FOOTBALL: Keys to the Alabama vs. Michigan Game

Melanie Collins of Total College Sports and Jason McKie breakdown the keys to the Alabama vs. Michigan football game.

McKie looks at Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who has “done it year in and year out” by “making electrifying plays” for the Michigan Wolverines. However, McKie believes that a key to this game is how effective Robinson can be with his arm against the Alabama pass defense since the obvious Alabama gameplan is to keep Robinson in the pocket.

Last season, Robinson completed 55 percent of his passes and threw 15 Interceptions. The Alabama pass defense allowed 111.4 passing yards per game. Alabama led the FBS in scoring defense allowing only 8.2 points per game.

McKie examines the Alabama offense against the Michigan defense. “Nick Saban doesn’t rebuild,” McKie said. “He reloads.” About strategy, the Alabama offensive line plays into a ball-control offense that could keep Denard Robinson off the field.

Other items on the Alabama vs. Michigan football game:
Why Alabama will beat Michigan
Can anyone stop Alabama?
Why the score could be higher than Alabama fans expect
Alabama Preview Notes for season opener

Speaking of season openers, here is a rundown from UA Media Relations of season openers:
MEMORABLE SEASON OPENERS: Here is a look at some of the memorable season openers for the Crimson Tide since World War II.

1938 – Alabama 19, Southern California 7 (Sept. 24, 1938, Los Angeles)
In front of 65,000 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Hershel Moseley threw two touchdown passes to lead Alabama to a win over the Trojans.

1940 – Alabama 26, Spring Hill 0 (Sept. 27, 1940, Mobile)
In the first night game in Alabama football history, the Tide beat Spring Hill College, 26-0, in front of 7,500 fans at Murphy High School in Mobile.

1958 – LSU 13, Alabama 3 (Sept. 27, Mobile, Ala.)
The Alabama head coaching debut of Paul “Bear “ Bryant took place at Ladd Stadium in Mobile … Bryant inherited a team that posted a 2-7-1 record in 1957 and took that team to a 5-4-1 mark in his first season.

1960 – Alabama 21, Georgia 6 (Sept. 17, 1960, Birmingham)
Alabama defeated Georgia 21-6 in the first college football game to be televised by ABC Sports.

1971 – Alabama 17, Southern California 10 (Sept. 10, Los Angeles)
Perhaps the most significant season opener in Alabama football annals was the Tide’s win at USC … UA had installed the wishbone offense and kept it a secret throughout the summer and fall camp … the Tide unleashed its attack against the Trojans and built a 17-0 lead in a rare Friday night game.

1978 – Alabama 20, Nebraska 3 (Sept. 2, Birmingham)
No. 1 ranked Alabama dominated No. 10 Nebraska before a capacity crowd at Birmingham’s Legion Field … the Crimson Tide avenged a 31-24 loss to the Cornhuskers a year earlier … Alabama dominated the game on offense as evidenced by a 16-play, 99-yard touchdown drive engineered by quarterback Jeff Rutledge … the 1978 season opener marked the only time in school history Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls.

1985 – Alabama 20, Georgia 16 (Sept. 2, Athens, Ga.)
Junior quarterback Mike Shula fired a 17-yard touchdown pass to Al Bell with 15 seconds remaining to cap a thrilling game-winning drive in the final minute to beat Georgia between the hedges … a Labor Day night crowd burst into excitement as Georgia blocked an Alabama punt and covered it in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of play … the calm and confident Shula directed the Crimson Tide down the field for the game-winner, giving ABC Sports a thrilling Monday night season opener.

1986 – Alabama 16, Ohio State 10 (Aug. 27, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Fifth-ranked Alabama defeated No. 9 Ohio State in the Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands … the game marked the last time Alabama opened the season against a team ranked in the top 25 until 2001 when UCLA traveled to Tuscaloosa.

1998 – Alabama 38, Brigham Young 31 (Sept. 5, Tuscaloosa)
Shaun Alexander rushed for an Alabama single-game record five touchdowns, leading the Crimson Tide to a 38-31 win over BYU in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium … a record crowd of 83,318 fans watched as Alexander scored on runs of 5, 37, 1, 28 and 2 yards to lead the Crimson Tide to victory.

2008 – Alabama 34, Clemson 10 (Aug. 30, Atlanta)
Nick Saban’s team dominated the No. 9 Clemson Tigers from start to finish in a 34-10 win on national TV … the Crimson Tide rushed for 239 yards while limiting Clemson to 0 rushing yards … the Alabama defense did not allow a touchdown … quarterback John Parker Wilson found the end zone twice while throwing for 189 yards and no interceptions.

2009 – Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 24 (Sept. 5, Atlanta)
Alabama started its national championship campaign with a fourth quarter comeback victory over 7th-ranked Virginia Tech … quarterback Greg McElroy (making his first collegiate start) hit Marquis Maze on a 48-yard pass to set up Mark Ingram’s six-yard touchdown run on the second Alabama drive of the fourth quarter to put the Crimson Tide up, 24-17 … McElroy threw for 230 yards in the game, while Ingram rushed for 156 yards.