Playing without injured No. 2 rusher Eddie Lacy (foot), Alabama switched back to smashmouth on its first drive of the second half after McCarron threw 23 passes in the first half. The Tide marched 94 yards with 11 runs by Richardson and 246-pounder Jalston Fowler and one pass. Richardson practically walked the final yard for his 11th TD run and then McCarron added his long TD pass to White to make it 28-0. McCarron polished his night off with a 17-yard scoring toss to Darius Hanks early in the fourth quarter.
"I really just want us to be relentless, and have every team fear us and just don't want to play us," Richardson said. "That's one thing that we try to work on, and one thing we need to get better at. "If we want to be that relentless team, we've got to play all four quarters and we've got to make sure we come out in the first half and play like we did in the second half."
The Tide blasted Vanderbilt out of Tuscaloosa with a 34-0 win Saturday. Alabama held the Commodores to just eight first downs, one third-down conversion on 10 attempts and 190 total yards. Alabama also didn't need its dominating running game to put Vandy away. Alabama let quarterback AJ McCarron toss the ball a little more, as the sophomore threw for 237 yards and four touchdowns.
The Tide opened the second half with a new found energy. After forcing Vanderbilt to go three-and-out on their first drive, Alabama drove the ball 94 yards on 12 plays, finishing the drive with a one yard touchdown by running back Trent Richardson. Eleven of the 12 plays on the drive were running plays, eight by Richardson for 64 yards. "It just showed what we weren’t doing in the first half," Richardson said. "We didn’t really get off to a fast start. Our mind wasn’t focused on the task at hand, but we talked to everybody and got our minds right."
Key moment: The Tide turned to its 2-minute offense on its final possession of the first half, going 78 yards and scoring on an AJ McCarron alley-oop to DeAndrew White in the back of the end zone. The only question, which Nick Saban posed to his quarterback: Why didn't McCarron run with nothing but grass in front of him instead of throwing it up for grabs?
Pundits near and far are already talking about the Nov. 5 showdown with LSU. But between then and now, Alabama has to take care of business - first Vanderbilt, then Ole Miss and Tennessee. The key isn't just winning, which it should. The key is keeping the edge, maintaining the hunger. Feeding the beast. "We don't worry about Nov. 5," said cornerback Dee Milliner. "We worry about getting better."
WHY ALABAMA WON: That it was Alabama playing Vanderbilt in Tuscaloosa is, really, all the analysis you need. But the game might have amounted to more of a competitive contest if AJ McCarron didn't have his best day yet throwing the ball for the Crimson Tide. The Vanderbilt secondary is legitimately one of the best in the SEC, if not the country -- corner Casey Hayward deserves some All-American consideration, if we're any judge -- and McCarron still finished his night completing 23-of-30 for 237 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. That last fact is no doubt what Nick Saban will come away happiest about (especially against an overmatched opponent like the 'Dores), but the rest of us can applaud the third of those touchdowns, a pretty 39-yarder to DeAndrew White.
"We obviously didn't play our best football game, especially in the first half," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "We didn't have the mental energy and intensity that we like to have."
"We weren’t executing at first," Tide cornerback Dee Milliner said. "We had to adjust and come out and do better. We came out flat, not emotional. That’s what Coach (Saban) talked to us about at halftime, and we came out and did a better job."
"When we had opportunities to make big plays, we didn’t come up with those plays," Commodores coach James Franklin said. "Against a good team like that, you have to take advantage of those opportunities."