Preview notes: Alabama vs. Duke

Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide

Here are the game preview notes courtesy of Duke Media Relations and Alabama Media Relations. Enjoy.

GAME 3: Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. Duke (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Saturday, September 18 • 2:30 p.m. • ABC
Wallace Wade Stadium (37,845) • Durham, N.C.

The Blue Devils will welcome No. 1 Alabama to Durham on Saturday, Sept. 18 for a 3:30 p.m. (eastern) game in Wallace Wade Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC Sports with Beth Mowins (Play-by-Play), Ray Bentley (Analyst) and Jenn Brown (Sideline) calling the action. It will also be aired nationally on the ACC ISP Sports Radio Network with Matt Chazanow (Play-by-Play) and Sonny Randle (Analyst) announcing the game.

At halftime, Duke will honor its 1944 team that defeated Alabama in the 1945 Sugar Bowl and also will honor the Blue Devil women’s basketball team for winning the 2010 ACC Tournament Championship.

Duke Athletics has added eight sections of temporary bleachers, totaling 3,904 seats, for the Blue Devils’ matchup with Alabama on Saturday. The temporary sections will be on fi eld level in the north and south end zones, as well as in six sections placed around the concourse level. The offi cial capacity of Wallace Wade Stadium is 33,941. With the additional seats, capacity for the Duke-Alabama contest will be 37,845.

Duke scored 48 points, including 35 in the first half,but suffered a 54-48 loss in the fi rst ACC game of the season at Wake Forest.

The Blue Devils amassed 487 yards of total offense with 358 through the air and 129 on the ground.

Sean Renfree was the catalyst for the offense, throwing for 358 yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-44 passing.

Conner Vernon had eight receptions for a careerhigh 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Desmond Scott averaged 11.1 yards per carry in posting his second career 100-yard game. Scott fi nished with 122 yards on 11 attempts.

For the second straight game, Duke had two interceptions as cornerbacks Chris Rwabukamba and Ross Cockrell both earned their fi rst picks of the season.

Matt Daniels fi nished the game with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups.

Will Snyderwine made fi eld goals of 46 and 38 yards.

The Blue Devils only committed three penalties for a total of 28 yards.

Duke’s stadium namesake, Wallace Wade, coached at both Alabama (61-13-2 record from 1923-30) and Duke (110-36-7 record from 1931-41; 46-50) … He guided both schools to Rose Bowl appearances (1925, 1926, 1930, 1938 & 1941) and led the Crimson Tide to national championships in 1925, 1926 and 1930 before being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955.

Duke’s football stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in 1967.

Wade’s bust sits outside the north entrance of the stadium that bears his name in Durham while a bronze statue of the legendary coach stands outside of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium alongside Bryant, Frank Thomas and Gene Stallings … A statue of current Tide head coach Nick Saban is slated to be erected this year.

THE GAME: Top-ranked Alabama makes its first road trip of the 2010 season with a visit to Durham, North Carolina, to take on the Duke Blue Devils at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Wallace Wade Stadium. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools but the first trip to Durham for the Tide. The Blue Devils are 1-1 on the season with a 41-27 win over Elon and a 54-48 loss to Wake Forest. The game will be televised on ABC with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CD)/3:30 p.m. EDT. Beth Mowins will call the action with Ray Bentley as the color analyst and Jenn Brown 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.

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 Jan. 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 30-8 record (35-8 before 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 121-50-1 (126-50-1) 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 opened the 2010 season ranked first in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ preseason polls and have maintained that ranking through the first two polls of the season. The preseason No. 1 ranking was just the third such honor in school history (1966, 1978 & 2010). Duke is not ranked in either poll entering this week’s contest.

DUKE SERIES: Alabama has won the last two meetings against Duke in a series that dates back to the 1945 Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide own a 2-1 lead in the series after capturing a 30-14 win in Tuscaloosa in 2006 and a 35-12 victory in Birmingham in 1972. Duke’s win in the series came at the conclusion of the 1944 season with a 29-26 victory in the 1945 Sugar Bowl at New Orleans. This is the Crimson Tide’s first visit to Wallace Wade Stadium, which is named after the former Crimson Tide coach that led Alabama for eight seasons from 1923-30 before leading Alabama to its first three national championships in 1925, 1926 and 1930, before departing for Duke, where he coached the Blue Devils for 16 seasons from 1931-50.

NEXT GAME: Alabama opens SEC play on Sept. 25 with a visit to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Crimson Tide lead the series 10-8 (13-7 without NCAA rulings) after a dominating 35-7 win over the Razorbacks last season in Tuscaloosa. The Tide has now won three straight in the series and four of the last five contests. Alabama’s last visit to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium came in 2008, a commanding 49-14 Alabama victory. The Crimson Tide is 5-4 against Arkansas on the road, including a 3-4 record at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville and a 2-0 mark at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama’s success on the field over the past two seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has also 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 begins the 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 project for 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. This renovation mirrors the north end zone project that was completed in 2006. 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, Yogart Lab and a new university admissions office welcome center. Alabama’s season-opening crowd of 101,821 is a new record for the school and the most people to ever watch a football game in the state of Alabama.

STREAKING AT BRYANT-DENNY: Alabama has won 16 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium dating back to the home opener against Tulane in 2008. It is tied for the fourth-longest streak in school history at Bryant-Denny Stadium and is just two shy of the third-place streak. 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 8-0 against SEC competition and 3-0 against top 25 teams.

Longest Winning Streaks at BDS
57 Oct. 26, 1963 – Nov. 13, 1982
20 Nov. 1, 1941 – Nov. 11, 1950
18 Sept. 28, 1929 – Sept. 28, 1935
16 Nov. 23, 1957 – Oct. 12, 1963
16 Nov. 9, 1935 – Oct. 12, 1940
16 Sept. 6, 2008 – Present

26 STRAIGHT REGULAR-SEASON WINS FOR TIDE: Alabama has reeled off 26 consecutive regular-season victories after a 24-3 win over Penn State last weekend. The win streak dates back to the 2008 season opener against Clemson. UA’s last regular-season loss came at Auburn on Nov. 24, 2007. During that stretch, the Crimson Tide boasts a 28-2 overall record with its only losses coming to Florida in the 2008 SEC Championship Game and Utah in the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Tide is also a perfect 16-0 in SEC play over the last two years, becoming just the second team (Florida – 1995 & 1996) in conference history to post back-to-back undefeated 8-0 records since the league split into a divisional format in 1992.
NO. 1 ROLLS ON: With the Crimson Tide’s 24-3 win over then-No. 18/14 Penn State, in the last 15 years the Associated Press’s No. 1-ranked team is 27-0 on its home field against a ranked opponent. That streak dates back to a 36-33 Auburn win at No. 1 Florida in 1994.

TOUGH SLATE: Alabama once again has one of the most difficult schedules in the nation with five games against teams ranked in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll Preseason Top 25. The Tide beat then-No. 18 Penn State on Sept. 11 and travels to No. 12 Arkansas on Sept. 25. The Tide’s other preseason top 25 opponents include Florida, LSU and Auburn.

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).

TIDE PLAYERS EARN EARLY 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.

22 NATIONAL TV GAMES IN LAST 31 GAMES: The Duke game in Durham, N.C., on Saturday, will be broadcast on ABC and will be the Crimson Tide’s 22nd nationally televised game since the start of the 2008 season. 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 31-1 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: The Crimson Tide is 31-1 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban, including a 24-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 2-2 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 two wins when tied at halftime came at LSU (Nov. 8, 2008) with a 27-21 victory and at Auburn with a 26-21 win on Nov. 27, 2009.

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 is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football 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 (70.6 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.

ALABAMA TIED FOR MOST WINS SINCE 2008: Alabama has won 28 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season, which is 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 and is off to a 2-0 start in 2010 after a win over No. 18/14 Penn State. Alabama is joined by Florida with 28 wins over the past two-plus years.

TOTAL WINS (2008-present)
Team Total wins 2008/2009/2010
Alabama 28 12/14/2
Florida 28 13/13/2
Boise State 27 12/14/1
Texas 27 12/13/2
TCU 25 11/12/2
Utah 24 12/10/2
Cincinnati 24 11/12/1
Penn State 23 11/11/1

FIRST-TIME STARTERS FOR THE CRIMSON TIDE: A total of 18 Alabama players have made their first collegiate starts this season – 13 positional starters and 5 specialists. Three first-time starters have been on offense: LG Chance Warmack, RT DJ Fluker, RB Trent Richardson. There have been 10 first-time starters were on defense: DE Damion Square, DE Luther Davis, NG Kerry Murphy, Sam LB Chavis Williams, Will LB Jerrell Harris, Jack LB Ed Stinson, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB DeQuan Menzie, CB DeMarcus Milliner and FS Robert Lester. 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.

2009 OFFENSE ONE OF SCHOOL’S BEST: Alabama returns 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). UA scored the fifth-most offensive touchdowns in a season with 48, completed the fourth-highest total of passes with 212 and set the school mark with 30 field goals.

In 2010, Alabama is off to an even hotter start, averaging 500.0 yards of total offense per game to rank 16th nationally. The rushing offense is ranked 29th at 218.5 yards per game while the passing offense is 24th at 281.5 yards per game. The Crimson Tide is scoring 36.0 points per game to ranked tied for 33rd.

McELROY’S SENIOR SEASON STARTING RIGHT: Senior quarterback Greg McElroy has gotten off to a great start in 2010, showing a commanding presence as both a leader and playmaker for the Crimson Tide. The Southlake, Texas, native has completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He is fifth nationally in passing efficiency at 191.12 (second in SEC to MSU’s Tyler Russell).

McElroy has attempted 138 passes since his last interception (LSU, 2009), which is the second-longest streak during his career (141 attempts in 2009). His current streak of attempts without an interception is the fourth longest in school history, while his 141-attempt streak last season is the third longest in school history. McElroy has thrown just five interceptions in 385 career pass attempts. That comes out to one interception every 77 pass attempts, which is the best mark in SEC history (Tim Tebow, 1:62.2).

McELROY PASSES 3,000-YARD MARK: Senior quarterback Greg McElroy completed 16 of 24 pass attempts for 229 yards and two touchdowns against Penn State to surpass 3,000 passing yards for his career. He now has 3,151 career passing yards at Alabama and is closing in on the top 10 on the Alabama career passing yards list. Tyler Watts (1999-2002) currently ranks 10th on the list with 3,540 career passing yards.

TIDE’S RUNNING GAME STILL STRONG IN INGRAM’S ABSENCE: Sophomore running back Trent Richardson has been nothing short of amazing during the opening two games of the 2010 season. The native of Pensacola, Fla., replaced injured Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram in the starting lineup, and has made the best of his opportunity. Richardson has rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns on just 32 carries for a 6.6 yards per carry average. With 144 yards and a touchdown against Penn State, he was the first rusher to eclipse 100 yards on the ground against the Nittany Lions’ defense since Iowa’s Shonn Greene gained 117 yards on 28 carries on November 8, 2008 – a span of 17 games played without the Nittany Lions yielded that to a single back – which was the third-longest streak in the nation entering the game.

TIDE FLAGGED FOR RARE HOLDING PENALTY: Alabama’s first scoring drive last Saturday against Penn State was briefly hindered by an offensive holding penalty charged to left guard Chance Warmack. The penalty marked the first time in 42+ quarters that Alabama had been assessed an offensive holding call. Prior to that, the Alabama offensive line’s last holding penalty came in the middle of the second quarter of the Kentucky game on October 3, 2009, when left tackle James Carpenter was flagged. The streak spanned 10 complete games and roughly 645 minutes of game action.

RETURNING HEISMAN WINNER: Alabama running back Mark Ingram returns for his junior season after capturing the school’s first Heisman Trophy on the 75th anniversary of the award in 2009. He missed the Crimson Tide’s opening two games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, August 31, just prior to UA’s season opener. Ingram is expected to return to practice this week. He rushed for 1,658 yards and 20 total touchdowns in 2009 to become the first Heisman Trophy winning running back to also help his team win the national championship in the same season since Tony Dorsett in 1976. Ingram is also one of just six players to win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in the same season since 1950. He is also the first Heisman Trophy winning running 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.

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. But with eight returning starters in 2010, the Crimson Tide offense has a chance to be one of the most explosive in school history.

Alabama has shown that balance early in the 2010 season with 1,000 yards of total offense, including 563 yards in the air and 437 on the ground. The Tide has thrown 54 total passes (41.9 percent) — completing 38 (70.4 percent) — while running the ball 75 times (58.1 percent).

100-YARD RUSHERS AND RECEIVERS: Alabama had 23 100-yard rushers and eight 100-yard receivers over the last three-plus seasons since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. Junior running back Mark Ingram has recorded 10 100-yard rushing games during his career while Trent Richardson has three 100-yard rushing efforts and Eddie Lacy one. Junior Julio Jones is the only current player on the roster with a 100-yard receiving game. Under Saban, Alabama has gone 21-1 in those 22 games (both Ingram and Richardson went for 100 yards against Texas). The LSU game on Nov. 7, 2009, marked the fourth time under Saban that Alabama has had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game. The Texas game also marked the first time under Saban that Alabama has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game. It was just the 11th time in school history two players rushed for 100 yards in the same game and the first time since Kenneth Darby and Ray Hudson did it against Utah State on September 4, 2004.

100-Yard Rushers (22-1)
246 by Mark Ingram vs. South Carolina (Oct. 17, 2009) W

218 by Glen Coffee vs. Kentucky (Oct. 4, 2008) W

173 by Terry Grant at Vanderbilt (Sept. 8, 2007) W

172 by Mark Ingram at Mississippi (Oct. 10, 2009) W

162 by Glen Coffee at Arkansas (Sept. 20, 2008) W

150 by Mark Ingram vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 5, 2009) W

149 by Mark Ingram vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 14, 2009) W

144 by Trent Richardson vs. Penn State (Sept. 11, 2010 W

144 by Mark Ingram vs. LSU (Nov. 7, 2009) W

144 by Glen Coffee vs. Auburn (Nov. 29, 2008) W

140 by Mark Ingram at Kentucky (Oct. 3, 2009) W

134 by Terry Grant vs. Western Carolina (Sept. 1, 2007) W

126 by Glen Coffee at LSU (Nov. 8, 2008) W

121 by Glen Coffee vs. Houston (Oct. 6, 2007) W

118 by Trent Richardson vs. Florida International (Sept. 12, 2009) W

116 by Mark Ingram vs. Texas (Jan. 7, 2010) (BCS) W

113 by Mark Ingram vs. Florida (Dec. 5, 2009) (SEC) W

113 by Mark Ingram vs. Arkansas State (Nov. 1, 2008) W

111 by Eddie Lacy vs. San Jose State (Sept. 4, 2009) W

112 by Glen Coffee vs. Florida (Dec. 6, 2008) (SEC) L

109 by Trent Richardson vs. Texas (Jan. 7, 2010) (BCS) W

104 by Terry Grant vs. Tennessee (Oct. 20, 2007) W

102 by Mark Ingram vs. Chattanooga (Nov. 21, 2009) W

100-Yard Receivers (7-1)
185 by D.J. Hall vs. Tennessee (Oct. 20, 2007) W

172 by D.J. Hall at Arkansas (Sept. 15, 2007) W

140 by D.J. Hall at Mississippi (Oct. 13, 2007) W

128 by Julio Jones at LSU (Nov. 8, 2008) W

124 by Julio Jones vs. Florida (Dec. 6, 2008) (SEC) L

103 by Julio Jones at Tennessee (Oct. 25, 2008) W

102 by Julio Jones vs. LSU (Nov. 7, 2009) W

100 by Mike McCoy vs. Florida International (Sept. 12, 2009) W

100-Yard Rusher/Receiver in Same Game (3-1)
Tennessee (Oct. 20, 2007) W 104 by Terry Grant and 185 by D.J. Hall
vs. Florida (Dec. 6, 2008) (SEC Champ.) L 112 by Glen Coffee and 124 by Julio Jones
Florida International (Sept. 12, 2009) W 118 by Trent Richardson and 100 by Mike McCoy
LSU (Nov. 7, 2009) W 144 by Mark Ingram and 102 by Julio Jones

GROUND DEFENSE: The Crimson Tide has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in an astonishing 36 games, dating back to Oct. 13, 2007, when Mississippi’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 yards. That is the longest streak in the nation, 11 games more than second-place Ohio State (25 games). Alabama was one of three teams not to allow a 100-yard rusher in 2009 and is the only team not to surrender a 100-yard rusher in 2008 or 2009. Over the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the Crimson Tide held 24 opponents to under 100 yards rushing with only LSU and Florida in 2008, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Auburn in 2009 and Penn State in 2010 able to crack the 100-yard barrier as a team.

Team Consecutive Games Last Time It Happened (Opponent)
Alabama 35 Oct. 13, 2007 (Mississippi)
Ohio State 24 Sept. 13, 2008 (Southern California)

FORCING TURNOVERS: Alabama’s ability to produce turnovers in recent years has fueled the Crimson Tide’s success. The Crimson Tide is off to another good start in 2010 with five turnovers and just two giveaways in the first two games. UA has intercepted four passes and recovered on fumble for a +1.50 turnover margin that ranks 15th nationally. Alabama has forced 85 turnovers in 43 games under head coach Nick Saban (an average of 1.98 per game) while forcing 36 turnovers in 16 games. 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 38 of 43 games under Saban. UA is 32-6 under Saban when gaining at least one turnover. Alabama is 3-2 in games without a turnover over the last three seasons.

DEFENSE TOUGH ON THIRD DOWN: Third down defense has been crucial for Alabama over the past two-plus seasons. 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. Alabama has been even better in 2010, allowing just five third-down conversion in 27 attempts (22.2 percent) to rank tied for 10th nationally.

POINTS HARD TO COME BY AGAINST TIDE: Alabama has not surrendered a touchdown in 2010 and a total of just six points in eight quarters this season (two games). The Tide allowed a field goal to both San Jose State in the opener and to No. 18/14 Penn State last Saturday. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in scoring defense at 3.0 points per game in 2010 after finishing second in scoring defense last season at 11.7 points per game. Over the last 30 games (start of the 2008 season), Alabama has allowed just 370 points or 12.33 points per game.

HIGHTOWER RETURNS: Sophomore linebacker Dont’a Hightower returns for this third season at the Capstone as the man in the middle of Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’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, who played will linebacker during his first two years at UA, has moved over to fill the Mike linebacker role left by the departed Buktus Award winner Rolando McClain, who was the eighth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Hightower should also see time with his hand in the dirt on passing downs to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills. The Lewisburg, Tenn., native has 88 career tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. Hightower has eight tackles — three solo — a pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in 2010.

BARRON MAKING PRESENCE KNOWN: Safety Mark Barron is one of the most prominent safeties in the nation in 2010. 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 off to another strong start as the leader of the Crimson Tide secondary. He is third on the team in tackles with nine while recording one interception, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.

THE ALABAMA/DUKE SERIES: Alabama has won the last two meetings against Duke in a series that dates back to the 1945 Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide own a 2-1 lead in the series after capturing a 30-14 win in Tuscaloosa in 2006 and a 35-12 victory in Birmingham in 1972. Duke’s win in the series came at the conclusion of the 1944 season with at 29-26 victory in the 1945 Sugar Bowl at New Orleans. This game will be the Crimson Tide’s first visit to Wallace Wade Stadium, which is named after the former Crimson Tide coach that led Alabama for eight seasons from 1923-30. Wade also led the Tide to its first three national championships in 1925, 1926 and 1930, before departing for Duke, where he coached the Blue Devils for 16 seasons from 1931-50.

Duke (UA leads 2-1)
Date Result Site Score Total
Jan. 1, 1945 L N* 26-29 26-29
Sept. 9, 1972 W H** 35-12 61-41
Oct. 7, 2006 W H 30-14 91-55
*—Sugar Bowl (New Orleans)

ALABAMA VS. THE ACC: The Crimson Tide has a strong history against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents with a 78-34-4 (.690) advantage in 116 games. Alabama has opened the previous two seasons against a team from the ACC in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Tide took down Clemson 34-10 on opening day in 2008, a game which started the 26-game regular season winning streak that Alabama brings into Durham this week. The Crimson Tide began their 2009 national championship campaign with a 34-24 come-from-behind victory over Virginia Tech. Alabama’s last defeat at the hands of an ACC opponent came in the 2007 River City Showdown when Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles held off a late Alabama comeback to beat the Tide, 21-14. The last time Alabama played a regular season game at an ACC opponent’s home field was 1996 when the Tide traveled to Raleigh, N.C., to face North Carolina State. Alabama won that game 24-19.

SABAN VS. THE ACC: Coach Nick Saban is 3-2 (.600) all-time against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference and 2-1 in his three neutral site meetings against ACC teams during his tenure at Alabama. The only time a Saban coached team played at an ACC opponent’s stadium it resulted in a loss. Saban’s 2002 LSU team fell in its season opener, 26-8, to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. With the exception of the 2000 Peach Bowl (his first game against an ACC team), Saban has never faced an ACC opponent outside of the month of September.

SABAN VS. DUKE: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has never faced the Duke Blue Devils as a head coach. He is 2-1 (.667) all-time against teams that currently make up the Coastal Division of the Atlanta Coast Conference.

SABAN VS. CUTCLIFFE: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a 4-1 record against David Cutcliffe. Saban’s teams at LSU posted wins over Cutcliffe’s Mississippi squads in 2000 (20-9), 2002 (14-13), 2003 (17-14) and 2004 (27-24). Cutcliffe’s win came in 2001, a 35-24 Rebels victory over the Tigers.

A COACHING LEGEND SHARED: Coach Wallace Wade could be the one person most responsible for making college football in the South respected on the national scene. His 1925 Alabama Crimson Tide team went 9-0 in the regular season, only allowing seven points while shutting out eight opponents. The team was selected to play in the Rose Bowl, the first team from the South to ever receive an invitation to the game. Wade’s team shocked the college football world by defeating a powerful Washington team, 20-19, to claim Alabama’s first national championship. Wade would go on to win two more national championships ,in 1926 and 1930, with teams that dominated the Southern Conference. After his third national championship season in 1930 at Alabama, Wade left Tuscaloosa to become the head coach at Duke. Even though Wade was unable to match the national championship success he had at Alabama, he is still the winningest coach in Blue Devils football history and holds the highest-winning percentage among Duke coaches who coached at least 10 games. His 1941 Blue Devils team finished ranked second by the Associated Press. Wade won 10 Southern Conference championships (four at Alabama and six at Duke) and is the namesake of Duke’s football stadium. Wallace Wade Avenue, which runs along the west side of Bryant-Denny Stadium, is also named in his honor. Wade’s combined head coaching record at Alabama and Duke was 171-49-10 (.765).

CUTCLIFFE AN ALABAMA GRAD: Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is a 1976 graduate of the University of Alabama and a one-time student assistant on coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s staff at Alabama. Cutcliffe, a native of Birmingham, Ala., is in his third hear at the helm of the Duke program with a 10-15 record, including a 1-1 mark this season. He also spent seven years as the head coach at Mississippi where he posted a 44-29 record and took the Rebels to five bowls games with a 4-1 record in those game, including a Cotton Bowl victory at the end of the 2003 season. Cutcliffe also spent 19 years on the coaching staff at Tennessee (1982-90; 2006-07) and helped groom quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Heath Shuler, Eli Manning (Mississippi) and Todd Helton.

COACHING STAFF PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Alabama coaching staff recognized five players of the week following a 24-3 win over No. 18/14 Penn State. Right tackle D.J. Fluker and running back Trent Richardson were selected on offense while Mark Barron and Robert Lester garnered defensive accolades. Julio Jones was the special teams player of the week.

Richardson rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown while accounting for a career-best 207 all-purpose yards. Fluker did not give up any sacks or hurries while helping the Tide offense produce 409 yards of offense.

Defensively, Barron and Lester patrolled the secondary and accounted for two interceptions and 11 tackles. Barron registered six tackles with a pick and a pass breakup while Lester had five tackles, an 89-yard fumble return and an interception. Jones handled four fair catches on the punt return team while serving as a gunner on the punt cover team that did not allow a punt to be returned.

Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and Julio Jones lead the way through two games with two player of the week awards.

UA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (recognized by coaches)
San Jose State
Offense: Julio Jones, Trent Richardson
Defense: Mark Barron
Special Teams: Chris Jordan, Cade Foster

Penn State
Offense: Trent Richardson, D.J. Fluker
Defense: Mark Barron, Robert Lester
Special Teams: Julio Jones

SEC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: 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. The sophomore from Pensacola, Fla., also caught a team-high four passes for 46 yards. He totaled a career-best 207 all-purpose yards in the Tide’s 16th straight victory. South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore also shared the honor after rushing for 182 yards and two scores against Georgia.

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.

ALABAMA’S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 172-122-4 (.584) all-time record in 298 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.

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.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Coach Saban also spent a little time behind the camera during the offseason. He flew out to Los Angeles to film an ESPN College GameDay commercial with Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler. Saban was also the center of a feature film, Nick Saban: Gamechanger, which was released in theaters in August.

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).

2010 NFL Rosters
Player Pos. Team
Mark Anderson DE Chicago Bears
Javier Arenas DB Kansas City Cheifs
Anthony Bryant DB Washington Redskins
Antoine Caldwell C Houston Texans
Tim Castille RB Kansas City Cheifs
Terrence Cody DT Baltimore Ravens
Brodie Croyle QB Kansas City Chiefs
Kenneth Darby RB St. Louis Rams
Brandon Deaderick DE New England Patriots
Wallace Gilberry DL Kansas City Chiefs
Roman Harper DB New Orleans Saints
Kareem Jackson DB Houston Texans
Jarret Johnson LB Baltimore Ravens
Mike Johnson OL Atlanta Falcons
Rashad Johnson DB Arizona Cardinals
Anthony Madison DB Pittsburgh Steelers
Evan Mathis OL Cincinnati Bengals
LeRon McClain FB Baltimore Ravens
Rolando McClain LB Oakland Raiders
Antwan Odom DL Cincinnati Bengals
Charlie Peprah DB Green Bay Packers
DeMeco Ryans LB Houston Texans
Justin Smiley OL Jacksonville Jaguars
Andre Smith OL Cincinnati Bengals
Deshea Townsend DB Indianapolis Colts
John Parker Wilson QB Atlanta Falcons
Bobby Greenwood DL Kansas City Chiefs (Practice Squad)

NFL Coaches:
Coach Team
Bruce Arians Pittsburgh Steelers
Sylvester Croom St. Louis Rams
Jeff Fitzgerald Cincinnati Bengals
Amos Jones Pittsburgh Steelers
Larry Kirksey Houston Texans
Freddie Kitchens Arizona Cardinals
John Mitchell Pittsburgh Steelers
Rip Scherer Carolina Panthers
Rory Segrest Philadelphia Eagles
Mike Shula Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Solari Seattle Seahawks
Ricky Thomas Indianapolis Colts
Richard Williamson Carolina Panthers

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.

Team Total Honorees
1. Alabama 12
2. Mississippi State 6
3. Mississippi 5
4. Kentucky 4
5. Arkansas 3
5. South Carolina 3
5. Tennessee 3
8. Florida 2
8. Georgia 2
10. Auburn 1
10.Vanderbilt 1
12. LSU 0


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    Lights Camera Action Feat

    […] Capstone Report » Preview notes: Alabama vs. Duke 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 opened the 2010 season ranked first in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION Coach Saban also spent a little time behind the camera during the offseason. He flew out to Los Angeles to film an ESPN College GameDay commercial with Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler. […]

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