CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

September 18, 2011

ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Defense shuts out Mean Green

Richardson, Lacy finish with career numbers

By Stan Veitch
The Cullman Times

TUSCALOOSA — Saturday’s game was a classic David vs. Goliath matchup, but in this instance, the little guy wasn’t able to pull it out.

Instead, it was Alabama which came through with a 41-0 victory, belying the legend this time.

“Our goal was to improve — we wanted to eliminate some of our deficiencies tonight,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “We were able to get some of them worked out but we still need to work on some others.”

The offense, while scoring 41 points, was one area that Saban touched on as needing work before next week’s game against Arkansas.

“Not finishing drives isn’t a good thing,” he said. “We had to go for field goals on four of our drives — and only made two of those.

“We’re having a lot of good plays, but we had a lot of negative plays and the consequences of that can be bad.”

With several long runs, especially in the second half, Bama wound up with 347 rushing yards on 33 carries — an average of over 10 yards per touch.

“If you can average 4 yards a carry, that’s supposed to be good,” Saban said. “I think that if you subtracted all the big runs, we would still have that, but again, we had way too many negative plays.”

The Crimson Tide notched a 26-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal on their first possession and the rout was officially on, despite several first-half offensive miscues.

Alabama went on to score two touchdowns and two field goals in the first half.

For the game, the Tide scored on only three-of-five red zone chances.

Meanwhile, the defense was more than holding its own against North Texas, which never threatened until the first drive of the second half.

The Mean Green drove to the Alabama 25 and lined up for a 42-yard field goal on fourth-and-5. Robert Lester was there to block it, however.

“That was a very exciting play,” defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick said. “I told Robert he was going to block that one and he did.

“It really fired the defense up.”

North Texas’ offense never got close to scoring again until the final minutes, when Bama had its reserves in on defense.

“Our goal, every week, is to allow 13 points or less,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “That one was a great opportunity for our backups. It shows that no matter who we put in, we’re going for the shutout.

“It really shows how hard we work on defense.”

After Lester’s block, the teams traded possessions, but when the Tide got the ball back a second time, it took only one play for Trent Richardson to score from 58 yards out.

The Tide ended the scoring with a 71-yard Richardson run and a 67-yard rush by Eddie Lacy, who had earlier scored on a 43-yard run.

“We had two guys with over 150 rushing yards,” Saban said. “To be able to have that statistic, against any team, tells the level of play of your running backs.”

Richardson led Alabama with 169 yards on 11 plays and Lacy had 163 on nine rushes.

The Tide opens Southeastern Conference play next week as Arkansas comes to town.

“That’s what we play for,” Kirkpatrick said. “When you get to SEC play, it’s more mental and you have to be more serious. You have to do everything you can to concentrate on the game at hand, because every game is a tough game.”

Stan Veitch can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at stanv@cullmantimes.com.