Football in Alabama got off to a troubling start but managed a sleepy 34-0 win over Austin Peay on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide lost two fumbles in the first quarter, helping the team lead only 7-0 midway through the second quarter. Two of Alabama’s freshman wide receivers were the culprits of the errors. Kendrick Law was the victim of bad luck and poor communications when a short, clumsy punt hit him from behind and was subsequently recovered by the governors due to another error by the Tide special team. Later in the quarter, Isaiah Bond was stripped clean in an end-around. Even against the lowest level of competition, the Alabama 2022 football team just can’t avoid themselves.
Alabama Football Offensive Grade: C-
The Alabama offensive was largely inconspicuous in the game except for a few bright spots. The Crimson Tide was able to run the ball with some efficiency, totaling 263 yards for 5.8 yards per carry. While Jahmyr Gibbs sat out, Jase McClellan paced the tide for the second straight week. McClellan gained 156 yards on over 9 YPC and scored two touchdowns. Roydell Williams was also effective, gaining 66 total yards on 11 touches.
Jermaine Burton had his best game in an Alabama uniform, catching seven for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Burton accounted for more than half of Bryce Young’s passing yards and more than half of Jalen Milroe’s production. No other Alabama receiver had a significant impact on the game. Traeshon Holden, who had three catches for 38 yards, was the only other Bama receiver with over 20 yards.
Alabama Football Defensive Grade: B-
The Alabama defense allowed some early yards but ultimately made enough plays to sustain the shutout. The defense was twice put into disadvantageous situations early in the game when Bama turnovers resulted in a good field position for Austin Peay. The governors failed to convert a quarter down on one possession and then missed a field goal on the next.
For the game, the defense allowed a total of 206 yards. It allowed just 59 yards on the ground (2.4 YPC) and held the governors to 4.5 yards per through attempt. While it managed to stop the run, Alabama wasn’t very disruptive in Austin Peay’s backfield. It recorded just four tackles for loss, two quarterback rushes and zero sacks.
The Crimson Tide defense forced three turnovers in the game, which has been difficult for her this season. Two of Alabama’s top defensemen, sophomore cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry and junior safety Brian Branch, each nabbed their first interceptions of the season. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Damon Payne pounced on a fumble to force another turnover.
While that game didn’t bring the satisfaction of total dominance to the Alabama football fanbase, The Tide went about the business and emerged from the game relatively unscathed. The Crimson Tide will take on Auburn in an unpredictable Iron Bowl showdown this coming weekend.