(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
"We just got together as a team, the offense and the defense," wide receiver Kenny Bell said. "Marquis Maze and myself got together and we told the team we needed to step up our game, and that’s what we did." Though many assumed it was head coach Nick Saban who rallied the team during halftime, it was actually the players who responded themselves, calling for better performance in the second half. "We take pride in that we take it upon ourselves to get everybody up," offensive lineman Alfred McCullough said. "We shouldn’t have to have coaches get us up for a game."
Trent Richardson's 17 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-6 win Saturday night over Tennessee was solid considering the Volunteers aimed at stopping the Crimson Tide's star running back. Whether those numbers hurt or help Richardson's Heisman Trophy candidacy remains unclear with an entire month of football remaining. How he performs against No. 1 LSU when the Tigers visit No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium will be significant.
No. 2 Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense (6.88 points per game), rushing defense (44.88 yards per game), pass efficiency defense (83.63 rating) and total defense allowing a mere 180.5 yards per game. Alabama also has the nation's third best pass defense allowing just 135.6 yards per game.
"There's a point where you have to enjoy the position that you're in," Miles said. "We've achieved significantly to this point. The good news is you get to play in a big-time game and it's one that counts. Our guys will enjoy it."
"For LSU fans, their record doesn't matter," said Ken Gaddy, director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum and Alabama football historian. "They're always excited and confident when they come to town. It will be a huge day." How huge? "There will be a lot of people in town that don't have tickets," Gaddy said. "There's 10,000-plus even for a nonconference game that don't even have tickets. For this game, there will be 20-(thousand) or 30,000 people in town that don't have a ticket. It will be a huge week. Not just a day but a week. ... They'll start coming in (next) Wednesday or Thursday."
The Tide's wideouts were alleged to be the team's one weakness entering this season, and doubly so once Duron Carter was ruled ineligible. But Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks and Kenny Bell made that expectation look more ridiculous than ever in the second half Saturday night, hauling in acrobatic circus grab after acrobatic circus grab and eventually totaling 11 receptions, 213 yards, and Bell's game-clinching touchdown.
"To be able to stand in front of 101,000 fans as national champions is what you strive for every day as both an athlete and a coach," coach Sarah Patterson said. "For (husband and assistant) David (Patterson) and I, this will be the 10th time we have received championship rings during an Alabama football halftime, and I can tell you the feeling never gets old and that we are as excited to share this moment with this team as we were with our very first championship team in 1988."
After a strong junior season, Williams caught the eye of Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban, who also coaches defensive backs for the Crimson Tide, made Williams a priority and received an early commitment from the player. "I was blown away by the fact that the man himself, Nick Saban, reached out to me to play football for him," Williams said. "You really can't say no to that, can you?
But in typical fashion, Allen rallied behind quarterback Alec Morris, who hit Oliver Pierce for a 16-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left on the clock to give the Eagles a 35-31 win at Marauder Stadium. The win puts Allen (8-0, 5-0), No. 1 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area rankings, in sole possession of first place in District 8-5A for the first time this season.