Tough to get much of an impression from Alabama's whitewashing of Charleston Southern other than to say that the team did what it was expected to do against a horribly overmatched opponent that made no effort to win. Cyrus Jones made history as the first Alabama player to return two punts for touchdowns in the game. Jake Coker looked as sharp as he has all season. Derrick Henry got three-fourths of the afternoon off, and the defense destroyed a Buccaneers' offense that decided to sit its starting QB rather than expose him to injury. Most importantly, Alabama seemed to emerge injury-free. Other than that, we'll do this one JP-style and let the sportswriters give you something to talk about. Roll Tide.
"Oh yeah," linebacker Reggie Ragland said after Alabama's 56-6 win. "We heard it right before y'all heard it. We had to come out and play hard and that's all they talked about the whole week." The occasionally explicit speech centered around Alabama's 2011 defense allowing 300-plus rushing yards to FCS-level Georgia Southern. Paraphrasing Saban, they ran through Alabama like human waste through a pipe.
"They really harp on those guys sometimes," he said. "And they learn a lot from it. Those guys are just like every other back that we have. They learn a lot from Derrick like Derrick learned a lot from T.J. (Yeldon) and it just keeps going that way. It will be cool watching their careers going forward." Cooper Bateman replaced Jake Coker in the second quarter after the senior completed 11 of 13 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Bateman threw 11 times with seven completions for 47 yards. Coker said the backups looked "real smooth" Saturday evening.
Henry tied Trent Richardson's Alabama single-season record of 21 touchdowns before sitting out the second half. He had nine carries for 68 yards. The few remaining fans gave a big cheer in the final minutes after No. 9 Michigan State upset No. 2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes knocked Alabama from the playoffs last season en route to a national title. "You could tell the fans were going crazy," Tide linebacker Reggie Ragland said, adding that he'd "love to play them" again.
So you can point at big, bad Alabama and laugh at them for scheduling little ol’ Charleston Southern and beating them 56-6 (it was 49-0 at halftime). For that matter, since Nick Saban arrived in 2007, throw in Western Carolina (three times), Chattanooga (twice), Georgia State and the Georgia Southern Tin Horns. You also can point at Alabama and know this: The Crimson Tide won’t back down from anyone. If they can make it happen schedule-wise (it’s not always as easy as calling a school and saving the date), Alabama will play you. And beat you.
"It's a big rivalry game," Coker said. "We have a lot to work on. They are going to be ready to play us, so we have to be ready." His favorite Iron Bowl memory? The 2001 game when Alabama defeated Auburn 31-7, the lone win for the Crimson Tide during an eight-year span. A young Coker celebrated the win as his cousins -- all Auburn fans -- beat him up.