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers' biggest shutout win came in 1957 (28-0).
*Alabama's longest series winning streak is 11 games from 1971-82.
*LSU has never won more than two straight games against Alabama.
*The first meeting between Alabama and LSU took place on Monday, Nov. 18, 1895 at 9:30 a.m. The game had originally been scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15th.
*Alabama defeated LSU 6-4 in Mobile during the 1907 season on a 75-yard return by Thomas Reidy with less than one minute to play.
*The Crimson Tide's 21-0 win in Baton Rouge during the 1919 season was the first win of a then school record 12-game winning streak for Alabama.
*This was also the first win in the first 10-game winning streak in school history.
*Alabama and LSU played to 27-27 tie in Baton Rouge on Sept. 30, 1944, marking the first Alabama football game since the Jan. 1, 1943 Orange Bowl win over Boston College (37-21). The Crimson Tide did not field a football team in 1943 due to World War II.
*Legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first game as head coach of the Crimson Tide was against LSU. The Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide 13-3 on Sept. 27, 1958 at Mobile's Ladd Stadium.
*Also, the bleachers collapsed as Ladd Stadium that night due to the overflow crowd attracted by Bryant's debut.
*Alabama recorded its 500th all-time win with a 21-7 victory over LSU on Thanksgiving night (Nov. 22) in 1973.
*LSU beat Alabama 19-18 in a classic game in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5, 1988, marking the Tigers' first win on the UA campus since 1902 and first-ever in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
*Alabama's 650th win (32-16) came against LSU on Nov. 11, 1989 in Baton Rouge as UA clinched a share of its first SEC Championship since 1981.
*Alabama's 700th on-the-field win also came in Baton Rouge on Nov. 5, 1994 as the Tide claimed a 35-17 win.
*LSU shutout Alabama 27-0 on Nov. 8, 1997, marking just the sixth time the Crimson Tide had ever been shutout in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
There's no place like home, unless you play in the Alabama-LSU football series.
*A streaky series at best, this matchup between Alabama and LSU has produced some interesting results.
*The Crimson Tide holds a 43-19-5 series lead over the Tigers in a series that has been dominated by the road team.
*The home team has compiled a 9-24-1 (.279) since the 1970 season.
*The road team won every game in the Alabama-LSU series from 1981-89, with the exception of a 14-14 tie in Baton Rouge in 1985.
*Alabama snapped the nine-game unbeaten streak by the road team with a 24-3 win in Tuscaloosa during the 1990 season.
*Since 1991, the road team is 10-3 (.769) in the last 13 games, including a three-game winning streak.
*Since 1969, Alabama is 15-1-1 (.912) in Baton Rouge.
*On the flip side, LSU has won eight of the last 11 games played in the state of Alabama, including four straight wins in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1988.
Recent Games at Tiger Stadium
1971 Alabama 14, LSU 7
1973 Alabama 21, LSU 7
1975 Alabama 23, LSU 10
1977 Alabama 24, LSU 3
1979 Alabama 3, LSU 0
1981 Alabama 24, LSU 7
1983 Alabama 32, LSU 26
1985 Alabama 14, LSU 14
1987 Alabama 22, LSU 10
1989 Alabama 32, LSU 16
1991 Alabama 20, LSU 17
1992 Alabama 31, LSU 11
1994 Alabama 35, LSU 17
1996 Alabama 26, LSU 0
1998 Alabama 22, LSU 16
2000 LSU 30, Alabama 28
2002 Alabama 31, LSU 0
Recent Games in Alabama
1982 *LSU 20, Alabama 10
1984 *LSU 16, Alabama 14
1986 *LSU 14, Alabama 10
1988 LSU 19, Alabama 18
1990 Alabama 24, LSU 3
1993 LSU 17, Alabama 13
1995 Alabama 10, LSU 3
1997 LSU 27, Alabama 0
1999 Alabama 23, LSU 17
2001 LSU 35, Alabama 21
2003 LSU 27, Alabama 3
* - Game played at Legion Field, Birmingham
BAMA-LSU SERIES AT VARIOUS SITES
The Alabama-LSU series has been played at six different sites since the initial meeting in 1895.
*The city of Baton Rouge has hosted the most games in the series (31), with Alabama posting a 23-6-2 (.774) record on the LSU campus.
*Only one other Louisiana city has hosted this series, with Alabama and LSU playing to a 7-7 tie in New Orleans in 1921.
*Four Alabama cities have played host to this rivalry, including Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham.
ALABAMA-LSU SERIES RECORD BY SITES
Site Series Record
Baton Rouge UA leads, 23-6-2
New Orleans Series Tied, 0-0-1
Tuscaloosa UA leads 9-6
Birmingham UA leads 8-5-1
Montgomery UA leads 2-0
Mobile LSU leads 2-1-1
*Alabama and LSU have met every year since 1964.
*Alabama head coach Mike Shula is 0-1 (.000) in his coaching career against LSU.
*Overall, Shula is 0-3-1 (.000) as player and coach against the Tigers.
*As an Alabama player, Shula was 0-2-1 against the Tigers.
Mike Shula as a Player vs. LSU
1984 LSU 16, Alabama 14 (Birmingham)
1985 Alabama 14, LSU 14 (Baton Rouge)
Note: Shula caught late TD pass from Gene Jelks to tie game
1986 LSU 14, Alabama 10 (Birmingham)
*LSU coach Nick Saban is 3-1 (.750) in his head coaching career against Alabama.
*The are no players on the Alabama roster from the state of Louisiana.
*LSU has four players on its football roster from the state of Alabama, including true freshman defensive back Chevis Jackson (St. Paul's HS, Mobile), redshirt freshman quarterback JaMarcus Russell (Williamson HS, Mobile), junior defensive end Melvin Oliver (Opelika) and junior offensive tackle Brandon Washington (Central HS, Tuscaloosa).
*Alabama receivers coach Charlie Harbison served as the defensive backs coach at LSU each of the last two seasons (2001-02).
*LSU offensive coordinator and QB coach Jimbo Fisher served as quarterbacks coach at Auburn under Terry Bowden from 1993-98. The Tigers posted a 3-3 record against the Crimson Tide during that six-year period.
*LSU's Director of Athletic Training, Jack Marucci, earned his master's degree from Alabama in 1988. He spent two years with the Crimson Tide football and baseball teams as a graduate assistant trainer.
SERIES NIGHT GAMES
The 2004 Alabama-LSU game will mark the 23rd night game in series history.
*Alabama holds a 14-6-2 (.682) lead in night games against LSU.
*The 2004 game also marks the third straight night game in the series, marking the first time since 1951-53 the two schools have played three consecutive games under the lights.
*The Crimson Tide has played only five home night games in series history with LSU.
*The Tigers claimed a hard-fought 14-10 win over the Crimson Tide in front of a packed house and national ESPN cable audience.
*Overall, Alabama is 0-4-1 (.000) in home night games against LSU.
Night Games in Alabama
Year Result Site
1951 LSU 13, Alabama 7 Mobile
1953 Alabama 7, LSU 7 Mobile
1958 LSU 13, Alabama 3 Mobile
1986 LSU 14, Alabama 10 Birmingham
2003 LSU 27, Alabama 3 Tuscaloosa
*Night games are synonymous with LSU football in Tiger Stadium.
*In fact, Alabama and LSU have played 17 night games on the LSU campus since the initial game under the lights in 1944.
*Alabama is 14-2-1 (.853) in night games at Tiger Stadium.
NIGHT GAMES IN BATON ROUGE
1944 Alabama 27, LSU 27
1945 Alabama 26, LSU 7
1952 Alabama 21, LSU 20
1954 Alabama 12, LSU 0
1957 LSU 26, Alabama 0
1967 Alabama 7, LSU 6
1969 LSU 20, Alabama 15
1971 Alabama 14, LSU 7
1973 Alabama 21, LSU 7
1975 Alabama 23, LSU 10
1979 Alabama 3, LSU 0
1981 Alabama 24, LSU 7
1987 Alabama 22, LSU 10
1989 Alabama 32, LSU 16
1994 Alabama 35, LSU 17
1996 Alabama 26, LSU 0
2002 Alabama 31, LSU 0
*Alabama has compiled a 121-39-7 (.746) all-time record in its previous 167 night games.
*The LSU game is the 10th night game in the Shula era and the fifth night game this season for Alabama.
*The Crimson Tide also played five night games last year.
*Alabama is 5-4 (.556) in the previous nine night games in the Shula era.
*The Crimson Tide's first-ever night game was a 26-0 win over Spring Hill College at Murphy High School in Mobile on Sept. 27, 1940.
*The first-ever Tuscaloosa night game was a 48-6 win over Duquesne on Oct. 8, 1948.
*Alabama has played a school record four night games at Bryant-Denny Stadium in each of the last two seasons.
*The Crimson Tide's four night games in Bryant-Denny Stadium have come against Utah State, Western Carolina, South Carolina and Miss. State.
*The four night games during the 2003 season were against Oklahoma, Kentucky, Northern Illinois and LSU.
*In addition, Alabama played a school record three consecutive night games in Bryant-Denny Stadium against No. 1 Oklahoma (Sept. 6), Kentucky (Sept. 13) and Northern Illinois (Sept. 20) during the 2003 campaign.
ALABAMA'S ROAD RECORD
Alabama has compiled a 226-118-12 (.652) all-time road record in 356 games.
*The above record does not include neutral site games, bowl games or the Alabama-Auburn game played at Legion Field from 1948-88.
*Alabama is 2-6 (.250) on the road in the Shula era, including a 1-2 mark this season.
*The Crimson Tide was 1-4 (.200) on the road last season.
*Alabama is 9-9 (.500) in its last 18 road games, including a 7-6 (.538) mark in its last 13 SEC road games.
*Historically Alabama has been a strong road team.
*From 1970-75, Alabama won a school record 21 consecutive road games.
*From 1970-82, Alabama was 35-6 (.854) in 41 road games.
*Since 1982, Alabama is 61-31-1 (.662) on the road.
*Alabama has compiled a