After the Virginia Tech game last week we took a closer look breaking down the penalties and how they harmed the Tide.As long as the penalties keep up I figure it's a good idea to keep a running tally of these things, and unfortunately with seven penalties for 65 yards in the FIU game, I'm afraid to say that the rash of penalties did continue. Thus, here's a closer look at the penalties themselves:
False start penalty on Barrett Jones in the first quarter, when the Tide had a 2nd and 6 at the FIU 10 yard line. The penalty effectively negated a four-yard run on first down by Mark Ingram, and combined with the penalty that followed on the next play forced the Tide to settle for a field goal.
Holding penalty on Drew Davis in the first quarter, immediately following Barrett Jones' false start penalty. The hold wiped out an eight-yard reception by Mike McCoy that would have set up a 3rd and 3 situation for the Tide, and moved 'Bama into a 2nd and 21. Trent Richardson ran for six yards the following play, and Ingram took a dump pass for another seven, but ultimately the Tide was faced with a fourth and long situation and was forced to settle for a Leigh Tiffin field goal.
Pass interference on Kareem Jackson early on the second quarter on a 2nd and 17 from the FIU 49. Florida International had a clipping penalty before this which set up a 1st and 25 situation, but the interference call erased what would have been a third and long situation for the Golden Panthers, giving them new life with a first down at the Alabama 36-yard line. Six plays later, Paul McCall would hit Greg Ellingson for a touchdown pass, temporarily giving FIU a narrow 14-13 lead.
False start penalty called on Marcell Dareus on the extra point after Mark Ingram's touchdown run in the second quarter. Ordinarily this penalty would not have cost the Tide because the extra point try was ultimately successful, but in this unique situation it actually did cost us. The five-yard false start penalty moved the ball back to the 8-yard line, and when FIU was called immediately thereafter for having twelve men on the field, the ball was moved half the distance to the goal, thus putting it on the four-yard line. Had we not had the false start penalty, the ball would have been moved to within 4.5 feet of the goal line, and Nick Saban was planning to send Terrence Cody into the game to be a lead blocker on the two-point conversion opportunity. The false start penalty on Dareus, then, forced the Tide to forgo the possible two-point try.
False start penalty on Barrett Jones early in the third quarter. We had just taken the ball over on the FIU 42 yard line after 29-yard punt return by Javier Arenas. This was Jones' second false start penalty of the night, but fortunately it did not cost the Tide here, as Trent Richardson gained 18 yards over the course of the next two plays with a fine run and a nice catch out of the backfield. Unfortunately, after the Richardson first down, the Tide was unable to convert on third and short with Mark Ingram in the game, and a Leigh Tiffin field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Holding penalty on William Vlachos early in the fourth quarter at the Alabama 46. The penalty occurred on a 1st and 10 and wiped out a two-yard run by Trent Richardson, but it ultimately turned out to be harmless. Even despite the fact that the Tide had the game well in hand with a 33-14 lead at the time, Trent Richardson immediately hereafter ripped off runs of 10 and 12 yards, respectively, and the following play Terry Grant raced around left end for a 42-yard touchdown run.
Facemask penalty called on Ali Sharrief early in the fourth quarter. I really have no clue what happened here because the play-by-play data at RollTide.com only says "Team Rush," but either way it was a fifteen yard penalty that gave FIU a 1st and 10 at the Alabama 21-yard line. Ultimately, though, it was pointless because the next three plays for the Golden Panthers only netted four yards, and Mark Barron intercepted a pass on the fourth down play.
So, all in all, seven penalties for 65 yards, and to be quite frank a lot of them were really costly. The last two penalties padded the penalty yardage by 25 yards, but they were in effect meaningless. We overcome both with relative ease and even had that not been the case the game was well at hand by the time they occurred. The other five penalties, though, were really costly because each and every single one of those penalties directly cost us points. We ended up winning by 26 points and putting 40 points up on the board in our own right, but without those five penalties, we score more points, FIU scores fewer, and the margin of victory is a good bit higher. And perhaps most concerning of all, four more penalties were called on the offensive line this week. Bottom line, as has been the general theme of the FIU postgame, there's no major room to complain, but there is still clearly room for work to be done for the Tide.
Editors note: Click here for the Virginia Tech penalties breakdown.