Nov. 16, 2009
Game 11: ALABAMA (10-, 7-0 SEC) vs. CHATTANOOGA (6-4, 4-4 Southern)
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 * 11:21 a.m. (CT) * SEC Network
Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,012) * Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama Football Game Notes (vs. Chattanooga)
THE GAME: The No. 2/3 University of Alabama football team returns home for its final non-conference game and final home game of the 2009 season on Saturday, November 21, against the Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs. It will be the 11th meeting between the two schools, the first since 1994 and the first in Tuscaloosa in 50 years. The game is scheduled for an 11:21 a.m. kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium and will be televised by the SEC Network. Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. Alabama will also honor 26 seniors on Saturday prior to the start of the Tide’s game against Chattanooga.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 120-50-1 (.705) record as a collegiate head coach with a 29-8 (.784) mark at Alabama that includes an 10-0 record this year with a 7-0 mark in the SEC. Saban has now won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Alabama already bowl eligible this season. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.
RANKINGS: The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, No. 2 in the BCS standings, No. 3 in the Harris Poll and No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll this week following a 31-3 win at Mississippi State. Alabama has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the coaches’ poll this season. UA garnered 14 first-place votes in the AP poll and seven in the coaches’ poll this week. Alabama was ranked fifth in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ preseason polls. It was the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when Alabama opened at No. 3.
SENIOR DAY: Alabama will honor 26 seniors prior to the start of Saturday’s game with Tennessee-Chattanooga. Below is complete list of players being honored, including scholarship players, walk-ons and medical hardships. The complete list includes Eryk Anders, Javier Arenas, Alex Benson, Evan Cardwell, Terrence Cody, Drew Davis, Brandon Deaderick, P.J. Fitzgerald, Hampton Gray, Baron Huber, Marquis Johnson, Mike Johnson, Tyrone King, Mike McCoy, Colin Peek, Cory Reamer, Chris Rogers, Brian Selman, Ali Sharrief, Leigh Tiffin, Heath Thomas, Jacob Vane, Roy Upchurch, Byron Walton, Lorenzo Washington and Justin Woodall.
ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama’s success on the field over the past two-and-a-half seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has coincided with success in the classroom. An impressive total of 13 Crimson Tide players are playing this season with degrees already in hand, including Eryk Anders (Health Studies), Drew Davis (marketing), P.J. Fitzgerald (management), Mike Johnson (consumer affairs), Tyrone King (Health Studies), Greg McElroy (business marketing), Cory Reamer (finance), Chris Rogers (consumer affairs), Brian Selman (business marketing), Ali Sharrief (human environmental science), Travis Sikes (consumer affairs), Heath Thomas and Lorenzo Washington (human environmental science). McElroy finished his undergraduate degree in just three years with a 3.86 grade point average while graduating magna cum laude. Additionally, another 10 players are on track to graduate in December of 2009. In 2008, Alabama had six players with degrees already in hand.
TIDE LEADS NATION IN GRADUATES: Alabama’s 13 graduates on the 2009 roster are the most of any school in the Bowl Championship Subdivision. The Crimson Tide is five graduates ahead of any other SEC school with Auburn checking in fifth with eight graduates. Boston College and Virginia Tech (the Tide’s season-opening opponent) are tied for second with 10 graduates while Penn State is fourth with nine.
SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa has seen his Crimson Tide vault up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time has quickly 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 (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision football to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. Saban achieved another first in 2009 with back-to-back 10-win seasons. He also ranks fourth in winning percentage (70.3 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of Division I-A football.
10-WIN SEASONS: The win over Mississippi State improves Alabama’s 2009 season record to 10-0 and gives the Crimson Tide its 30th 10-win season in 115 seasons of football. Alabama’s 30 10-win seasons ranks second in college football behind Oklahoma, which has reached the 10-win plateau 31 times. It is the fourth time this decade in which Alabama has had 10 wins in a season (2002, 2005, 2008 and 2009). Alabama 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. Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 12-2 record last season.
FIRST CONSECUTIVE 10-0 STARTS SINCE 1973-74: The victory over Mississippi State moves Alabama to 10-0 for the season. Along with a 12-0 start in 2008, this marks the first time since the 1973 and 1974 seasons that Alabama has constructed 10-0 starts in consecutive seasons. Alabama, which finished 12-2 in 2008, finished 11-1 in both 1973 and 1974 as the Crimson Tide won 11 straight games prior to losing bowl games in those seasons – the Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame (24-23 in 1973) and the Orange Bowl vs. Notre Dame (13-11 in 1974).
ALABAMA 26-1 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: Before trailing LSU at halftime, 7-3, on Nov. 7, Alabama had led at the half of seven consecutive games. The Crimson Tide is 26-1 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban, including a 20-game winning streak. The only loss came against LSU in 2007 when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 2-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 1-2 when tied at halftime. The two wins when trailing at the half came in a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 in Atlanta and a 24-15 victory over No. 9 LSU on Nov. 7. Alabama’s lone win when tied at halftime came last year at LSU, a 27-21 victory over Nov. 8, 2008.
ALABAMA-CHATTANOOGA SERIES: Alabama has won all 10 meetings with the Chattanooga, in a series that dates back to the 1908 season. Alabama won that inaugural meeting 23-6 on Oct. 31, 1908. The Crimson Tide notched four straight shutout wins over the Mocs in 1914 (63-0), 1929 (46-0), 1931 (39-0) and 1950 (27-0). Alabama’s 46-0 win over Chattanooga on Oct. 12, 1929, was the third game ever played at the Tide’s present day home stadium. The Mocs were also coached that day by Harold “Red” Drew, who later served as Alabama’s head coach from 1947-54. Drew compiled a 13-5-2 record in 1929-30 at Chattanooga. He was 54-28-7 in his tenure with the Crimson Tide. Drew was also the head coach at Birmingham Southern (1924-28) and Mississippi (1946). Drew is one of three former Alabama players or coaches to coach at Chattanooga. Frank Thomas, who led Alabama to a 146-115-24 record and two national championships from 1931-46, also coached the Mocs from 1925-28 and compiled a 26-9-2 record in four seasons. Drew and Thomas led the Mocs to three consecutive Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) championships in 1927, 1928 and 1929. Another former UA player and assistant coach Bill Oliver was the head coach at Chattanooga from 1980-83, where he compiled a 29-14-1 record. Oliver played on Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s 1961 national championship squad and then later served as an assistant at Alabama under Bryant and Gene Stallings, winning a national championship in each term. Thomas, Drew and Oliver are the three winningest coaches in Chattanooga history, in terms of winning percentage. In addition, Thomas is among seven coaches who have coached for and against Alabama in their careers. The complete list includes Eli Abbott, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Bill Curry, “Red” Drew, G.H. Harvey, Nick Saban and Stallings. The 1950 game was the first game in the series to be played at Birmingham’s Legion Field. The Tide posted a 42-28 win in 1952 and a 21-14 victory in 1953. The Tide added another shutout with the win in 1959. The two teams have met only twice since the last Tuscaloosa meeting, with both games taking place at Legion Field in 1991 and 1994. The Crimson Tide posted a 53-7 win over Chattanooga at Legion Field on Oct. 5, 1991. The Chattanooga roster that day featured wide receiver and Alabama native Terrell Owens, who caught one pass for seven yards in the loss. The last meeting between the two schools took place during the 1994 season as the Tide posted a 42-13 win to open the season on Sept. 3 at Legion Field.
50 YEARS LATER: It has been 50 years since Alabama and Chattanooga played against each other in Tuscaloosa. That streak ends today as the Crimson Tide closes out its 2009 home schedule with its first game against the Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium since Oct. 10, 1959. Alabama won that game, 13-0, behind a stern defensive performance and a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterbacks Pat Trammell and Bobby Skelton. The rugged Alabama defense did not allow the Mocs to move the ball past their own 42-yard line in the first half and the Tide’s 46-yard line in the second half. Chattanooga managed only 81 rushing yards and did not complete a pass in seven attempts against the UA defense. Skelton scored the first touchdown in the opening quarter on a sparkling 18-yard run. Trammell accounted for the other touchdown as he raced 54 yards to pay dirt in the third quarter. Penalties killed several other Tide scoring chances and one infraction nullified a 42-yard touchdown pass from Skelton to halfback Duff Morrison.
NEXT GAME: The Crimson Tide travels across the state for the annual Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Friday, Nov. 27, at 1:30 p.m. on CBS. It will be the 62nd consecutive meeting and the 74th overall meeting between the two teams. Alabama owns a 39-33-1 edge in the series that is the oldest in Crimson Tide annals, dating back to 1893. UA posted a 36-0 win over the Tigers a season ago in Tuscaloosa, but will be looking for their first win in Auburn since a 31-7 victory in 2001. Alabama is 2-7 in games played at Auburn, but owns a 34-18-1 record in Birmingham.