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How Good was the Alabama Crimson Tide Defense Against the Run in 2016-17?

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Pretty bleeping good. A rundown of every poor soul who attempted to advance the ball on the ground against the Crimson Tide last season.

Da'Ron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson deny another poor running back.
Da'Ron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson deny another poor running back.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back on the 2016 defense, it's clear that Gandalf probably would've been on the bench. Jeremy Pruitt and Karl Dunbar had these boys dialed in.

In 15 games, opponents gained only 959 total yards and scored only five rushing TDs for an average of 63.93 yards per game. These stats were by far the best in the nation and the Tide played three post-season games. [BTW, Clemson gave up 1,944 on the year.]

Houston was second yielding 1,302 total rushing yards, but in only 13 games. That puts the Tide up -343 yards over the next closest defense. Western Kentucky was second in rush YPG allowed at 97.21, a difference of 33.28 from Alabama. Wisconsin (98.8) was the only other team to keep opponents under a 100 average. LSU and Louisville each gave up 7 scores on the ground.

Below is the list of every opposing player who attempted to gain positive yardage against the Tide in the 2016-17 season.

OPPONENT CAR YDS AVG TD LONG OPP COMMENTS
Ronald Jones II 7 46 6.6 0 46 Southern Cal Not a typo: 46 total, 46 longest
Aca'Cedric Ware 6 22 3.7 0 6 Southern Cal
Sam Darnold 3 9 3 0 7 Southern Cal
Dominic Davis 2 5 2.5 0 3 Southern Cal
Justin Davis 7 2 0.3 0 3 Southern Cal
Max Browne 4 -3 -0.8 0 17 Southern Cal
Chris Tilbey 1 -17 -17 0 0 Southern Cal
Anthony Wales 11 44 4 0 16 WKU Lowest output of the season
Marquez Trigg 2 7 3.5 0 4 WKU
Quinton Baker 4 7 1.8 0 3 WKU
Drew Eckels 1 -6 -6 0 0 WKU
Mike White 3 -14 -4.7 0 4 WKU
Tyler Ferguson 1 -15 -15 0 0 WKU
Akeem Judd 15 45 3 1 23 Ole Miss
Chad Kelly 14 43 3.1 0 15 Ole Miss 7th Round Pick DENV
Eugene Brazley 3 10 3.3 0 5 Ole Miss
D'Vaughn Pennamon 1 3 3 0 3 Ole Miss
Justin Rankin 6 52 8.7 0 47 Kent State
George Bollas 3 26 8.7 0 16 Kent State
Myles Washington 6 15 2.5 0 5 Kent State
Nick Holley 2 5 2.5 0 5 Kent State
Will Matthews 3 3 1 0 2 Kent State
Kavious Price 3 3 1 0 3 Kent State
Colin Reardon 1 2 2 0 2 Kent State
Raekwon James 2 2 1 0 6 Kent State
Mylik Mitchell 4 -26 -6.5 0 0 Kent State
Jojo Kemp 10 39 3.9 0 16 Kentucky
Benny Snell Jr. 8 38 4.8 0 17 Kentucky
Stanley Williams 9 22 2.4 0 10 Kentucky Lowest output of the season
Sihiem King 2 -1 -0.5 0 0 Kentucky
Stephen Johnson 7 -26 -3.7 0 10 Kentucky
Rawleigh Williams III 12 46 3.8 1 14 Arkansas AP 1st team All-SEC
Devwah Whaley 5 21 4.2 0 10 Arkansas
Kody Walker 4 15 3.8 0 11 Arkansas
Jared Cornelius 1 8 8 0 8 Arkansas
Dominique Reed 1 -1 -1 0 0 Arkansas
Drew Morgan 1 -6 -6 0 0 Arkansas
Austin Allen 12 -10 -0.8 0 18 Arkansas
Jalen Hurd 13 28 2.2 0 12 Tennessee
Alvin Kamara 8 21 2.6 1 8 Tennessee 3rd Round Pick NO
John Kelly 3 8 2.7 0 5 Tennessee
Tyler Byrd 1 6 6 0 6 Tennessee
Joshua Dobbs 7 -31 -4.4 0 4 Tennessee 4th Round Pick PIT
Keith Ford 15 62 4.1 0 15 Texas A&M Highest Total vs Bama
Trevor Knight 13 24 1.8 0 27 Texas A&M
Trayveon Williams 9 23 2.6 0 11 Texas A&M
Kendall Bussey 1 5 5 0 5 Texas A&M
Leonard Fournette 17 35 2.1 0 9 LSU 4th Overal pick JAX
Derrius Guice 2 8 4 0 5 LSU Unanimous 1st team All-SEC
J.D. Moore 2 5 2.5 0 4 LSU
Danny Etling 6 -15 -2.5 0 7 LSU
Aeris Williams 11 56 5.1 0 24 Miss. State
Nick Fitzgerald 11 15 1.4 0 22 Miss. State
Damian Williams 4 11 2.8 0 9 Miss. State
Ashton Shumpert 4 9 2.3 0 5 Miss. State
Malik Dear 2 3 1.5 0 3 Miss. State
Dontavian Lee 2 2 1 0 2 Miss. State
Keith Mixon 1 -2 -2 0 0 Miss. State
Derrick Craine 13 36 2.8 0 8 Chattanooga
Richardre Bagley 5 35 7 0 13 Chattanooga
Tyler Roberson 6 9 1.5 0 5 Chattanooga
Alejandro Bennifield 2 5 2.5 0 5 Chattanooga
Kyle Nalls 2 4 2 0 3 Chattanooga
Alex Trotter 1 -7 -7 0 0 Chattanooga
Kerryon Johnson 8 39 4.9 0 13 Auburn
Kamryn Pettway 12 17 1.4 0 5 Auburn Lowest output of the season
John Franklin III 3 14 4.7 0 10 Auburn
Jeremy Johnson 2 -1 -0.5 0 4 Auburn
Jordan Scarlett 11 17 1.5 0 4 Florida 1.5 YPC
Mark Thompson 5 16 3.2 0 7 Florida
Lamical Perine 3 8 2.7 0 7 Florida
Jordan Cronkrite 1 2 2 0 2 Florida
Brandon Powell 1 1 1 0 1 Florida
Josh Hammond 1 1 1 0 1 Florida
Antonio Callaway 2 -2 -1 0 0 Florida
Johnny Townsend 1 -11 -11 0 0 Florida
Austin Appleby 5 -32 -6.4 0 4 Florida
Myles Gaskin 10 34 3.4 0 10 Washington Lowest output; All-PAC-12
Chico McClatcher 1 16 16 0 16 Washington
Lavon Coleman 7 16 2.3 0 5 Washington
K.J. Carta-Samuels 1 3 3 0 3 Washington
Jomon Dotson 1 3 3 0 3 Washington
Team 1 -7 -7 0 0 Washington
Jake Browning 8 -21 -2.6 0 13 Washington
Wayne Gallman 18 46 2.6 1 12 Clemson 4th Round Pick NYG
Deshaun Watson 21 43 2 1 15 Clemson 1st Round Pick HOU
C.J. Fuller 1 3 3 0 3 Clemson
Artavis Scott 1 0 0 0 0 Clemson

476 959 2.01 5


  • Keith Ford's 62 yards on 15 carries was the highest number of yards the Bama defense yielded to one opponent in 2016.
  • Since 2008, Alabama has only allowed only 35 of its 118 FBS opponents to rush for 100 yards as a team. That’s 29.7 percent of teams faced.
  • The last opposing rusher to gain over 100 yards was Georgia's Nick Chubb who gained 146 yards on October 3, 2015. 83 of those yards came on one rush with the Tide up 38-3, which more than doubled his total output for the game. Nick Saban was not pleased. Without it, Chubb had 63 yards. He was the only opposing player to achieve that 100 yard hallmark in 2015.
  • Kent State's Justin Rankin had the longest run of 2016 at 74 yards. It was a rush over right tackle on the Golden Flashes' first play from scrimmage. Nick Saban was not pleased.
  • Two teams managed to rush for over 100 yards. Texas A&M had 114. Ole Miss had 101.
  • Florida had the least success, failing to net a single yard.