September 23, 2017
NASHVILLE— Dominant. That is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Alabama’s defense in its 59-0 win over Vanderbilt. The defense was so dominant that the Commodores failed to cross the 50-yard line, getting as close as its 44-yard line before an interception stopped the drive.
“For three games, I’ve been saying ‘we win, but,’” coach Nick Saban said. “There’s a difference between winning and defeating your opponent in terms of how you dominate.”
The Crimson Tide embarrassed the Commodore offense, allowing just 78 total yards.
“We knew that we haven’t played our best game yet,” Shawn Dion Hamilton said. “Today we played to the standards that coach Saban always talks about. We know we are going to watch film and find a few things we can correct.”
Vanderbilt quarterbacks Kyle Shurmer and Duece Wallace combined for 38 yards and an interception. The pair completed just 31.8 percent of their passes (7 of 22), while having an average of 1.7 yards a pass.
The secondary deflected six passes on the day from five different players, while Ronnie Harrison finished with the lone pick of the game.
“I saw the tight end running across the field, and the quarterback was staring him down, so I just broke on the ball,” Harrison said.
Harrison would add two tackles. Hamilton finished with a team high five tackles.
Alabama shut down the running attack of Ralph Webb. Webb finished with just 20 yards on six attempts. Overall, the Crimson Tide allowed just 40 yards on the ground.
The return of Anfernee Jennings and Rashaan Evans played a huge role in the Crimson Tide front seven. Both players had been out with injuries since the Florida State game, but came back with a vengeance. The two combined for three total tackles, but they disrupted the pocket forcing both quarterbacks to rush throws. Jennings forced Vanderbilt’s only fumble of the day, recovered by Da’Shawn Hand.
“I had a little juice,” Evans said. “To come back from a two-week break, and just go through all the things I went through at that time, I’m just glad to be back.”
Da’Ron Payne played the biggest role on the defensive line, causing huge problems for the Vanderbilt offensive line. Payne was in the backfield on almost every play it seemed like.
“I feel like Da’Ron is one of the best defensive tackles in the country,” Evans said. “Just being able to play behind that guy, it makes my job a lot easier.”
The Crimson Tide limited Vanderbilt to just three first downs, two of which came in the first quarter. For the third time this season Alabama held its opponent to under 10 points, finishing with the first shutout on the season. Harrison said that shutting out Vanderbilt was one of the team’s goals going into the game.
Even with the defense stifling the Commodore offense, the group still knows it has work to do.
“Every game isn’t perfect, so we know there’s always something,” Harrison said.
Alabama continues its SEC schedule when it hosts Ole Miss on Sept. 30.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports