If I had told you that the Crimson Tide would lose 3 fumbles, throw an interception, have 11 penalties to Florida's 5, rush for 3.8 yards per carry, kicker Adam Griffith would miss a field goal, J.K. Scott would shank his first punt, and Blake Sims would be knocked out of the game, what would you expect the outcome to be?
All those things did happen but then there is The Process®.
There are not a lot of teams that could overcome such issues as described above and come out with a 21-point win. But if we have learned anything about Nick Saban and The Process®, it is that he knows what he is doing. "In Nick We Trust".
After 33 minutes of play and a 21-21 game, most Bama fans had to be a little nervous. On the Tide's first play from scrimmage, Kenyan Drake raced 87 yards for a score. However on their second play, Drake fumbled at the Alabama 24. From hero to doghouse in one play. After the Gators converted the turnover into 7 points, the Tide again put the ball on the turf when receiver DeAndrew White fumbled, recovered by Florida's Keanu Neal who returned it for 49 yards for another score. The next possession ended in an uncharacteristic missed field goal by Griffith. All the while, Tide players were committing a wide variety of penalties: multiple false starts, delay of game, face mask, illegal formation, pass interference - offensive and defensive.
Good teams can come back from adversity and that is what we saw on Saturday. So sayeth The Process®.
Both Blake Sims (23/33, 445 yds, 4 TDs, 1 fluky INT) and Amari Cooper (10 rec for 201 yds, 3 TDs) had a game for the ages. It wasn't that long ago that many Tide fans had doubts in Sims. On Saturday, he had an injury and had to go to the training room under Bryant-Denny Stadium. His return to the sideline drew a huge roar from the Crimson and White crowd - quite a turn of events. Sims finally quelled many fears that he could not throw down field with long throws to Cooper as well as the aforementioned throw to Drake.
Eight Bama players caught balls on Saturday including tight end O.J. Howard (2-22) and H-back Jalston Fowler (2-21) who had a slick tiptoe catch and almost had a second score on an errant throw.
T.J. Yeldon did not have a great rushing game (18 carries, 59 yds). The Process® had the solution in Derrick Henry's 20 rushes for 111 yards and a TD.
But the Offensive MVP of the game might just go to offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. The much-maligned Kiffin called a fantastic game, recognizing defenses and exploiting the Gators' weaknesses. The Tide put up a lot of impressive stats on Saturday but the most impressive has to be 12-of-16 on third-down conversion. Process®.
The defense only gave up two touchdowns with the third being Neal's scoop-and-score. The two scores came on Bama turnovers where the Gators took the ball at the Tide's 31 and 16 yard lines.
Gators QB Jeff Driskel was a paltry 9 of 28 for 93 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. However, he did have 59 yards rushing making him the leading rusher for the visiting team. Tight end Clay Burton was their leading receiver with 3 catches for 33 yards. With 21 catches and 339 yards coming into the game, Demarcus Robinson only managed to corral 2 balls for 14 yards.
Eddie Jackson was a no-go at cornerback, so next man up: Tony Brown. Process®.
Safety Landon Collins had a huge game with some big hits and his first interception of the season.
Thanks to The Process®, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was able to shuffle in multiple defensive linemen to harass Driskel. Bama's D kept the running game in check as Matt Jones, who looked strong against Kentucky (29-156), only gained 37 yards on 12 carries.
Meh. Thank goodness it did not come down to them as Adam Griffith missed his one field goal attempt (45 yards) and even his extra points looked a little crooked. JK Scott shanked his first punt 30 yards with the second one going 57 yards for a touchback. Return games for both teams were mediocre but The Process® says don't muff the kick or give up big returns.
The most important stat is 4-0. The Crimson Tide have some things to work on but fans have got to feel pretty good about a 42-21 win.
Up next is a bye week followed by trips to Ole Miss and Arkansas.
The replay of the game can be seen Sunday on the SEC Network at 4pm CT / 5pm ET.