Good morning, everyone. Needless to say, Alabama's dominant win over a solid top 20 Mississippi State squad is drawing universal praise leading into the virtual bye week. Comments can be summed up thusly: The Alabama defensive line is among the best anyone has ever seen, Derrick Henry is squarely in the thick of the Heisman race, the loss of Kenyan Drake is concerning but will force some playing time for touted freshmen Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, and Alabama looks like the favorite to win the national title.
Oh, and this was awesome. Drake was hurt on the ensuing kickoff, but he delivered a hay-maker before departing:
On to it:
The best part of the run might be offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin running down the sidelines behind Henry. Kiffin gets so excited by Henry's run that he stiff arms air to mimic his running back. He's like a kid out there, imitating his favorite player.
No one will ever come back against the Tide, ever. It's 21-3 at halftime and there is no hope and I'm going ahead and writing this. There was that loss to Ole Miss for some reason and now there is only the drought, and the nuclear wasteland, and Alabama wandering through it smiling. Derrick Henry is 245 pounds and can outrun entire SEC defenses. Death is the only real undefeated team. Alabama does not need water or sleep or hope like weak human flesh, nor even require a functioning quarterback. Don't watch the Tide unless you like watching the football equivalent of famine, or are an Alabama fan, and these are the same things. They play Charleston Southern and Auburn to end the season, and then Florida in the SEC Championship. They are already basically in the Playoff. Give up hope forever. Give it up now.
As chaos unfolded around the country—Clemson trying to revive its old nickname in Syracuse, Oklahoma State floundering in Ames, Iowa, and Michigan sputtering in Bloomington, Ind.—a road win over a top 20 team in a raucous environment further pads Alabama’s résumé, which also includes victories against Wisconsin, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU. Performances like this and the Tide’s thumping of the Tigers may convince the committee that Alabama is the country’s best team. Sometimes being opportunistic works just as well as being oppressive.
"We knew that eventually plays were going to start hitting ― start gashing them when they were vulnerable and they did, especially late in the second quarter into the second half," Kelly said. "We took advantage of that and put some nice drives together in the second half." Kelly also credited Coker for changing the play on one of the two touchdowns. The center knew the defensive front would overshoot the gaps eventually and Henry took advantage.
Enter Cyrus Jones who gave Alabama the juice it badly needed in the second quarter. The Alabama cornerback felt he was close to breaking a few punt returns this year, but finally saw the necessary daylight against the Bulldogs for a 69-yard touchdown. Jones fielded the line-drive punt well, made the first two defenders missed and "turned on the jets" as he raced to the endzone. He benefited from Alabama going for a blocked punt which distorted the Bulldogs' coverage team, according to Saban.
There is simply no other program in the country — and maybe in modern history since scholarship limits were imposed — that rotates nine defensive linemen and can relegate a former No. 1 national recruit to afterthought status. And the results are showing more and more each week.
Alabama is closer to a playoff bid than any other team. Three teams stand between the Tide and a playoff berth: Charleston Southern, Auburn and -- assuming a win on the Plains -- Florida. The FCS Buccaneers aren't worth discussing here. The Tigers will be at home, but just lost at home Saturday to a Georgia team that (to put it politely) is not in Alabama's class. The Gators have an outstanding defense, but they also have an offense that put up nine points on Vanderbilt and 24 on South Carolina's woeful defense the past two weeks.
Derrick Henry doesn't like talking about the Heisman Trophy. Like it or not, though, the buzz is growing. Alabama's running back emerged as the top candidate last week with a 210-yard win over LSU. His perceived lead grew Saturday with another 200-yard game paired with a second-straight subpar night from Leonard Fournette.
That makes the Tide more dependent on Harris and Scarbrough, who become the top two running backs on the depth chart behind star Derrick Henry for next week's game against Charleston Southern, likely for Alabama's game against Auburn Nov. 28 and possibly for a potential SEC championship game matchup with Florida Dec. 5.
With No. 1 Clemson sputtering Saturday in the Carrier Dome in with an apathetic 37–27 win at Syracuse, Alabama put up a second-consecutive performance that made many wonder who will beat them. If you are wondering if Alabama is No. 1 right now, answer this question: Who would Ohio State or Oklahoma State or Notre Dame rather play right now? Slip any of their coaches truth serum, and they surely won’t answer Alabama over Clemson.
It's all there for the taking, boys. Finish it out.
Lastly, a nice breakdown of Avery Johnson's victorious debut in which a more exciting offensive style is being lauded and true freshman Dazon Ingram, easily the most important recruit of the 2015 class, started his career with a bang:
Ingram had 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 28 minutes. There were multiple times during the second half that the smooth 6-foot-6 left-handed Ingram weaved through multiple Kennesaw State defenders and finished with a contested layup. He also had a two-handed dunk off of an assist from fellow guard Retin Obasohan. Ingram scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
That's about it for today. Have a great week.