Rashad Johnson Named National Defensive Player of the Week

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Nov. 9, 2008

Vote for Alabama in the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama senior safety Rashad Johnson has been named the Walter Camp Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week, after a school-record tying three interceptions as the top-ranked Crimson Tide beat LSU 27-21 in overtime on Saturday in Baton Rouge.

Johnson finished the game with four tackles, three interceptions and one tackle for loss as the Crimson Tide wrapped up the 2008 SEC Western Division Championship with its first win over LSU since 2002.  He had 64 yards in interception returns, including a 54-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14-14 in the second quarter. 

He tied an Alabama single-game record for interceptions with three vs. LSU.  That equaled the mark set by Bobby Wilson vs. Georgia in 1951, Dicky Thompson vs. Mississippi in 1966, Jeremiah Castille vs. Tennessee in 1982 and Kevin Jackson vs. Georgia in 1995.

All three interceptions directly led to points. His first interception, on LSU's third offensive play at the Tigers' 15-yard line, led to a 1-yard sneak by quarterback John Parker Wilson. Johnson also intercepted a third-down pass in the end zone in overtime to set up the Tide's game-winning drive. 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban called the overtime interception "the biggest play of the game."

"The turnover at the end of the game was huge," Saban said following the game on Saturday.  "Always turnovers in overtime are huge.  It was a great play.  He made a great break on the ball.  We had pretty good coverage there. He's got great hands and great range and certainly anticipates well when the quarterback's going to throw to him."

For the season, Johnson is the Tide's second-leading tackler with 62 stops, including a team-best 41 solo tackles.  He also has added 10 pass break-ups, five interceptions (125 yards, 2 TDs), five tackles for loss (-15 yards), one sack (-7 yards) and one fumble recovery in 10 starts.

Pontiac Game-Changing Performance: Johnson's overtime interception is one of four nominees for this week's Pontiac Game-Changing Performance, announced on ESPN's College Football Final late Saturday night.  Alabama fans can log on to ESPN.com and search for "Pontiac" to vote for Johnson's play.  The winner will be announced on ESPN on Thursday, Nov. 13 and the winning school will win $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.  At the end of the season fans will decide who will win the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year and $100,000.