Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams set the pace for an overwhelming performance by the Crimson Tide defense in a 29-0 blanking of LSU. Williams posted career-highs with 10 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss along with 2.5 sacks as Alabama held the Tigers to 196 yards of total offense. For his play in the middle of the ‘Bama defense, Williams has earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 3, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Williams, a 6-4, 295-pound sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., was a solo force plugging the middle of Alabama’s defensive front. The top-ranked Crimson Tide (9-0) held No. 3 LSU to just 12 rushing yards, and Williams’ 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks combined to account for 37 yards lost for the Tigers. Seven of Williams’ 10 stops were solo tackles. LSU had been averaging 383.6 yards and 30.4 points per game coming into the game.
Williams leads the Crimson Tide’s defensive line in tackles with 43 this season along with a team-high 12 tackles for loss (with minus-49 yards lost) and 4.0 sacks (for minus-26 yards). He is second on the team in quarterback hurries with nine and has one pass broken up.
We’ll start off the day with a little more love for Quinnen Williams. Being a force all season and racking up stats is good, but the best way to win awards is to have a dominant performance in a nationally televised game and then have the good fortune of having a commentator focus in on you. Bringing in that name recognition goes a long way towards individual accolades later.
Gary Danielson might well have just won Quinnen a trophy this weekend.
But Vegas actually sold Alabama short. The Crimson Tide doubled up the point spread, shutting out LSU 29-0. And that 29-0 scoreline might sell Alabama short, too: Bama outgained the Tigers, 576 yards to 196. This was perhaps the most competitive blowout the Tide have played this season. For the first time all fall, Alabama felt compelled to play starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during the fourth quarter. Fans had long wondered what would happen when Alabama had to play a highly ranked opponent. Saturday we got our answer: another ass-kicking, but a slightly less thorough ass-kicking than usual.
This is a really good long form piece from The Ringer about how this Alabama team is chasing greatness, not just for this season, but for history. I’m not sure any team will ever match that 2001 Miami squad in sheer NFL talent, but this Alabama team is blowing everyone out of the water in margin of victory.
Plenty of people were ready to write off Alabama’s defense, but it’s still one of the top units in the country when needed. Problem is, Alabama’s offense has been so explosive that the defense hasn’t needed to be as dominant.
Saban has seen a lot of improvement from his young defense as they’ve gained more experience.
“The knowledge and experience they’ve gained throughout the year has really helped their confidence. And also playing together, communicating better, understanding the importance of those types of things and being a consistent unit where everybody’s sort of doing their job, and that’s going to give us the best opportunity to be successful,” Saban said. “I think we’ve grown in some of those areas and we need to continue to improve in all parts of our team. We’re going to see a different kind of attack this week, so we’re going to have to adjust and adapt to that as well.”
We all knew going in that the early part of the season would be tough for a Tide defense that returned no starters from the secondary and only part of the front 7. It’s taken a little while to gel. Now, you obviously have to temper last week’s performance with the strength (or lack thereof) of the opponent’s offense, but it was still an absolutely magnificent performance. If this defense plays like some of the other elite Tide units in the Saban era while the offense continues this meteoric pace, no one else will have a chance.
Clemson (+500): The Tigers became a different team with an established, healthy Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. Since then, the Tigers won ACC games by scores of 63-3, 41-7, 59-10 and 77-16. If Clemson merely beats Boston College on Saturday, it could be set to play a team like Pitt in the ACC Championship Game. According to oddsmakers and analytics, this is the only team in the country with a realistic shot of beating Alabama without a monumental Tide meltdown. And it’s still unlikely.
And Vegas agrees with my above statement. Nobody has much of a chance.
Athletic director Allen Greene told AL.com on Thursday that he’d like to see the games more spaced out. Playing two of the nation’s premier programs in the span of 14 days is a tall task.
When talking to reporters on Tuesday, Malzahn had a different request.
“I’d like, like I said, to have one home and one away like in 2010,” Malzahn said. “... Whatever Allen wants is fine. What I want is one home, one away.”
Well Gus, you know what would really make this schedule work better? If you didn’t have to play Alabama and Georgia at all. Maybe just leave the conference and we’ll give you a nice handshake on the way out. I’m all for never having to give Auburn the media presence that comes with getting to play against Alabama.