SEVEN: Tide hands AU seventh loss of season

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Alabama blanks Auburn 36-0. MORE TO FOLLOW….PHOTOGRAPHS BELOW…Saban post-game quotes below.

Alabama amassed 412 yards of total offense to Auburn’s 170 in a blowout victory Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Alabama led 10-0 at halftime, but extended the lead thanks to Auburn turnovers in the second half. Alabama scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the third quarter—two of those drives began after Auburn fumbles.

Time of possession: Alabama 35:37 Auburn 24:23

ALABAMA HEAD COACH NICK SABAN POST-GAME QUOTE
“It was a great job by our coaching staff and our players. I am really proud of the players. This was not so much about the rivalry but something within our power to achieve if we had the focus. Our players did that. There is a lot of history in this rivalry and we respect that history. I am proud of our seniors. We did a good job making adjustments and we made some really good runs. We did a good job in the passing game, too. It was critical in this game to control the line of scrimmage on both sides. We controlled the running game. We ran against them and they had trouble running the ball on us. Glen (Coffee) did a great job and Mark (Ingram) did, too.”

Photograph slideshow from the game:

GAME NOTES (via UA Media Relations):
ALABAMA BREAKS STREAK; EXTENDS LEAD IN AUBURN SERIES

With the victory over Auburn, Alabama holds a 39-33-1 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. Prior to Saturday, Auburn had a six-game series winning streak, the longest in series history by the Tigers. Alabama owns the longest series winning streak at nine games from 1973-81. Before Saturday, Alabama’s last win in the series was a 31-7 victory in Auburn on Nov. 17, 2001.

BIGGEST ALABAMA VICTORY MARGIN OVER AUBURN SINCE 1962
Alabama’s 36-0 victory over Auburn represents the largest Alabama victory margin in the series since a 38-0 win in 1962. The Crimson Tide’s 36 points scored is the most against Auburn since 1977 when the Tide scored 48 in a 48-21 win. Alabama has shutout Auburn 14 times in series history, with the last coming in 1992 when Alabama beat Auburn 17-0 on Thanksgiving Day to close out the 1992 season. Alabama has scored 30 or more points in six of its previous 14 shutouts in the series. The 36-0 shutout win is the second largest shutout win by Alabama in series history. The Tide beat Auburn 38-0 in 1962 for the largest shutout win.

TIDE BOASTS 13-GAME WINNING STREAK
With the win over Auburn, the Crimson Tide has a 13-game winning streak, the longest by an Alabama team since also winning 28 straight from 1991-93, the longest win streak in Alabama history. The Tide’s current 13-game winning streak began with a 30-24 win over Colorado last season in the Independence Bowl. The current streak marks the 21st winning streak of 10 or more games in school history, an NCAA record.

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TIDE WINS 13th Straight
Alabama has reeled off 13 consecutive wins dating back to last year’s win over Colorado in the Independence Bowl. The Crimson Tide’s winning streak is tied for the longest in the nation with Utah’s 13-game streak.

Current winning streaks
Utah 13
Alabama 13
Ball State 12
Boise State 12

ALABAMA 8-0 IN SEC FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 1994
The victory over Auburn improved Alabama to 8-0 in Southeastern Conference games this season, marking the first time since 1994 that the Crimson Tides has completed conference play with an 8-0 record. That year, Alabama completed the regular season with an 8-0 SEC mark before falling to Florida in the SEC Championship Game.

UA MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD FOR REGULAR SEASON WINS
The Crimson Tide’s 12 regular season wins ties an Alabama record for most victories in the regular season, matching the 12 wins by Alabama in the 1992 season that culminated with a 13-0 record and a national championship. The 2008 squad is the seventh Alabama team to win at least 11 regular season games and the first since 1994. The other UA teams to win at least 11 regular season games are 1971 (11-0), 1973 (11-0), 1974 (11-0), 1979 (11-0), 1992 (11-0) and 1994 (11-0). A total of 12 Alabama teams have won 10 regular season games, most recently in 2002 (10-3).

SENIOR DAY AT BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM
A total of 13 seniors were introduced to the crowd prior to today’s game in recognition of their final home game with the Crimson Tide. Twelve of that group of 13 have graduated already or are on track to graduate by May of 2009. Eight of the 13 graduated before the start of the 2008 season: Antoine Caldwell, Charles Hoke, Rashad Johnson, Zeke Knight, Will Oakley, B.J. Stabler, Nikita Stover, John Parker Wilson. Caldwell is believed to be the first Alabama football player ever to graduate from the University of Alabama in less than three years, having earned his degree in August of 2007.

Head Coach Nick Saban Quotes (via UA)
Opening Statement:
“It was obviously a great win for our fans, and it was a great win for our players. We don’t have a player on our team who has experienced this before so that was our goal. It was really less about the rivalry and more about doing something that was within our power if we focused on the right things and put our energy into the right things and went out there and played good football technically – out-hit them, out-execute them – then we would have a good chance to be successful.

“I was pleased with the way that we did that. The biggest thing is that we were able to control the line of scrimmage, run it a little bit. Glen (Coffee) had a good game and that was probably the difference; they couldn’t run it on us, and that put them in a situation where their quarterback had to try to beat us a different way. I was pleased with the way we played on defense, and I thought we were solid on special teams as well.

“I’d like to say that when I came here, change was probably inevitable, but the growth that everybody has had was optional. Everybody had to buy into it, and I just want to say that the seniors that we have on this team were the key to changing the culture starting after the bowl game last year through the offseason, and now week to week in the season providing leadership and setting a tremendous example. I am really pleased for our seniors, and I want everyone to know that they should always be recognized as the group that had a tremendous amount to do with changing the culture here. We are proud of our team, our players, and our coaching staff who have done a phenomenal job throughout the season, and we have one more challenge left against a great opponent.”

On Terrence Cody being back at full strength:
“It helps us tremendously, because he’s hard to single block. I made the comment last week that I thought he practiced a lot better, and that he had his quickness and mobility back. I think the bye week helped him. I also think it helped his conditioning. I felt like he was back to his old self, and he played pretty well out there today. They can’t single block him very often, and that helps the rest of our players in terms of how we can play as a defense as well as how they can play individually.”

On what he said to the team after the game:
“I told them that I was proud of them, that this was a great win, and they made a lot of people proud. I’m happy for our fans. We’ve had great atmospheres at the University of Alabama since I’ve been here and never any better than it was tonight at this game. They’ve had a tremendous impact on this team, and I really think that they are proud of the way the team plays as well as the character that the team has shown. This team has represented this university and this state in a first class way, and I’m really proud of that. It’s a great accomplishment to get where they are now, and they did it with a lot of hard work and perseverance.”

Senior Safety Rashad Johnson
On the emotion of earning the victory:
“My emotions are through the roof. I cannot really explain how it feels. It is just a great feeling. We did it in a first class manner with a shutout and were able to dominate the game.”

On the play of the Alabama defense:
“It means a lot to earn the shutout. We were just trying to get better every week. We practiced hard and were able to finish the game.”

On heading into the SEC Championship Game:
“It’s the next game, but just on a bigger stage. We are going to approach it like any other game. We are going to meet on Monday and get set for Florida . They have a really fast offense and a stifling defense so we are going to have to work to get to where we want to be.”

Senior Quarterback John Parker Wilson
On beating Auburn :
“It has been a long time since we have been able to do this. It says a lot about our seniors and the leaders that we have. To come out and score all these points it feels good but we have a lot left that we have to do. We will learn from this game and get ready for the next one.”

On the offensive front and the running game:
“We were able to make their defensive front pretty much give up by the way we were padding them. We were able to do it all game and it was working so we stayed with it.”

Junior Defensive Tackle Terrance Cody
On the play of the defensive line:
“We practiced all week about staying low. We knew they had a good offensive line. We came out with our intensity and were able to knock them back.”

On getting the win against Auburn :
“It is big. It is especially big for the seniors. Before the game all the defensive linemen all said that they were going to play this game for our lone senior on the line Bobby Greenwood. We played this game for him and came out there and played hard.”

Junior Running Back Glenn Coffee
On the touchdown run:
“I was able to go around the outside and Drew [ Davis ] had it shielded off. I just saw the daylight when I turned the corner. The line had cut off everybody so it was just a race to the end zone.”

On the play of the line:
“They showed up like they do every game. Running behind them doesn’t really give us that much to do except hit those holes full speed and take care of the rest.”

Auburn Head Coach Tommy Tuberville (via UA)
Opening Statement:
“All streaks must come to an end and our streak came to a halt tonight. We ran into a good football team. We needed them to make mistakes and they didn’t and we needed not to make mistakes and we did. But that’s what good football teams make you do is make you make mistakes. They’re very aggressive on defense and offense. They forced our hand, forced us to execute, forced our quarterback to throw the ball down the field. Got into space and weren’t able to run that consistent and we weren’t able to take advantage the first half. We had a little bit of field position. I want to thank our seniors. They’ve won a lot of games here and I just told them they’ve done a great job for Auburn . I hate for them to end on a note like this. It’s been a tough year. I put them in a very tough situation with what I did this year starting out with offense. It’s totally my fault. I made that mistake, it’s not theirs. We just never recovered from it as the season went on, on offense. Defensively we gave up too many big plays. We knew they were going to run the ball. They made some good third down conversions in the first half that gave them opportunity. I think the blocked field goal at the end of the half was pretty key. We moved the ball and moved it down the field. But take nothing away from Alabama . They’re a good team, we knew that going in. They’re physical, they’re big. ( Alabama ’s) fifth year senior quarterback made some amazing third down throws, second down throws and that’s what it takes to win games and win championships. Again, it was tough night for us, we could say ‘hey they scored that many points on your defense but our defense was out there most of the night and we just weren’t able to keep up with them on offense.”

On the season as a whole:
“We’ve got a better football team than what we’ve played most of the year. I don’t know if whether tonight would’ve been any different if we would’ve played like that and not turned the ball over. Throughout the season, we were a better football team than just wining five games. We just found ways not to win a couple of games, found ways not to push forward. I take my hat off to them. You lose as many games as we lost, but you come back each week and practice hard and try to get better. We had good senior leadership. Not a lot of seniors on the team, but the ones that were with us they wanted awfully bad to get to a bowl game.”

On being judged by body of work or single season:
Yeah I’m committed to it, to get this thing going again. In this conference in college football, you’re going to have up and down years. I have total confidence that I can get this thing turned around. It was my fault that we got it this way in terms of our offense. We were just never very consistent on offense. But I’m committed to getting it done. We’ll start immediately in recruiting and working in that direction

On what they need to do to get better:
“Well we’ve got to get back on offense. We’ve got to figure out where we want to be, what we want to do, who’s going to do it. I’ve got a lot of guys in mind, lot of interest. We’ve got to recruit some guys that can make big plays, we don’t have that. We’ve got to get a few more offensive lineman. We’ve got to get back to being more physical. We’ve got to get a playmaker. Recruiting’s going good and going very well. It’s just one of those things. We’ve just got to keep bringing guys in, get back to what we can do and I tried to force something on them and I tried it for the right reasons. But it went into a tailspin and we never really fell out of it.”