Football Heads Out of Conference to Face Western Carolina
Nov. 12, 2012
THE GAME: Alabama continues a three-game home stand to close out the regular-season portion of the 2012 season on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium against non-conference foe Western Carolina. It will be the third meeting between the Crimson Tide and Catamounts and the first since head coach Nick Saban’s first game at Alabama. Overall, Alabama leads the series 1-0. The two teams played in Tuscaloosa in 2004 and 2007 with the Crimson Tide posting a 52-0 win in the first meeting and a 52-6 win three years later, which was later vacated. The game will be televised by the SEC Network with kickoff set for 11:21 a.m. (CST). Mike Morgan will serve as the play-by-play announcer, with Chris Doering at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Jill Montgomery. 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 sixth season with the Crimson Tide. Named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007, Saban has compiled a 59-13 record (64-13 before five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and two national championships. Saban holds a career record of 150-55-1 (155-55-1) 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 13 of his 16 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban’s direction. Saban is one of two active coaches (Urban Meyer) to win three BCS national championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.
RANKINGS: Alabama fell to No. 4 in The Associated Press and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls entering the 11th week of the 2012 season. The Tide had been No. 1 in both of the polls for 10 weeks, the longest stretch in school history, prior to the Texas A&M game.
WESTERN CAROLINA: Western Carolina is 1-9 overall and 0-8 in the Southern Conference. The Catamounts opened the season with a 42-14 in over Mars Hill before losing nine straight games, including a 25-21 loss to Samford at home. It will be the third trip to Bryant-Denny for WCU, which fell to Alabama 52-0 in 2004 and 52-6 in 2007.
NEXT GAME: Alabama plays its final home game of the season against intrastate-rival Auburn on Saturday, November 24, in the 77th renewal of the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide have won three of the last four meetings, including a 42-14 win on The Plains a season ago en route to Alabama’s 14th national championship. The Tide is 3-2 against Auburn during Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa.
TIDE NO. 4 IN BCS STANDINGS: Alabama dropped to No. 4 in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings following Saturday’s loss. The BCS percentage is calculated by averaging the percent totals of the Harris Interactive, USA Today Coaches’ and six computer rankings. The Crimson Tide garnered a .8534 average, which is .1140 lower than Kansas State, who is the new No. 1 (.9674). Oregon is second at .9467 and Notre Dame is third with an average of .9396. Rounding out the top 10 is Georgia (.8328), Florida (.7955), LSU (.7331), Texas A&M (.6621), South Carolina (.6349) and Florida State (.6071).
Jones Earns NFF National Scholar-Athlete Honors: Senior center Barrett Jones has been selected as one of 15 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes, which was announced by the NFF and College Hall of Fame on October 24. The honorees comprise the list for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, recognizing the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Jones is the sixth Alabama football player to be named a NFF National Scholar-Athlete. He joins Johnny Musso (1971), Randy Hall (1974), Steadman Shealy (1979), DeMeco Ryans (2005) and Greg McElroy (2010).
Barrett Jones Named Academic All-Districk fourth time: Senior center Barrett Jones was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District IV team for the fourth time in his career. Jones, from Germantown, Tenn., is a three-time Capital One Academic All-American and a two-time first-team selection.
McCarron Finalist for Unitas; SEMifinalist for Davey O’Brien: Junior quarterback AJ McCarron was selected as one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. The Davey O’Brien will be announced on December 6 at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN, while the Golden Arm Award is presented on Dec. 7, at The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, Md. McCarron ranks seventh nationally and second in the SEC in passing efficiency while completing 66.0 percent of his passes for 2,158 yards and 20 touchdowns with two interceptions in 238 attempts this season.
McCarron Named Semifinalist for Maxwell Award: Junior quarterback AJ McCarron was selected as one of the 16 finalists for the 76th Maxwell Award for the collegiate player of the year, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Oct. 29. The winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN on Dec. 6.
Milliner & Mosley Semifinalists for Bednarik Award: Junior defensive back Dee Milliner and junior linebacker C.J. Mosley were both named semifinalists for the 18th Chuck Bednarik Award, presented by Cracker Barrel for the most outstanding defensive player of the year, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Oct. 29. Milliner has 44 total tackles on the season, including 4.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks. He has hauled in two interceptions, broken up 14 passes, forced a fumble and blocked a kick. Mosley leads the Crimson Tide in total tackles with 83 this season. He has recorded four sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, forced fumble and fumble recovery. The winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN on Dec. 6.
SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: With T.J. Yeldon’s two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against Texas A&M on November 10, Alabama raised its current total of consecutive games in which it scored to 152 – the longest streak in program history.
RED ZONE EFFICIENCY: Alabama enters the Western Carolina game 39-for-42 in its red zone trips, tied for fifth in the nation in that category at 93 percent. The Crimson Tide has scored 30 touchdowns in the red zone in 2012 and kicked nine field goals. On the year, UA has scored 20 rushing touchdowns and passed for 10 inside the 20-yard line.
TOUGH TO SCORE ON: Under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama has traditionally been one of the most difficult teams to score touchdowns against. In 2012, the Tide has allowed its opponents to come away with points on only 64 percent of opportunities in the red zone (14 of 22). Alabama is tied for the seventh-most efficient red zone defense in the nation. The Tide’s defense has surrendered 11 touchdowns and three field goals this season from inside the red zone while allowing opposing offenses to enter the red zone only 22 times in 10 games. Overall, UA has surrendered 13 touchdowns and five field goals on defense this season. UA only allowed nine touchdowns by opposing offenses all of last season and just six touchdowns and two field goals inside the red zone. UA also led the nation in red zone defense last season, allowing scores just 59 percent of the time (10-of-17). Alabama ranked tied for fourth in 2010 and tied for second in 2009 with both teams allowing a score on 67 percent of opponents’ red zone opportunities.
INTERCEPTION MARGIN: Over the last four seasons, Alabama’s starting quarterbacks have thrown 16 interceptions in 1,205 pass attempts (one interception every 75.3 pass attempts), while the defense has recorded 73 interceptions in 50 games. The Tide’s current starting quarterback, AJ McCarron, has thrown seven interceptions in 614 career attempts; on pace to set school and SEC records for quarterbacks with at least 600 pass attempts (Tim Tebow 1 every 62.2 attempts). McCarron is averaging one interception every 87.7 attempts in his career. In 2012, McCarron has thrown a pick every 116 attempts, which is on pace to be better than any SEC quarterback (Peyton Manning; 1 every 95 attempts in 1995) has done in any season (minimum 200 attempts).
YARDS HARD TO COME BY: Since the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State, the Alabama defense has not surrendered yards easily. Over that 24-game span, the Tide defense has allowed just three opposing teams to reach 300 total yards (341 by Georgia Southern in 2011, 435 by LSU and 418 by Texas A&M in 2012). Teams have been held under 200 total yards 12 times, and less than 100 total yards twice. Rushing against the Tide has been even more difficult over that span as teams have been held to under 100 yards 19 times, under 50 yards 11 times and in negative yardage twice.
SHELLEY LONE PERFECT KICKER IN 2012: Senior Jeremy Shelley is the only kicker in the nation yet to miss an extra point or a field goal in 2012. Thus far, Shelley has hit all 46 of his extra point attempts and all 10 of his field goals. Five of his field goals have come from the 20-29 yard range, while the other five have come from 30-39 yards. His long on the year is 38. The Tide did have one unsuccessful PAT conversion, but that play was credited as a team miss after a mishandled snap.
TURNOVERS = POINTS: Alabama has converted the 23 turnovers it has forced in 10 games this season into 125 points. At the same time, the Crimson Tide has surrendered 11 turnovers that have resulted in 24 points for a 125-24 advantage. Alabama forced three turnovers against Michigan and turned those into 14 points. Against Western Kentucky, Alabama produced 21 points off four Hilltoppers miscues. Alabama capitalized on five Arkansas turnovers for 35 points, followed by another 14 off three interceptions against Mississippi. At Missouri, the Tide scored 14 points off a pair of interceptions and then tallied 13 points on two turnovers at Tennessee, while the Vols got three points off of one Alabama turnover. The Tide collected 14 points off two turnovers against Mississippi State. UA did not force a turnover at LSU or vs. Texas A&M, and allowed a touchdown to the Tigers following a fumble and to the Aggies following a fumble and an interception. Alabama has a 132-24 edge in points off turnovers when including the 2012 BCS National Championship Game against LSU.
TURNOVER MARGIN: Alabama enters the 12th week of the season tied for eighth nationally in turnover margin at plus-1.20. The Crimson Tide has forced 23 turnovers (14 interceptions and nine fumbles) while only giving up 12 possessions. Over the last 12 games, dating back to the 2011 Auburn game and the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, Alabama holds a 27-12 edge in turnover margin. UA forced a total of 10 fumbles in 2011, recovering seven. In 2012 the Tide has forced 19 and recovered nine in 10 games.
THREE-AND-OUTS: The Alabama defense has been one of the leaders again this season in forcing three-and-outs. The Crimson Tide has forced a three-and-out on 43.3 percent (52-of-120) of opponents drives this season, averaging 5.2 per contest. Alabama had a season-high of nine three-and-outs against Florida Atlantic, had seven against Arkansas to open SEC play, six at Missouri and Tennessee and five against Mississippi State. (Any drive that was stopped in three plays or less or was four plays and a turnover on downs was used to compile this information).
BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 21-7 against The Associated Press top 25 over the past five seasons and 12-4 against AP top 10 teams. The Crimson Tide is 3-1 against the AP top 25 in 2012, with victories over No. 8 Michigan, No. 13 Mississippi State and No. 6 LSU and a loss to No. 15 Texas A&M. Alabama went 4-1 vs. top 25 teams in 2011 and 5-3 against the AP top 25 in 2010. Seven of the last nine matchups have gone in favor of the Tide, with one loss coming in a 9-6 overtime defeat to LSU on November 5, 2011, and a 29-24 loss to Texas A&M in 2012.
ALABAMA TIED FOR MOST WINS SINCE 2008: Alabama has won 57 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season, tied for the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Crimson Tide won 12 games in 2008, followed that with a perfect 14-0 record in 2009, a 10-3 mark in 2010 and a 12-1 record in 2011. Alabama is 9-1 this season. During that span, the Tide also has the most victories of any team that plays in a BCS conference.
10-WIN SEASONS: Alabama reached the 10-win milestone for its fourth consecutive season in 2011, finishing the campaign with a 12-1 record. The Tide has 31 10-win seasons in 117 seasons, two back of Oklahoma (33) for the most 10-win seasons in college football. Alabama has had six 10-win seasons since the 2002 season (2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Tide head coach Nick Saban is the 11th coach in school history to lead his team to a 10-win season. In addition, Saban is the fifth coach in school history to have more than one 10-win season.
ALABAMA UNDER SABAN IN NOVEMBER: In his sixth season at Alabama, head coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to a 14-8 record in November, with four of those losses coming in 2007. In games played in November, Alabama has outscored its opponents 629-329.
WILLIAMS ONE OF FOUR NON-PUNTERS FROM DOWN UNDER: Senior defensive lineman Jesse Williams is one of just four Australians playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision in a position other than punter. There are currently 13 punters on FBS rosters from Australia.
MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICANS: ESPN.com and SI.com recently announced their midseason All-America teams. Offensive linemen Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack and cornerback Dee Milliner were named to both squads while linebacker C.J. Mosley was named to the SI.com defensive first team. D.J. Fluker garnered second team SI.com offensive honors.
JONES NAMED SENIOR CLASS FINALIST: Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones (Germantown, Tenn.) is one of 10 NCAA® Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes selected as finalists for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
DEFENSIVE RANKINGS: The Crimson Tide defense was No. 1 in all five major defensive categories a season ago and has been near the top of the rankings throughout the 2012 season. Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense (11.1 ppg), while ranking second in total defense (247.8 ypg). Alabama is third rush defense (76.2 ypg) and ninth in both pass efficiency defense (102.76) and pass defense (171.6 ypg). The Tide also ranks tied for seventh in red zone defense (allowing scores on 14-of-12 trips inside the Tide’s 20-yard line) and second in fewest first downs allowed per game (14.3). The Crimson Tide also ranks eighth in turnover margin (+1.20).
MILLINER THIRD NATIONALLY IN CAREER PASSES DEFENDED: Junior Dee Milliner ranks third nationally with 30 pass breakups during his three years at the Capstone. His 30 career passed defend are third in the Tide career record book while is 14 this season ranks tied for fifth.
LESTER GETS 13TH CAREER INTERCEPTION: In Alabama’s win over Mississippi State, senior safety Robert Lester picked off his 13th career pass, which ranks eighth in Alabama history. The Mississippi State game marked the second consecutive game in which Lester had intercepted a pass.
MILLINER EXPERIENCE BOLSTERS TIDE DEFENSE: Junior cornerback Dee Milliner may not be listed as a returning starter, but it is hard to ignore his experience. Milliner, who is turning in an All-America-caliber season, boasts 25-career starts in his three years of action at the Capstone. He started 11 games as a freshman in 2010 and then served as the Crimson Tide’s third cornerback in 2011. He made six starts last season and was on the field more than several starters due to the high percentage of nickel and dime defense UA played in 2011. He has started nine games in 2012 and played in 35 career games. Milliner has six interceptions to go along with 30 pass breakups and 126 career tackles. He is tied for second in the nation in passes defended at 1.78 per game (14 PBU, 2 INT).
MOSLEY TIES SCHOOL MARK FOR INTERCEPTIONS FOR A TD: Junior C.J. Mosley intercepted a pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown against Michigan in the season opener, his third interception return for a score in his Alabama career, tying Antonio Langham’s (1990-93) school record. Mosley had two touchdown returns in 2010 (vs. Florida and Georgia State). He has five career interceptions with picks against LSU in the 2011 BCS Allstate National Championship Game and one at Tennessee in 2012.
10 POINTS OR LESS: Under head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide has held opponents to 10 points or less 38 times since the start of the 2007 season with the most recent occurrence coming on October 27, against Mississippi State, which was the fifth this year. Alabama was successful in holding opponents under 10 points in nine games in 2011. In 2010, the Tide held opponents to 10 points or less eight times and limited opponents to that mark seven times in 2008 and 2009. In 2007, Alabama posted two games in which it held opponents to that mark. Alabama has shutout opponents eight times during the Saban tenure.
HOLDING OPPONENTS UNDER 300: In head coach Nick Saban’s 76-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense 50 times, or 64.9 percent of the time.
HOLDING OPPONENTS UNDER 200: During head coach Nick Saban’s last 64 games at the Capstone, the Crimson Tide defense has held the opposing offense to less than 200 yards of total offense 24 times, including three times in 2012. Alabama accomplished the feat eight times in 2011. The Tide held Kent State to 90 yards and LSU to just 92 yards BCS Championship Game, which marked the second and third times 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 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.
TOUGH SLEDDING ON THE GROUND: Alabama leads the nation in giving up the fewest rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2005 season, surrendering only 57. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, the Crimson Tide has allowed 39 rushing touchdowns, while Ohio State is second, allowing 51. Alabama has surrendered seven rushing touchdowns in 2012.
RUSHING DEFENSE: Limiting opposing running backs to less than 100 yards is nothing new for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has surrendered only 11 individual 100-yard rushing games dating back to the 2005 season, a mark that leads the nation. Since head coach Nick Saban’s arrival, the Tide has allowed just six players to rush for more than 100 yards in a game: LSU’s Jeremy Hill (107 yards), Georgia Southern’s Dominique Swope (153 yards), 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).
PICKING UP SACKS: Alabama has been getting to the quarterback regularly as of late, bringing down the signal caller three or more times in nine of its last 12 games. Over that span, the Crimson Tide has tallied 34 sacks and recorded at least one sack in 11 of those 12 games. In the last two games, Alabama has totaled seven sacks in the last two games (at LSU and vs. Texas A&M).
EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: Explosive plays are a staple of one of the nation’s most balanced and proficient offenses. The Crimson Tide coaching staff defines explosive plays as passes over 15 yards and runs over 12 yards. Alabama has 56 pass plays in nine games this season of 15 yards or longer, including 31 of over 20 yards by quarterback AJ McCarron. Freshman Amari Cooper leads the receivers with 22 explosive receptions. On the ground, the Tide has 45 rushes of 12 yards or more, with T.J. Yeldon boasting a team-high 19 while Eddie Lacy is just behind with 13.
McCARRON EQUALS SINGLE-SEASON TD MARK: AJ McCarron’s 20 touchdown passes matches the Alabama single-season passing touchdowns record of 20 set by Greg McElroy in 2010. McElroy’s mark was set in 13 games that season; McCarron has equaled it in 10 games.
McCARRON MOVING UP ON CAREER TD PASSES LIST: With a touchdown pass against Texas A&M on Nov. 10, AJ McCarron now has 39 career touchdown passes. That total ranks tied for third in Alabama history with behind Greg McElroy (39 - 2007-10). McCarron trails John Parker Wilson (47 - 2005-08) and Brodie Croyle (41 - 2002-05).
McCARRON PASSING TOUCHDOWNS: Over the last 12 games, junior quarterback AJ McCarron has been finding the end zone at a frequent rate, totaling 26 scoring tosses over that span. In eight of the last 13 games, McCarron has also thrown two or more touchdowns. The signal caller has thrown two or more in six of the 10 games this season, setting a new career high in multi-passing touchdown games. He has equaled his career high of four touchdowns twice during the span, against Western Kentucky and at Tennessee.
TWO-MINUTE DRILL: On November 3, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron displayed another weapon in his arsenal in a 21-17 comeback win over No. 5 LSU – the two-minute drill. He led the Crimson Tide on a pair of two-minute drives, one at the end of each half. He went a combined 7-for-8 passing for 109 yards and two touchdowns – one rushing and one passing. The drive at the end of the first half began at the 1:08 mark and went 54 yards on eight plays with McCarron running it in from nine yards out. The game-winning drive was even more impressive, covering 72 yards (5 plays) in just 49 seconds. McCarron found T.J. Yeldon on a screen pass that covered the final 28 yards and gave Alabama the win.
EFFICIENT IN PASSING GAME: AJ McCarron ranks third nationally in passing efficiency with a 168.18 mark. He has tossed 20 touchdowns with just two interceptions this season (238 pass attempts). He is completing 66.0 percent of his passes for 2,158 yards.
Amari Cooper HAVING STELLAR FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN: Freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper is turning in a fantastic freshman season with a team-best 38 receptions for 608 yards and six touchdowns. The six receiving touchdowns is tied the fourth-most in a single season in school history. The Alabama freshman record for receptions and yards is held by Julio Jones in 2008, catching 58 passes for 924 yards.
RUSHING TO SUCCESS: Alabama rushed for 166 yards at LSU on November 3. Alabama is 46-0 since the start of the 2008 season when the Tide rushes for at least 150 yards. The Crimson Tide averages 84.57 yards per game (592 yards) in its seven losses since 2008 with the highest rushing total during those losses coming against Florida in the 2008 SEC Championship Game with 136 yards.
LACY BREAKS AWAY: Junior running back Eddie Lacy eclipsed the 100-yard mark on just his sixth carry of the game at Missouri on Oct. 13. The 100-yard performance was the second of the season for the Geismar, La., native and the fourth of his career. A significant chuck of his yards came on a career-high 73-yard score, the longest run for the Crimson Tide since Trent Richardson found the end zone from 78 yards out against Mississippi on Oct. 15, 2011. Lacy finished with a career-high 177 yards and tied a career high with three rushing touchdowns. He has 771 yards rushing on 136 attempts in 2012 for a 5.7 yards per carry average.
A BALANCED ATTACK: Alabama has had one of the most balanced offenses in the nation over the past four years. That trend is continuing again in 2012 as the Crimson Tide has collected 2,003 yards rushing in addition to 2,250 yards passing, a difference of just 247 yards. Since the 2009 season, Alabama has passed for 11,073 while rushing for 10,180, a difference of just 893 yards.
YELDON FIRST TRUE FRESHMAN TO GO OVER 100 IN DEBUT: Running back T.J. Yeldon became the first Alabama true freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in his debut in the win over Michigan, finishing the game with 111 yards on 11 carries and one rushing touchdown. Yeldon is second on the team with 754 yards rushing on 114 carries with eight touchdowns and a 6.6 yards per carry average. He is the seventh Alabama running back to crack the century mark since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007. Mark Ingram was the last true freshman to gain at least 95 yards in his debut, running for 96 yards against Clemson in the 2008 opener at the Georgia Dome. Yeldon gained 144 yards at Missouri for his second 100-yard rushing effort and followed that with 129 yards at Tennessee for his third.
BALL PROTECTION: The Alabama offense has protected the football better than any team in the country over the last five years. In 64 games, the Crimson Tide has turned the ball over just 68 times (39 fumbles, 29 interceptions) for an average of 1.06 turnovers per game, better than Ohio State’s second best average of 1.24 per game (77 turnovers, 62 games). Since 2009, that mark is even better as the Tide has turned the ball over just 49 times in 50 games (0.98 per game). Individually since 2009, UA starting quarterbacks have thrown an impressively-low 16 interceptions in 1,205 attempts (1 INT for every 75.3 attempts). The top two running backs in the rotation dating back to the 2009 season have only lost a fumble seven times. Over the 64-game span, the Tide’s top two running backs have recorded 1,319 touches, losing the ball just once in every 187.7 carries.
Barrett Jones: VERSATILITY ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE: Senior All-American Barrett Jones started at right guard in 2009 and 2010, but added a few responsibilities to his résumé in the 2011 season. He started at left tackle and also saw snaps at left guard, right tackle and center last year. The winner of the Outland Trophy, Jones has started 46 games at the Capstone, including 25 at right guard, 11 at left tackle and 10 this season at center. Jones is listed among the top centers in the nation and a candidate for the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award. In addition to being named the 2011 Outland Trophy winner, Jones also received the ARA Sportsmanship Award and the Wuerffel Trophy for his commitment to the community and academics.
O-LINE EXPERIENCE A KEY: The Alabama offensive line has been one of the most recognized and skilled groups in the country. Preseason magazines, including Athlon Sports and Phil Steele, rank Alabama’s offensive line as the No. 1 unit in the country. Nine games into the 2012 season, the line represents 150 starts, with senior center Barrett Jones claiming 46 of those starts. Chance Warmack has made 36 starts at left guard, while D.J. Fluker has 32 starts at right guard. Junior Anthony Steen has 21 at right guard while the newest addition, Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle, now has 10 starts to his credit.
KICKOFF RETURN FOR A TOUCHDOWN: Christion Jones answered a Mississippi touchdown on Sept. 29, with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first by a Crimson Tide player since Trent Richardson found the end zone from 91 yards at Duke on Sept. 18, 2010. The 99-yard return for a score tied for the eighth longest in school history.
FOSTER DIALS IN FROM DEEP: With his career-long 52-yard field goal against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 22, Cade Foster became the first Alabama kicker since Neal Thomas in 2000 to connect on three 50-plus yard field goals in the same season. His 52-yard strike was the longest by a Tide kicker since Leigh Tiffin hit from 52 yards against Utah in the Sugar Bowl on January 2, 2009.
KICKOFF PROWESS: Alabama kicker Cade Foster recorded five touchbacks in the first half against Arkansas and six against Florida Atlantic on September 22. On Sept. 29, against Mississippi, Foster collected a career-high seven touchbacks while recording three at Missouri and four at Tennessee. Ten games into the 2012 season the Crimson Tide has already exceeded the entire amount tallied from last season, totaling 34 thus far. Kickoffs have been moved up to the 35 yard line this season.
49 NATIONAL TV APPEARANCES IN 65 GAMES: Alabama’s appearance on CBS last weekend was the 49th nationally-televised game since the start of the 2008 season for the Crimson Tide. The Tide has played eight nationally televised games in 2012, with one game on ABC, four on CBS and three on ESPN. In 2011, Alabama played on CBS four times, while having one game on ABC, two games on ESPN and ESPN2 with one game on ESPNU. 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 broadcasted two more Crimson Tide games. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games broadcasted nationally, including five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX.
ALABAMA’S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 199-127-4 (.609) all-time record in 330 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.
TIDE 58-3 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: The Crimson Tide is 58-3 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 3-6 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 3-3 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 three wins when tied at halftime came at LSU on Nov. 8, 2008, (a 27-21 victory), at Auburn with a 26-21 win on Nov. 27, 2009 and against Tennessee on Oct. 22, 2011 (a 37-6 victory).
TRUE FRESHMEN IN ACTION: Alabama has had 11 true freshmen debut so far this season, including defensive back Landon Collins, wide receiver Amari Cooper, linebacker Denzel Devall, running back Kenyan Drake, linebacker Tyler Hayes, wide receiver Cyrus Jones, defensive lineman Darren Lake, linebacker Dillon Lee, linebacker Reggie Ragland, defensive back Geno Smith and running back T.J. Yeldon. Alabama has also had 11 redshirt freshmen – tight end Brent Calloway, quarterback Phillip Ely, tight end Malcolm Faciane, running back Dee Hart, center Ryan Kelly, defensive lineman LaMichael Fanning, defensive end D.J. Pettway, wide receivers Marvin Shinn, defensive back Bradley Sylve, defensive back Jabriel Washington and receiver Danny Woodson Jr. Junior college transfer Deion Belue also started and played his first seven games with the Crimson Tide.
CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE: Alabama returned 43 lettermen from the 2011 National Championship team, but the Crimson Tide also boasts 21 players that played on both 2009 and 2011 championship teams. Looking a little deeper you find the Tide had eight players that saw action for both 2009 and 2011 teams. There were also three players that started at least two games in both 2009 and 2011, including Barrett Jones, Michael Williams and Nico Johnson. Below is a list of the 21 current players that were on both of Coach Saban’s national championship teams at Alabama.
CONSENSUS ALL-AMERICANS: Since head coach Nick Saban became the Alabama head coach in 2007, he has had a knack for developing young recruits into All-Americans. Now in his sixth season at UA, Saban has produced the most consensus All-Americans in the nation with 11. Saban’s consensus All-Americans include Antoine Caldwell (center, 2008), Andre Smith (offensive line, 2008), Terrence Cody (defensive line, 2008 and 2009), Rolando McClain (linebacker, 2009), Mark Ingram (running back, 2009), Mike Johnson (offensive line, 2009), Javier Arenas (cornerback, 2009), Mark Barron (safety, 2011), Dont’a Hightower (linebacker, 2011), Barrett Jones (offensive line, 2011) and Trent Richardson (running back, 2011). Second in the same time period is Oklahoma with nine, while Florida has registered seven in that five-year period.
ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama’s success on the field over the past five seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has also coincided with the Crimson Tide’s success in the classroom. The 2012 squad features six players that already have degrees in hand, including Barrett Jones (August, 2011), Robert Lester (December, 2011), William Ming (May, 2012), Damion Square (May, 2012), Carson Tinker (August, 2012) and Michael Williams (May, 2012). Over the past five seasons (2008-12) Alabama has seen 58 players compete for the Crimson Tide after having already graduated.
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 Alabama, the Sabans have helped raise more than $2.5 million for “Nick’s Kids” that has been distributed to more than 150 charities and organizations throughout the state of Alabama.
GAMEDAY COACHING DUTIES FOR CRIMSON TIDE IN 2012: The Crimson Tide’s assistants will be split between the coaches’ booth and the sideline in 2012. Nussmeier, Burton Burns, Jeremy Pruitt and Thompson will be in the booth, while Kirby Smart, Chris Rumph, Jeff Stoutland, Bobby Williams and Mike Groh are on the sideline.
SCHOLARSHIP SENIORS: Alabama is tied for fourth in the nation with the fewest number of scholarship seniors as the Crimson Tide features nine heading into the 2012 campaign. The Crimson Tide was one of four teams in the No. 1 spot until long snapper Carson Tinker was awarded a scholarship by head coach Nick Saban on August 20.
FRESHMAN ACADEMICS: Over the past three years, Alabama has had a total of 29 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll recipients, which is a league best. The Crimson Tide was No. 1 in honorees for the 2009-10 season (12) and the 2010-11 season (11). Alabama placed six rookies on the 2011-12 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll including HaHa Clinton-Dix (Criminal Justice), Phillip Ely (Pre-Business), Ryan Kelly (Pre-Business), Cyrus Kouandjio (Pre-Business), Wilson Love (Pre-Business) and Vinnie Sunseri (Pre-Business).
NFL DRAFT: The Crimson Tide saw eight former UA players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, including first-round picks Trent Richardson (third overall to the Cleveland Browns), Mark Barron (seventh overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Dre Kirkpatrick (17th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals) and Dont’a Hightower (25th overall to the New England Patriots). Courtney Upshaw was next to go in the second round, and 35th overall pick, to the Baltimore Ravens. The Tide had two drafted in the fifth round with Josh Chapman going to the Indianapolis Colts as the 136th overall pick and DeQuan Menzie to the Kansas City Chiefs as the 146th overall pick. Rounding out the 2012 NFL draft for Alabama was Brad Smelley, who went in the seventh round as the 247th overall pick to the Cleveland Browns. Over the past two seasons, the Tide has had a combined eight first round draft picks, ranking Alabama fourth in most players selected over a two-year span. In the common draft era The Tide also came in a No. 4 on the most defensive players selected in the first round over a three-year span with six.