Nov. 21, 2010
Alabama Football Preview - Game 12
No. 9/11 Alabama (9-2, 5-2 SEC) vs. No. 2/2 Auburn (11-0, 7-0 SEC)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama concludes the 2010 regular season with the 75th Iron Bowl on Friday, November 26, at Bryant-Denny Stadium on CBS. The ninth-ranked Crimson Tide square off with the No. 2/2 Tigers at 1:30 p.m. CST on Senior Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama leads the series 40-33-1 after back-to-back victories over the Tigers. The Tide posted a 26-21 come-from-behind victory a season ago in Auburn after a 36-0 win the last time the two teams met in Tuscaloosa in 2008. Auburn is coming off of a bye week with an 11-0 record on the season and 7-0 mark in the SEC after beating Georgia on Nov. 13. The Tigers are the last of six SEC teams to have a bye before playing Alabama and the seventh straight game a team has had a bye before facing the Tide. The game will be televised on CBS with Verne Lundquist on play-by-play, Gary Danielson as the color analyst and Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sideline. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Barry Krauss on the sidelines. Westwood One will have the national radio broadcast.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his fourth season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 37-10 record (42-10 including five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and one national championship. Saban holds a career record of 128-52-1 (133-52-1) 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 10 of his 13 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban's direction. Saban is also one of two coaches (Urban Meyer, Florida) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.
RANKINGS: Alabama checks in at No. 9 in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches' poll and the Harris Interactive. Auburn is ranked No. 2 in all polls including the AP, USA Today, BCS and Harris polls.
AUBURN SERIES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 75th Iron Bowl on Friday, November 26, in Auburn. Alabama holds a 40-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to February 22, 1893 (1892 season), when the two teams met at Birmingham's Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming 32-22 victory. The Crimson Tide captured a 26-21 come-from-behind win in Auburn last season after 36-0 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2008. Auburn will be eighth visit to Tuscaloosa and its sixth visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tigers own a 6-1 edge in the series in Tuscaloosa and a 4-1 record at Bryant-Denny.
NEXT GAME: Following the Iron Bowl, Alabama will await word on its college football record 58th bowl game appearance.
ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama's success on the field over the past two seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has coincided with the Crimson Tide's success in the classroom. After playing the 2010 BCS National Championship Game with 21 players that already had their degrees, the 2010 Crimson Tide began the 2010 season with four players that already have degrees in hand, including Earl Alexander (financial planning), Greg McElroy (business marketing), Brian Motley (general studies) and David Ross (consumer affairs). Over the past three seasons (2008-10) the Crimson Tide has seen 31 players compete for the Crimson Tide after having already graduated.
STADIUM RENOVATION: The latest expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium raised seating capacity to 101,821, making it one of the five largest on-campus football stadiums in the nation. The expansion is the fourth expansion of the stadium since 1988 and the seventh expansion in the stadium's history. It consists of roughly 9,600 additional seats, 1,700 South Zone Club seats, two corner video boards, an upper concourse with concessions and restrooms, 36 skyboxes, the Crimson Tide Foundation offices, a Donor Hall of Recognition and an outdoor market featuring Zoe's Kitchen, Yogurt Lab and a new university admissions office welcome center. UA's first four home game crowds of 101,821 not only set a school record, but also set a new record for the most spectators to watch a football game in the state of Alabama.
McELROY NAMED A FINALIST FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY: Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has been selected as a finalist for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, which is presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame and recognizes the best and brightest from the college gridiron. The NFF announced 16 finalists, who are recognized as part of the 2010 NFF Scholar-Athlete Class, receiving an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. The Campbell Trophy winner, who will have his scholarship increased to $25,000 and receive a 25-pound bronze trophy, will be announced live at the NFF's Awards Dinner on December 7 at Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. In the classroom, McElroy has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll four times (2007-10), the President's List (4.0 GPA) twice, the Dean's List (3.5-3.99 GPA) four times and is a UA Rhodes Scholar nominee. He is currently pursuing a degree in sports management after finishing his undergraduate degree in marketing in just three years.
McELROY JUST MISSES RHODES SCHOLARSHIP: Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy advanced as far as the finalist interviews in Birmingham, Ala., in his pursuit of a Rhodes Scholarship, but came up just short. He was one of two students at the University of Alabama that were endorsed by the University and one of 12 finalists in the seventh district. There are 32 Rhodes Scholarships assigned annually to students in the United States. States are grouped into 16 districts for the purpose of making these appointments. The state of Alabama is in the seventh district, which also includes the states of Florida and Tennessee. Two students from district seven were selected this past Saturday as Rhodes Scholars following the final interview process.
STREAKING AT BRYANT-DENNY: Alabama has won 20 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium dating back to the home opener against Tulane in 2008. It is tied for the second-longest streak in school history at Bryant-Denny Stadium with the mark of 20 set from Nov. 1, 1941, to Nov. 11, 1950. The longest winning streak at Bryant-Denny Stadium is 57 games from Oct. 26, 1963, to Nov. 13, 1982. During the current streak, the Crimson Tide is 11-0 against SEC competition and 5-0 against top 25 teams.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE 20-GAME WINNING STREAK AT BRYANT-DENNY: Alabama has reeled off 20 straight wins at Bryant-Denny Stadium. During that stretch the Crimson Tide has been extremely stingy on defense and very effective on offense. Some of the most impressive numbers include 43 rushing touchdowns for the Alabama offense while the Crimson Tide defense has surrendered just one rushing touchdown at home since the beginning of the 2008 season. UA has averaged 169.3 yards of total offense more than its opponents while rushing for 126.5 more yards per game. Alabama is also outscoring its opponents by 21.1 points per game (32.7 points per game [653 points] to 7.6 points per game ). Below is a look at the numbers for the Crimson Tide during its 20-game home winning streak:
NON-SATURDAY FOOTBALL: Alabama is playing its second straight regular-season game on a day other than Saturday. This week, the Crimson Tide will face Auburn on a Friday, after dispatching of Georgia State on Thursday, November 18. It is the third regular-season non-Saturday game for the Tide in the last two years. Prior to last season's Iron Bowl on Friday, Nov. 27, the Crimson Tide had not played on a non-Saturday since beating Southern Mississippi, 28-15, on November 29, 2001, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. That game was originally scheduled for September 15, but was postponed following the terrorist attacks on the United States on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
GREG McELROY/BARRETT JONES EARN ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy and offensive lineman Barrett Jones have been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Team. McElroy, who is 21-1 as a starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide, graduated in three years with a degree in business marketing and is finishing his graduate degree in sports administration this fall. He completed his undergraduate work with a 3.82 GPA and has a 4.0 in graduate school. McElroy is a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete, receiving an $18,000 scholarship from the NFF, and becoming a finalist for the William V. Campbell Award. Jones boasts a 4.0 grade point average in finance during his third year of course work in Tuscaloosa. He was a first-team All-District IV selection a year ago and a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. He was a member of the 2009 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll and the 2010 SEC Academic Honor Roll. Members of the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Team are eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition.
McELROY NOMINATED FOR SI SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR: Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has also been nominated for the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, which will be announced November 30. McElroy was nominated by SI writer Lars Anderson because, he says, "More than any other player in the sport, he represents all that is good about college football."
TOUGH SLATE: Alabama faced one of the most daunting three-game stretches in school history when it challenged No. 10 Arkansas, came home for No. 7 Florida and then traveled to No. 19 South Carolina. It was only the fourth time in school history the Tide had faced three consecutive games against top 20 competition without a bye week. It was the first time Alabama has ever faced three straight games against top 20 teams with two games coming on the road. The Crimson Tide began the three-game run with a 24-20 come-from-behind victory at No. 10 Arkansas before posting a 31-6 win over No. 7 Florida at home and then falling at South Carolina. The last time Alabama faced three straight games vs. top 20 teams without a bye came in 1997 when the Tide lost to No. 14 LSU and No. 17 Mississippi State before falling at No. 3 Auburn. It also happened in 1986, losing to No. 6 Penn State before winning at No. 17 Mississippi State and dropping a home game to No. 18 LSU. The first time it happened was in 1953 with wins over No. 5 Georgia Tech and No. 16 Auburn at home and a loss in between to No. 2 Maryland on the road.
The Tide is once again in the middle of a difficult stretch of games that includes three top-20 opponents and the Nov. 18 game against Georgia State in a span of 20 days. Alabama lost at No. 10 LSU 24-10 on Nov. 6, beat No. 17 Mississippi State on Nov. 13 and will also face No. 2 Auburn on Nov. 26 in Tuscaloosa.
SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Saban's arrival in Tuscaloosa led to the Crimson Tide's rapid rise up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time has 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 has won 23 of his last 25 games and is coming off of his second national championship in 2009 -- his first at Alabama. Saban is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. Saban achieved more firsts in 2009 with back-to-back 10-win seasons and his first undefeated campaign. He ranks fourth in winning percentage (71.1 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of FBS football. Saban is also one of two coaches (Urban Meyer, Florida) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.
BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 13-4 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the past three seasons and 8-2 against AP top 10 teams. UA had reeled off nine straight wins against top 25 teams until the loss at South Carolina. The Crimson Tide's 31-6 win over No. 7 Florida on October 2 was the Tide's second straight win over a top 10 team and third top 25 victory in a four-week span. Alabama is 4-2 against the AP Top 25 this season.
START FAST -- FINISH STRONG: One of Alabama's priorities each week is to get off to a fast start and then win the fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide's "Start Fast -- Finish Strong" motto has been evident in 2010 with a 95-43 scoring edge in the first quarter and a 62-31 advantage in the fourth quarter. UA has also had a distinct edge in the second half, outscoring opponents by a margin of 157-58 in 11 games (99 points). A season ago, Alabama outscored its opponents 121-32 in the fourth quarter, a margin of 89 points. That number grew to 201-77 in the third and fourth quarters for a margin of 124 points.
ALABAMA HAS SECOND MOST WINS SINCE 2008: Alabama has won 35 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season, which is the second most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Crimson Tide won 12 games in 2008, followed that with a perfect 14-0 record in 2009 and is off to a 9-2 start in 2010. Alabama one win back of Boise State, who has 36 wins, and one victory ahead of TCU at 34 victories. The Crimson Tide has the most victories of any team that plays in a BCS conference.
TOUGH SLATE: Alabama has one of the most difficult schedules in the nation with as many as eight games against teams ranked in the USA Today Coaches' Poll Preseason Top 25. The Tide beat then-No. 18/14 Penn State on Sept. 11, then-No. 10/11 Arkansas on Sept. 25, and then-No. 7/7 Florida on Oct. 2. Alabama then suffered its first regular-season loss since 2007 at No. 19/20 South Carolina on Oct. 9, and dropped a 24-21 decision at No. 12/11 LSU on Nov. 6. Alabama bounced back with a convincing 30-10 victory over No. 17/18 Mississippi State on Nov. 13 and finishes the season against No. 2/2 Auburn on Nov. 26.
FIRST-TIME STARTERS: A total of 22 Alabama players have made their first collegiate starts this season - 17 positional starters and 5 specialists. Five first-time starters have been on offense: LG Chance Warmack, RT D.J. Fluker, RB Trent Richardson, RT Alfred McCullough and RG Anthony Steen. There have been 12 first-time starters were on defense: DE Damion Square, DE Luther Davis, NG Kerry Murphy, LB C.J. Mosley, Sam LB Chavis Williams, Will LB Jerrell Harris, Jack LB Ed Stinson, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB DeQuan Menzie, CB Dee Milliner, FS Robert Lester and CB Phelon Jones. Five more have made starting debuts on special teams: deep snapper Carson Tinker, kickoff specialist and distance field goal kicker Cade Foster, punter Cody Mandell and place-kicker Jeremy Shelley. Of the 20 new starters, four are true freshmen (PK Foster, P Mandell, CB Milliner, LB Mosley).
Crimson Tide Offensive Notes
2010 OFFENSE PUTTING UP NUMBERS:
Alabama returned eight starters from the 2009 offense that put together one of best seasons in school history. The Crimson Tide set a school record with 5,642 yards of total offense, including 3,011 rushing yards (11th in school history) and 2,631 passing yards (5th in school history). The Tide also scored the second-most points in the 115-year history of the program with 448 (32.1 points per game).
However, the 2010 Crimson Tide offense is ahead of that pace. Alabama is averaging 434.6 yards of total offense per game to rank 26th nationally and fourth in the SEC. The rushing offense is ranked 31st at 184.9 yards per game (fourth in the SEC) while the passing offense is 37th at 249.7 yards per game (third in the SEC). The Crimson Tide is scoring 35.3 points per game to rank third in the conference and rank 20th nationally.
RETURNING HEISMAN WINNER: Running back Mark Ingram returned for his junior season after capturing the school's first Heisman Trophy on the 75th anniversary of the award in 2009. He missed Alabama's opening two games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, August 31, but returned Sept. 18 at Duke. Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards and 20 total touchdowns in 2009 to become the first Heisman Trophy-winning running back to help his team win a national championship in the same season since Tony Dorsett in 1976. Ingram is also one of six players since 1950 to win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in the same season and is the first Heisman-winning back to return the following season since Oklahoma's Billy Sims returned for his senior year in 1979. Sims won the 1978 Heisman Trophy, but finished second to Charles White of Southern California in 1979.
Julio Jones MOVES UP CAREER RECEPTIONS LIST: Junior wide receiver Julio Jones has caught 32 passes for 437 yards in the last four games after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left hand on Sunday, Oct. 10, following the South Carolina game where he had a then-season-best eight passes for 118 yards. He is second on the Alabama career pass receptions list with 166. He moved past the 2,000-yard mark at Tennessee in career receiving yards and has become the third player in Alabama history to eclipse the total and now ranking second in school history. He joined DJ Hall (2,923 yards from 2004-07) and Ozzie Newsome (2,070 yards from 1974-77) in eclipsing 2,000 receiving yards in a career. On the season, Jones has a new career high with 65 receptions for 885 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games in 2010, averaging 13.6 yards per catch to give the Tide a lethal threat on the outside. His 5.91 receptions per game rank third in the SEC and tied for 26th nationally while his 80.46 yards per game are 27th nationally and second in the conference.
RECORD PERFORMANCE FOR Julio Jones: Junior wide receiver Julio Jones caught 12 passes for a school-record 221 yards against Tennessee on October 23. The receptions total ranks second in Alabama history behind only DJ Hall's 13-catch outing (185 yards) versus Tennessee on Oct. 20, 2007. Those totals put Jones over 100 yards receiving for the seventh time in his Alabama career (ranks 2nd in Alabama history) and the third time this season. Jones' previous single-game yardage high at Alabama was a 128-yard outing (on 7 catches) at LSU on November 8, 2008. His previous single-game high for catches was 9 (for 83 yards) at Auburn on Nov. 27, 2009.
JONES ON SINGLE-SEASON LISTS: With seven catches for 86 yards against Georgia State, Julio Jones now has a career-high 65 catches for 885 yards this season. That ranks Jones tied for second in single-season receptions and fifth in receiving yards in a season.
Julio Jones MOVING THE CHAINS: Alabama junior wide receiver Julio Jones is the Crimson Tide's most dangerous threat in the passing game and that plays out in the statistics as the Foley, Ala., native has caught a team-best 65 passes for 885 yards and six touchdowns. However, maybe the most impressive statistic is the number of receptions that have translated into first downs for the Crimson Tide. Of Jones' 65 receptions, 45 have gone for a first down or a touchdown. That averages out to an astounding 69.2 percent of his receptions this season have kept an Alabama drive alive.
McELROY OVER 5,000 TOTAL OFFENSE; APPROACHES 5,000 YARDS PASSING: Crimson Tide senior quarterback Greg McElroy has surpassed the 5,000-yard mark for career total offense, becoming the sixth player in Alabama football history to break the 5,000-yard barrier. McElroy now has 5,171 total yards for his career. He has also become the fifth player in school history to pass for 5,000 yards. McElroy surpassed the 5,000-yard barrier with 159 yards in under a half of work against Georgia State. He now has 5,094 passing yards in 33 career games and 25 career starts.
McELROY'S CAREER TD PASSES: Senior quarterback Greg McElroy had two touchdown passes against Georgia State, the 35th and 36th of McElroy's Alabama career, which ranks third on the UA career touchdown passes list. He has 17 touchdown passes in the 2010 season, equaling his 2009 total, both ranking as the second-most in a single season in school history.
Trent Richardson: MR. EVERYTHING: Running back Trent Richardson is doing a little bit of everything for Alabama this season. The sophomore ranks ninth nationally and second in the SEC in all-purpose yards (1,495 in nine games) at 166.11 per game average. The UA school record for all-purpose yards is 2,016 by Bobby Humphrey in 1986, which averaged out to 168.0 yard per game. Richardson has 634 yards rushing (70.44 per game), 245 receiving (27.2 pg) and 616 on kickoff returns (68.4 pg). He has two 100-yard rushing games, one 100-yard receiving game and three games with more than 100-yards in kickoff returns. Richardson has also eclipsed the 200-yard barrier in all-purpose yards three times (Penn State, Arkansas and Mississippi), and has had less than 121 all-purpose yards only once (at LSU).
INGRAM VS. TOP 25 OPPONENTS: Mark Ingram has consistently stepped up his production against top 25 competition during his career at the Capstone. The junior from Flint, Mich., averaged 188.8 rushing and receiving yards vs. the top 25 last season, including 156.8 rushing yards in those games and nine touchdowns. He also had 31 runs of 10 yards or more against ranked foes in 2009. In 2010, Ingram ripped off 157 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a 24-20 come-from-behind victory at No. 10 Arkansas on Sept. 25. Ingram's 54-yard first-quarter touchdown burst was a showcase of his vision, speed, cut-back ability, vicious stiff-arm and uncanny balance. He then scored two touchdowns and accounted for 66 all-purpose yards in a 31-6 rout of No. 7 Florida and then had 57 all-purpose yards at South Carolina. Ingram then had 97 yards rushing and a touchdown at No. 11 LSU. Ingram accounted for 149 all-purpose yards vs. No. 17 Mississippi State, rushing for 53 yards while catching two passes for 77 yards and a score.
INGRAM 4TH ON CAREER RUSHING YARDS CHART: Mark Ingram rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries vs. Georgia State, which give him 3,166 rushing yards in his career to rank fourth in Crimson Tide history. Shaun Alexander (1996-99) is the Tide's career rushing yards record holder with 3,565 yards.
INGRAM OVER 100: Mark Ingram's 12 100-yard rushing performances in his Alabama career rank him tied for third in Alabama history. Shaun Alexander (15 from 1996-99) and Bobby Humphrey (15 from 1985-88) hold the record.
BALL SECURITY: Mark Ingram has earned an impressive reputation during his 37-game Alabama career as an expert at holding onto the football. The junior has only lost one fumble in 550 career rushing attempts, 55 career receptions and two kickoff returns for a total of 607 career touches. He has only put the ball on the ground twice, the first of which at LSU in 2008 was recovered by the Tide and the second was a lost fumble vs. Tennessee in 2009. On average, Ingram fumbles once every 303.5 touches. Ingram went 332 carries into his career before losing his first fumble. Sophomore Trent Richardson has been almost as good, touching the ball 286 times and losing just one fumble while putting it on the ground six times.
TOUCHDOWN INGRAM: Junior running back Mark Ingram scored his 39th career rushing touchdown against Georgia State. His 39 career rushing touchdowns rank second in school history, just three behind Shaun Alexander (41 from 1996-99). Ingram also has 43 total touchdowns during his Crimson Tide career. He ranks tied for third in Alabama history in total touchdowns with John Parker Wilson.
LONGEST PLAY OF INGRAM'S ALABAMA CAREER: Mark Ingram took a Greg McElroy pass 78 yards for a touchdown against Mississippi State. It was the longest gain of Ingram's Alabama career, surpassing a 69-yard pass play against Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship game and a 70-yard run for a touchdown against Mississippi State in 2009.
BIG NIGHT FOR MAZE: Despite having an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown erased by a penalty, junior wide receiver Marquis Maze enjoyed a fine all-purpose yardage game in Alabama's win over Mississippi State. Maze accounted for 166 total yards in the game. Maze caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, very close to matching his single-game highs for receptions and yards. Maze's single-game high for catches is 6 (vs. LSU, 2009) and his single-game best for receiving yards is 96 (vs. Florida, 2009). He also returned three punts for 36 yards and returned two kickoffs for 41 yards in the game. For the season, Maze is second on the team with 32 receptions for 467 yards and two touchdowns.
RICHARDSON ECLIPSES 100 RECEIVING YARDS: Sophomore running back Trent Richardson caught 5 passes for 101 yards against Mississippi on October 16 to become the first Alabama running back to eclipse the century mark in receiving yards in 12 years. Before Saturday night, the most recent Alabama back to have more than 100 yards receiving was Shaun Alexander, who caught 5 passes for 110 yards and one touchdown against Mississippi State on November 14, 1998.
RICHARDSON JOINS 1,000-YARD CLUB: With 61 rushing yards against Duke on Sept. 18, sophomore running back Trent Richardson became the 51st Crimson Tide player to rush for 1,000 career yards. Richardson now has 1,385 yards on 237 carries over the first 23 games of his Alabama career. Mark Ingram became the 50th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards last season while Glen Coffee and Terry Grant both eclipsed 1,000 career rushing yards in 2008.
A BALANCED ATTACK: Alabama returned to the nation's elite in 2008 with a punishing ground attack that wore down defenses and took shots down the field. In 2009, the Tide brought more balance to the table on offense. UA still had an outstanding ground game and an aerial attack to match with quarterback Greg McElroy. The Tide showed good balance in their offensive numbers, averaging 215.07 rushing yards and 187.93 yards passing per game.
In 2010 Alabama has again shown to have excellent balance. The Crimson Tide has accounted for 4,781 yards of total offense (26th nationally at 434.6 ypg), including 2,747 yards (57.5 percent) in the air and 2,034 (42.5 percent) on the ground. The Tide has thrown 298 total passes (43.1 percent) -- completing 207 (69.5 percent) -- while running the ball 393 times (56.9 percent).
EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: In the first 11 games of the 2010 season, the Alabama offense has accounted for 94 plays of 15 yards or more, scoring 20 touchdowns within those 94 explosive plays. The Crimson Tide have made 65 passing plays of 15 yards or more with Julio Jones leading the way with 20 15-plus yard pass receptions. Trent Richardson also has 14 explosive plays with nine rushes of 15-plus yards and five receptions. Marquis Maze has 12 explosive receptions while Mark Ingram had nine runs and three pass reception of 15 yards or more in nine games, including runs of 54, 50, 48, 42, 27, 23, 20, 19 and 17 yards and receptions of 16, 20 and 78 yards. The longest play of the season was a 85-yard scoring strike from Greg McElroy to Richardson against Mississippi with the second longest coming on a 78-yard scoring pass to Ingram vs. Mississippi State. The longest rush was a 65-yard burst by Richardson at Tennessee. That 85-yard pass play is tied for the fifth-longest scoring pass in Alabama history and is the longest pass completion of McElroy's Alabama career (previous long: 80 to Marquis Maze vs. Arkansas in 2009).
100-YARD RUSHERS AND RECEIVERS: Alabama has had 26 100-yard rushers in 25 games and 12 100-yard receivers in 12 games over the last four seasons since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. Junior running back Mark Ingram has recorded 12 100-yard rushing games during his career while Trent Richardson has four 100-yard rushing efforts and Eddie Lacy one. Under Saban, Alabama has gone 25-1 in those 26 games with a 100-yard rusher. Junior Julio Jones (7) and Trent Richardson (1) are the only current players with a 100-yard receiving game. The Tennessee game on Oct. 23 marked the six time under Saban that Alabama has had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game.
McELROY STREAK ENDS: Greg McElroy's streak of 19 consecutive wins to open a career at Alabama and 35 straight wins as a starting quarterback came to an end with the Tide's loss at South Carolina. He now has a 23-2 mark over the last two seasons as a starter at Alabama. Prior to South Carolina, McElroy's last loss as a starting quarterback was in the eighth grade against Cross Timbers Middle School in Grapevine, Texas. McElroy's 19-0 start to his career is the second best in school history. It also ranked as the second-longest streak of consecutive wins by a starting quarterback in school history. Jay Barker owns both records, winning the first 22 games of his career from 1991-93.
McELROY SETS ACCURACY RECORD: Senior quarterback Greg McElroy exited the Georgia State game with 6:46 left in the second quarter and Alabama leading, 35-0, but not before setting a single-game Alabama record for completion percentage. McElroy completed 12-of-13 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. That set a completion percentage of 92.3 percent, the Alabama record for highest completion percentage in a game with a minimum of 10 completions.
RICHARDSON BACK DEEP: Sophomore Trent Richardson's 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on Sept. 18 at Duke did not make the Alabama all-time top-10 list for longest kickoff returns, but it did mark the first Crimson Tide kickoff return for a touchdown since a 100-yard return for a score by Tyrone Prothro on October 10, 2004. Richardson is fourth in the SEC and ranks 27th nationally in kickoff returns this season with a 26.78 ypr average.
MAZE'S PUNT RETURNS: Wide receiver Marquis Maze made a major impact as a punt return man in the second half of the season. He returned 6 punts for 125 yards (20.8-yard average) including returns of 37 and 20 yards against Mississippi. The yardage against the Rebels ranked third on the Alabama single-game punt returns yardage list. Maze ranks 10th nationally and third in the SEC averaging 15.5 yards per punt return.
Crimson Tide Defensive Notes
The Alabama defense replaced nine starters from its 2009 national championship-winning defense that finished second nationally in all major defensive categories. The 2010 defense, although still far from complete, has been fairly successful to this point. The Crimson Tide ranks third nationally in scoring defense and first in the league, surrendering just 12.8 points per game or 141 total points in 11 games. UA went 14 quarters at home before surrendering a touchdown at Bryant-Denny and has only allowed two defensive touchdowns (and one on special teams) at home this season, surrendering just 39 points (6.5 ppg). The secondary, which was forced to replace 3 of 4 starters and six of its top seven players, has also fared well in the national rankings with the No. 2 pass efficiency defense (96.02). The rush defense has not put up the numbers of the past two seasons, but still is just allowing just 124.7 yards per game to rank 22nd nationally. The Tide's total defense is seventh nationally at 293.5 yards per game, which ranks second in the SEC.
GROUND DEFENSE - PART II: Keeping the opposing running back under 100 yards is nothing new for the Crimson Tide. Alabama has surrendered just nine individual 100-yard rushing games dating back to the 2005 season (72 games), a mark that third nationally behind Ohio State and Boston College (8). Since head coach Nick Saban's arrived in 2007 (52 games), Alabama has only allowed four players to rush for 100 yards in a game: Tennessee's Tauren Poole (117), Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis (131 yards), Houston's Anthony Alridge (100 yards) and Arkansas' Darren McFadden (195 yards).
TOUGH SLEDDING ON THE GROUND: Alabama has surrendered the second fewest rushing touchdowns in the nation since the start of the 2005 season, giving up only 46. Ohio State leads the nation allowing 45 during that time span. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, the Crimson Tide has given up 28 rushing touchdowns while OSU has allowed 25. In 2010, Alabama has surrendered just five rushing touchdowns in 11 games.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Alabama's ability to produce turnovers in recent years has fueled the Crimson Tide's success. The Crimson Tide has been good in 2010 with 24 turnovers and 12 giveaways (plus-12) in the first 11 games. UA has intercepted a national-best 21 passes and recovered three fumbles for a +1.09 turnover margin that ranks tied for seventh nationally and first in the SEC.
Alabama has forced 104 turnovers in 52 games under head coach Nick Saban (an average of 2.00 per game) while forcing 55 turnovers over the last 25 games (2.20 per game). The Tide finished the 2009 season ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin at plus-19 (1.36 per game). The UA offense only turned the ball over 12 times (5 interceptions, 7 fumbles) in 2009. Alabama forced 24 turnovers in 2007 for a plus-4 turnover ratio and then recorded 25 turnovers and ended the season with a plus-6 turnover margin in 2008. Alabama has recorded at least one turnover in 46 of 52 games under Saban. UA is 39-7 under Saban when gaining at least one turnover. Alabama is 3-3 in games without a turnover over the last four seasons.
DEFENSE TOUGH ON THIRD DOWN: Third down defense has been crucial for Alabama over the past three seasons. The Crimson Tide is strong once again in 2010, allowing just 55 third down conversions in 162 attempts (33.95 percent) to rank 14th nationally. The Crimson Tide defense was strong on third down in 2009, ranking sixth nationally and allowing a 29.90 conversion rate (58 for 194). The Crimson Tide finished third nationally in third down conversion defense in 2008, holding opponents to a 28.14 percent (56 of 199) conversion rate.
LESTER LEADS SEC & SECOND NATIONALLY IN INTERCEPTIONS: Sophomore safety Robert Lester leads the SEC and is second nationally with seven total interceptions. The native of Foley, Ala., is averaging .64 interceptions per game this season, which ranks tied for second nationally and first in the SEC. Lester has two multiple interception games (Arkansas and Mississippi State) and has recorded five picks in league games. Junior Mark Barron and sophomore Dre Kirkpatrick are close behind with three picks on the season to rank tied for 62nd nationally.
TIDE LEADS NATION IN INTERCEPTIONS: With four interceptions against Georgia State, the Crimson Tide has moved into the national lead with 21 interceptions on the season. Alabama broke out of a tie with Florida, Ohio State, Tulsa and Boston College for the national lead from last week. Alabama finished second nationally with 24 interceptions last season (one behind Texas). The Crimson Tide managed 14 interceptions during the 2008 season.
HIGHTOWER RETURNS: Sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower returned for his third season at the Capstone as the man in the middle of Alabama's complex defensive scheme. Hightower received a medical redshirt for the 2009 season after suffering a torn ACL in the fourth game of the season against Arkansas. An amazingly quick recovery returned him to the practice field with full contact during spring drills. Hightower has split time between the Mike and Will linebacker spots in 2010 while also seeing time with his hand in the dirt on passing downs to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills. The Lewisburg, Tenn., native has 143 career tackles with 9.0 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hurries. Hightower has 63 tackles, three pass breakups and eight quarterback hurries in 2010.
BARRON MAKING PRESENCE KNOWN: Safety Mark Barron is one of the most prominent safeties in the nation. The Mobile, Ala., native was a first-team All-SEC player a year ago, leading the league with seven interceptions while garnering third-team All-America honors. He registered 76 tackles to rank second on the Alabama defense in 2009. Barron led the SEC -- along with teammate Marquis Johnson -- in passes defended with 18 (11 PBU, 7 INT) and ranked tied for sixth nationally with 1.29 passes defended per game.
In 2010, Barron is playing well as the leader of the Tide secondary. He leads the team with 71 tackles while recording three interceptions, two sacks (-15), 3.0 tackles for loss (-19), one forced fumble, two quarterback hurries and six pass breakups.
MOSLEY WITH ANOTHER PICK 6: True freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepted a Georgia State pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to give Alabama a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, Mosley's second interception return for a touchdown this season. He also took an interception 35 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Florida to give Alabama a 31-6 lead over the Gators. Mosley, who earned his first career start at South Carolina, now has started three games, made 60 tackles on the season with a team-high seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
UPSHAW STUNS GATORS: Junior Jack linebacker Courtney Upshaw had an impressive outing for the Crimson Tide against Florida as he was credited with seven tackles, including four for losses, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups. Upshaw's performance keynoted a strong defensive effort by Alabama, which posted eight tackles for loss with three interceptions and one quarterback sack. Upshaw, who has battled a high-ankle sprain since the Penn State game, has now recorded 37 tackles on the season with 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry.
THREE AND OUT: Consistently forcing three-and-outs has been a trademark of Alabama's defense. A year ago, on its way to a national championship, Alabama led the nation with an average of 5.61 three-and-outs per game. In 2010, the Tide is once again among the nation's best averaging 4.00 three-and-outs per game or 44 three-and-outs in 11 games. TCU currently leads the country in three-and-outs with 6.09 per game.
QUARTERBACK SACKS: The Alabama defense put constant pressure on Mississippi State, recording five sacks of Bulldogs' quarterback Chris Relf. The five sacks were the most this season, more than doubling the largest output of 2010. The five sacks are the most since the Crimson Tide tallied five against South Carolina (Oct. 17, 2009) last season. Alabama recorded five sacks on three different occasions in 2009. After two sacks against Georgia State, the Crimson Tide have recorded seven sacks in the past two games.
DEFENSIVE LEADERS vs. MSU: Sophomore defensive end Damion Square recorded a career-high two sacks against Mississippi State. He had one career sack coming into the game (earlier this season vs. Mississippi). Square's sacks accounted for a loss of 15 yards. True freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley and junior safety Mark Barron both recorded career highs in tackles vs. the Bulldogs. Mosley accounted for 12 stops, eclipsing his previous high of nine tackles vs. Tennessee and LSU. Barron notched 11 tackles, matching his career high of 11 set earlier this season against Florida.
Crimson Tide Opponent Notes
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 75th Iron Bowl on Friday, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2010, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Alabama holds a 40-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to the 1893 season. The Crimson Tide and Tigers first met on Feb. 22, 1893, at Birmingham's Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming 32-22 victory in the inaugural meeting. Alabama snapped a six-game series losing streak with a 36-0 win in 2008 in Tuscaloosa and followed that up with a come-from-behind 26-20 win in Auburn last season on its way to the school's 13th national championship. This is the eighth meeting between the two schools at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The first two meetings took place in 1895 and 1901, but the series went another 99 years before it returned to Tuscaloosa at the end of the 2000 season. Auburn owns a 6-1 series lead in games played at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
MORE SERIES LORE: Just about everyone knows of the rich history and tradition associated with the Alabama-Auburn series, but some people may not be aware that the rivalry was discontinued for more than 40 years in the first half of the 20th century. A few seemingly minor disagreements between the teams resulted in the series being cancelled in 1908. It was not resumed until the 1948 season. Though there are myths about fighting and other violence necessitating a dismissal of the series, the truth is that the only problems between the two teams emerged over the referee and per diem money for the players. In winning the 1906 game, Alabama used an offensive formation that Auburn head coach Mike Donahue declared illegal. After Alabama implemented a similar formation in 1907, Auburn insisted that their next meeting be officiated by an umpire from outside the South. Alabama thought this request to be unnecessary and that became the first matter of disagreement between the two schools. The second conflict, which was over per diem, essentially amounted to $33. Each team was allowed 22 players on its roster. Auburn wanted each player to receive $3.50, while Alabama thought the amount should be only two dollars. After arguing for several months over these two matters, the teams finally reached a compromise and decided not to play in 1908. By this point, however, their schedules had been set for the season, and neither team's opponents were willing to move. Alabama suggested playing the game after Thanksgiving, but Auburn's Board of Trustees would not allow them to play beyond the holiday. Thus, the game was not played in 1908, and it was not placed on the schedule the following year. Attempts to revive the game in 1911, 1919, 1932 and 1944 all failed. Finally, in the spring of 1948, behind the initiative of Alabama President John Galilee, an agreement was reached to resume the series in Birmingham that fall. Prior to the game, student body presidents Gilis Cammock of Alabama and Willie Johns of Auburn participated in a symbolic "burying of the hatchet" ceremony at Woodrow Wilson Park in Birmingham. The two teams rekindled their rivalry at Legion Field on December 4, 1948, and have played annually since then.
UA-AU WINNER GETS "FOY TROPHY": On July 13, 1948, the two circles of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership honor society from Alabama and Auburn joined together to sponsor a trophy devoted to sportsmanship between the two universities. The ODK-James E. Foy V Sportsmanship Trophy is a tradition which symbolizes the good relationship between the two schools. Originally the trophy was displayed in Birmingham in Loveman's store window the week prior to the football game between the two universities. Then, in a parade preceding the game, the trophy would be carried in a convertible with the Omicron Delta Kappa presidents from each school on either side. The parade was stopped in the 1960s but the trophy has continued to be awarded every year. The trophy is now awarded to the winner at halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game on the winner's home court. The trophy remains in their care until the next year's presentation takes place. In January 1978, the trophy was dedicated to Dean James E. Foy V upon his retirement as the Dean of Student Affairs at Auburn University. He began serving in that position in 1950 after serving as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Alabama.
IRON BOWL RANKINGS: For the 26th time since 1980 at least one team is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 entering the annual Iron Bowl. Neither team was ranked in 1982, 1998 and 2003. Alabama is No. 10 in the current AP poll and is ranked entering the Iron Bowl for the 37th time in history. The Crimson Tide is 26-10 against the Tigers when ranked in the AP poll. Auburn has been ranked a total of 26 times in Iron Bowl history and has compiled an 18-8 record when ranked in the AP Top 25. The highest ranked team owns a 40-10 record in the series since 1955.
TELEVISED GAMES: The 2010 Alabama-Auburn game will be the 36th televised game in the series, dating back to the series' first televised game in 1964. Alabama owns an 19-16 record in the previous 35 TV games. The Alabama-Auburn game is being televised for the 17th consecutive year and for the 29th time in the last 30 years this season from Tuscaloosa. CBS Sports will televise its 12th Iron Bowl this season.
SABAN VERSUS AUBURN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 4-4 in his career against the Auburn Tigers, including last year's 26-21 win in Auburn and the 36-0 victory in 2008 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Saban made his Alabama debut in the Nov. 24, 2007, Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Saban was 2-3 against the Tigers while the head coach at LSU from 2000-04.
CROSSING ENEMY LINES: Auburn alumnus G.H. Harvey is the only person to serve as head football coach at both Auburn and Alabama. He coached Auburn to a 3-0-2 record in his lone season with the Tigers in 1893, included in that record was a 40-16 win over Alabama on Nov. 30 at Montgomery's Riverside Park. Harvey also served as head coach at Alabama during the 1901 season, compiling 2-1-2 record, which included a 17-0 loss to Auburn in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 15, 1901. Harvey's combined coaching record with Auburn and Alabama was 5-1-4 in 10 games as head coach. Bill "Brother" Oliver, who played at Alabama in 1960s and then later served as an assistant coach under Bryant and Stallings at Alabama, was Auburn's interim head coach in 1998. Oliver took over midway through the season for Terry Bowden, who resigned in October, and coached the Tigers to a 2-3 record, including a 31-17 loss to the Crimson Tide.
Crimson Tide General Notes
COACHING STAFF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
The Alabama coaching staff recognized seven players of the week following the 63-7 win over Georgia State. William Vlachos
and Darius Hanks
were named the offensive players of the week while Chris Jordan
and Dee Milliner earned defensive honors. Brandon Gibson
, Chavis Williams
and Jerrell Harris
were special teams selections.
Hanks caught two passes for 23 yards with a long of 21 yards and a first down. Vlachos helped opened holes and provide protection for 478 yards of total offense, including 262 yards rushing and 216 yards passing.
Jordan intercepted the first pass of his career, made five tackles with 2.0 tackles for loss (-10 yards) and one sack (-9 yards). Milliner also recorded his first career interception while logging a career-best 2.0 tackles for loss (-4 yards) and one pass breakup along with four total tackles.
Williams blocked a Georgia State punt and Gibson picked it up and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Harris was a special teams terror on both coverage and blocking units.
SEC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Alabama has garnered seven SEC Player of the Week this season. Trent Richardson's 144-yard effort in Alabama's 24-3 win over No. 18/14 Penn State earned him SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors in week two. Robert Lester was then selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week at No. 10/11 Arkansas when he made seven tackles and intercepted Hogs quarterback Ryan Mallett twice. The Tide received two accolades after a 31-6 thrashing of Florida as Chance Warmack was selected as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week while Courtney Uphaws' seven-tackle, four-TFL performance earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Week. Marquis Maze was the co-Special Teams Player of the Week following his 125 yards of punt return yardage against Mississippi. James Carpenter's effort along the offensive front garnered him SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following Tennessee. Lester was again honored after picking off two passes in a 30-10 win over No. 17 Mississippi State.
McELROY SELECTED AS FINALIST FOR JOHNNY UNITAS GOLDEN ARM AWARD: Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy (Southlake, Texas) is one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The prestigious Golden Arm Award is presented annually to the nation's top senior quarterback by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc. McElroy ranks fourth in the country in passing efficiency (165.58) and has thrown for 2,390 yards with 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. The senior has thrown for more than 250 yards on three different occasions and tossed two or more touchdowns on seven different occasions.
McELROY ALSO A FINALIST FOR WUERFFEL TROPHY: Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy has been named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. The Wuerffel Trophy honors the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement. The award is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel. McElroy has volunteered with Read Across America, Habitat for Humanity, the West Alabama Food Bank and Hospice of West Alabama. Since 2007, he has been a member of the university's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is also a member of the UA Athletics and Academics Committee.
INGRAM A SEMIFINALIST FOR THE DOAK WALKER: Alabama junior running back Mark Ingram is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2010 Doak Walker Award. Ingram, who was a finalist for the award last season, is the only back representing the Southeastern Conference. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has rushed for a team-high 780 yards on 136 carries and scored 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and 86.7 yards on the ground per game. The 175 members of the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast their votes to determine the 2010 finalists. On Monday, November 22, three finalists will be named live on ESPNU, and a second vote by the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will determine the recipient. The 2010 Doak Walker Award recipient will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 9, on ESPN.
BARRON A SEMIFINALIST FOR THE THORPE AWARD: Alabama junior safety Mark Barron was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award. He is one of two players from the Southeastern Conference among the semifinalists.
The committee will narrow the field to three finalists, whose names will then be submitted to a national panel of roughly 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner. The announcement of the Jim Thorpe award will be featured on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards live on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPN. Antonio Langham (1993) is the only Crimson Tide player to have ever captured the Thorpe Award. Javier Arenas is the most recent Tide player to be selected as a semifinalist (2009). Barron paces the Tide this season with 71 tackles, has three interceptions and six passes defended.
BARRON A SEMIFINALIST FOR LOTT TROPHY: Alabama safety Mark Barron has been selected as one of 23 quarterfinalists for the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced as this week. Named after NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. It is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. Barron was chosen as the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week on October 5 for his performance in Alabama's 31-6 victory over Florida in which he recorded a game-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops a sack (-9) and two pass breakups.
HIGHTOWER A SEMIFINALIST FOR BUTKUS AWARD: Alabama sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower was selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the 26th annual Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker, by the Butkus Foundation. Hightower, who missed most of the 2009 season with an injured knee, is second on the team in tackles with 63 through 11 games. The native of Lewisburg, Tennessee, has also broken up three passes and leads the team with seven quarterback hurries. Hightower is one of the leaders of an Alabama defense that ranks in the top 17 nationally in all defensive categories. Alabama has had two Butkus Award winners with Derrick Thomas taking home the award in 1988 and Rolando McClain this past season.
TIDE WEARS NIKE PRO COMBAT UNIFORMS: The University of Alabama football team wore the 2010 version of the Nike Pro Combat uniform, featuring the lightest football uniform Nike has ever created, on November 13 for their game against Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The materials and fabrication elements, which debuted in 2009, will be incorporated into the Crimson Tide's traditional uniforms whose design will feature a Houndstooth pattern incorporated into the uniform's numbers - a tribute to legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Also, as a gesture to honor veterans of the armed services, the Alabama uniform will feature an American flag patch on the right sleeve. The flag is featured with the stars facing forward (to the right) per military protocol. Nike worked closely with coaches and administrators at Alabama to capture a look that not only is dynamic but also is true to the Crimson Tide's tradition.
RETURNING SUCCESS: Much of the talk in the preseason was about Alabama`s high-powered offense, and the offensive side of the football is where the Crimson Tide returns the biggest portion of its players from last year's BCS National Championship team. UA features 10 total returning starters and 39 lettermen this season, but eight of those returning starters are on the offensive side of the football with two on defense. The offense returns 84 percent of the rushing yards from last season (2,526 of 3,011). Greg McElroy, who took 94 percent of the snaps at quarterback last season, returns with five of his top six receivers from 2009 (Jones, Ingram, Maze, Hanks and Richardson).
PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Ten Alabama players were named to 15 different preseason awards watch lists prior into the 2010 season. The players were recognized before the start of the 2010 season as potentially the top players at their position nationally.
Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower and Greg McElroy appeared on four watch lists. Barron, Dareus and Hightower were on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player), as well as the Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year). McElroy was named to every major quarterback award watch list announced, including the Manning Award (top quarterback), Davey O'Brien Award (top quarterback) and the Unitas Golden Arm Award (top senior quarterback). McElroy was also named to the Maxwell Award (most outstanding player) watch list.
Crimson Tide offensive stars Mark Ingram and Julio Jones were prominent in watch lists as well. Jones appeared on the lists for the Biletnikoff Award (best receiver) and the Maxwell Award, while Ingram appeared on watch lists for the Walter Camp Award (player of the year), the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award (best running back). Last year as a sophomore, Ingram ran for a school single season record 1,658 yards in route to winning the school's first ever Heisman Trophy.
TWO TIDE PLAYERS NAMED PLAYBOY ALL-AMERICANS: Alabama landed two players on the 2010 Playboy Magazine annual preseason College Football All-America Team. Mark Ingram was selected as a running back and Julio Jones was picked at wide receiver. Alabama has now had six Playboy All-Americans in the last three years after Andre Smith was chosen in 2008 and Rolando McClain and Javier Arenas were selected in 2009. This is Julio Jones' second straight year on the Playboy All-America team.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: The Crimson Tide had six players earn preseason All-America accolades from various publications prior to the 2010 campaign. The list includes Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower, Mark Ingram, Barrett Jones and Julio Jones. Both Ingram and Julio Jones were selected to the Playboy Preseason All-America Team.
McELROY WINS ANSON MOUNT: Senior quarterback Greg McElroy was selected as the winner of the Anson Mount Student-Athlete Award by Playboy when the publication named its preseason All-America team. Playboy will send a check for $5,000 to the University of Alabama's general scholarship fund in McElroy's name.
INGRAM AT&T ESPN ALL-AMERICA PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Mark Ingram's 184-yard, two-touchdown effort in the Crimson Tide's 24-20 comeback win at No. 10 Arkansas on September 25 earned him the AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the Week. Ingram rushed for 157 yards on 24 carries while scoring two touchdowns and catching two passes for 27 yards. The 2010 AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the Week and Player of the Year are chosen by the fans. Each week, four finalists are selected by ESPN analysts. The fans then decide the winner by voting online. Each weeks winners are then in the running for the All-America Player of the Year.
LESTER BRINGING HOME THE HARDWARE: Alabama free safety Robert Lester collected some hardware following his seven-tackle, two-interception performance in a 24-20 comeback win at Arkansas. He was named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week and the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week. Lester's second interception of the game set up the Crimson Tide's winning touchdown when he returned a Ryan Mallett pass 33 yards to the Arkansas 12-yard line late in the fourth quarter. His other interception was a second-quarter grab in the end zone to halt a Razorback drive. He was added to the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
31 NATIONAL TV GAMES IN LAST 39 GAMES: The Auburn game will be broadcast on CBS and will be the Crimson Tide's 31st nationally televised game since the start of the 2008 season. In 2010, Alabama has had four games on CBS, two games on ESPN, two games on ESPN2 and 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 broadcast two more Crimson Tide games. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games broadcast nationally, including five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX.
ALABAMA 37-2 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: The Crimson Tide is 37-2 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama had a 28-game winning streak snapped earlier this season against LSU. Both losses have come against LSU. 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 tigers Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 3-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 2-2 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 two wins when tied at halftime came at LSU on Nov. 8, 2008, (a 27-21 victory) and at Auburn with a 26-21 win on Nov. 27, 2009.
DOUBLE-DIGIT DEFICIT: Alabama's 13-point deficit in the third quarter at Arkansas on Sept. 25 was the second-largest deficit overcome by Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. When Arkansas led, 17-7, at halftime, it marked the first time Alabama had trailed by at least 10 points at intermission since Utah led the Crimson Tide by 11 points, 21-10, at halftime of the 2009 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2009, in an eventual 31-17 loss by the Tide. The Tide trailed Arkansas by 13 points (7-20) in the third quarter before going on a 17-0 run to end the game. Below is a summary of the largest deficits faced by Alabama since head coach Nick Saban took over the program in 2007.
OVERTIME RECORD: Alabama is 4-7 (.364) all-time in overtime games. In its last overtime game, the Crimson Tide defeated LSU, 27-21, at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 8, 2008. Alabama has lost six of its last nine overtime games. The Crimson Tide is 4-6 (.400) in overtime games against SEC teams. Alabama is 2-4 (.333) in overtime home games. The Crimson Tide is 3-4 (.429) in single-overtime games.
ALABAMA'S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 179-124-4 (.590) all-time record in 307 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.
MICHIGAN GAME SET FOR COWBOYS STADIUM IN 2012: The Alabama football team will open the 2012 season against the Michigan Wolverines on Sept. 1, 2012, in the "Cowboys Stadium Classic" at Cowboys Stadium. The primetime kickoff will be televised by either ESPN or CBS and will mark the fourth time the schools have played. The Alabama-Michigan contest will mark the third time since 2008 that the Crimson Tide has opened the season at a neutral site in front of a prime time national television audience. Alabama opened the 2008 and 2009 seasons with victories against ACC opponents Clemson and Virginia Tech, respectively, in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, Ga. Alabama will be the home team and the Wolverines will be the away team. The game officials will be from the Big 12 Conference.
CRIMSON CATHEDRAL: Sporting News selected its top `Saturday Shrines' in its most recent issue and Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium was listed at No. 1. The voting was done by 70 former coaches, current coaches and broadcasters, who voted based on each school's stadium, fans, city/surroundings, traditions and history. The latest expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium, which raised the seating capacity to 101,821, and was called a `masterpiece of mixing history and modern updates.' The two-page Alabama spread also lists Sporting News' opinion of the `Five Biggest Moments' and `A Fan's View.'
NEW HIRES: The Alabama football staff features a new face in 2010 with the promotion of Jeremy Pruitt to assistant coach of the secondary. Pruitt joined the Alabama staff as Director of Player Development in 2007 after a successful stint as an assistant coach at Alabama high school powerhouse, Hoover. At Hoover, he served for three seasons as defensive backs coach with the final two as the defensive coordinator. He tutored a defense that helped the Bucs reach the Class 6A State Championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006, winning titles in 2004 and 2005. Pruitt served as an assistant coach under his father, Dale Pruitt, at Fort Payne High School from 2001-03.
TOP AIDES: Alabama's coaching staff has a wealth of knowledge across all levels of football. The nine-man Crimson Tide staff features a former head coaches at the Bowl Subdivision level in Bobby Williams (Michigan State). The staff also has six coaches that have spent time as assistant coaches in the NFL in Bo Davis (Dolphins), Jim McElwain (Raiders), Joe Pendry (19 years with multiple teams), Kirby Smart (Dolphins), Sal Sunseri (Panthers) and Bobby Williams (Lions and Dolphins). Alabama's coaching staff boasts 40-plus years of combined NFL coaching experience.
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 the University of Alabama, the Sabans have helped raise over $1.5 million - including over $450,000 this year - for "Nick's Kids" and made a total of more than 140 donations to children's charities throughout the state of Alabama.
NFL DRAFT: The Crimson Tide saw seven players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, including first-round picks Rolando McClain (eighth overall to the Oakland Raiders) and Kareem Jackson (20th overall to the Houston Texans). Alabama also had two more second-round picks in cornerback Javier Arenas (Kansas City Chiefs) and nose guard Terrence Cody (Baltimore Ravens). Offensive guard Mike Johnson went in the third round to the Atlanta Falcons while cornerback Marquis Johnson (St. Louis Rams) and Brandon Deaderick (New England Patriots) were taken in the seventh round. The Tide had eight more players sign free agent contracts, including Colin Peek (Atlanta), Eryk Anders (Cleveland), Lorenzo Washington (Dallas), Justin Woodall (Chicago), Cory Reamer (New York Jets), Leigh Tiffin (Cleveland) and P.J. Fitzgerald (New Orleans).
CRIMSON TIDE PLAYERS ON NFL ROSTERS: The Alabama football program was well represented in the NFL during the 2010 season with former players and coaches dotting league rosters. The Tide has 39 former players and coaches working in the NFL this season. Roman Harper is the only Alabama player on the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. The Crimson Tide has 28 current NFL players. There are 13 former UA players and/or coaches serving as assistant coaches in the NFL this season, including Sylvester Croom (St. Louis), Freddie Kitchens (Arizona) and Richard Williamson (Carolina).
FRESHMAN ACADEMICS: Alabama's 2009 freshman class did more than just excel on the football field, the Crimson Tide placed 12 rookies on the 2010 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll, by far the highest total in the SEC -- double the second-place team. Mississippi State was second with six while Mississippi had five and Kentucky had four. The Crimson Tide's 12 honorees equaled the total number of Arkansas (3), Tennessee (3), Florida (2), Georgia (2), Auburn (1), Vanderbilt (1) and LSU (0) combined. Alabama freshmen that made the list include: Kenny Bell, Chris Bonds, D.J. Fluker, Nico Johnson, Kendall Kelly, Eddie Lacy, A.J. McCarron, William Ming, Kevin Norwood, Trent Richardson, Chance Warmack and Kellen Williams.
ALABAMA SENIORS TO BE HONORED ON SENIOR DAY: Alabama's annual Senior Day will be held prior to the start of the Iron Bowl. Below are the Crimson Tide seniors that will be honored.
2010 ALABAMA SENIORS