Another year, another round of quarterbacks terrorized by Jonathan Allen. He became the first Alabama player under Nick Saban to reach double digit sacks in twice in his career, let alone two years in a row. He also became the first since Courtney Upshaw in 2010 and 2011 to lead the team in sacks two years in a row.
Since Allen had so many sacks, I’ve broken it up into two parts. Here’s his first five.
2nd and 8: Allen is the right defensive end in Bama’s four man front. USC has an empty backfield with two tight ends to the right. Allen gets a great jump, but he could’ve had concrete blocks around his feet and still gotten to Browne on this play. To say there was a miscommunication here is an understatement, as the left tackle makes no attempt to block (I mean, who can really blame him for that, though?); and Allen has an unobstructed path to the quarterback.
The Trojans keep seven in to block, and Alabama is only rushing four. Allen isn’t blocked; and, to make matters worse for USC, Dalvin Tomlinson slices between two blockers. Browne sees Allen and takes off, but he has nowhere to go. Allen brings him to the ground for a five yard loss.
2nd and 7: Allen is on the right of Alabama’s line again, and USC has a tight end on that side to try and help the left tackle out. Browne fakes the handoff and looks deep as Alabama only rushes four again. Da’Ron Payne beats the left guard and really blows this play up. Browne has to scramble and move to his left. Right into Allen, who has beaten his double team. Browne crumples to the ground, and Allen gets credited with the sack.
3rd and 4: Allen is on the right. The left tackle does a fine job against Allen; but QB Tyler Ferguson’s first read - the receiver on a fly route down the left sideline, a play they use often - is covered by Anthony Averett. Ferguson panics; and, instead of stepping up into the pocket, he retreats backwards. Ryan Anderson is coming around having beaten the right tackle, and Allen is right in Ferguson’s face now. He pumps, but Allen throws his hands up. Anderson crashes into Ferguson from behind, and Allen joins in for the half sack.
4th and 2: Allen is lined up inside as the 3 tech. Dakota Ball is the defensive end to his left, and Da’Ron Payne is the tackle to his right. Western Kentucky has a tight formation, but everybody goes out for pass. Allen gets double-teamed, and his attempted swim move is countered. With good coverage from the secondary, Tyler Ferguson has nowhere to go with the ball and rolls to his right. Ball and Allen follow suit and end up with a free lane to Ferguson. Ball reaches him first, and Allen comes in right behind to finish the sack up.
3rd and 10: Allen is one of the two down linemen, and he’s lined up at the 3 tech spot here. Allen moves to the outside and slides past the left tackle, who doesn’t even attempt to block him. This leaves Allen one-on-one against a running back coming from the QB Stephen Johnson’s blindside. Boom Williams tries a cut block, but Allen steps around it and leaps. Johnson never stood a chance.
3rd and 17: Allen rushes from the right side of the line as Bama only brings three. The Vols triple team Tomlinson, and the tackles have to fend for themselves against Allen and Williams. Allen gets in the chest of the left tackle and drives him back while Williams dips under the right tackle. QB Josh Dobbs narrowly avoids Williams, but Allen is right there to finish it up.
PART TWO coming on Friday.