At his weekly Monday press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussed his defense's…
Competition Tough For Player Honors
Seven Alabama players were recognized by the coaching staff for their outstanding performances following Saturday's 21-17 victory at No. 5 LSU. D.J. Fluker, Cyrus Kouandjio and Kevin Norwood were named players of the week on offense while Adrian Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson represented the defense. On special teams, Vinnie Sunseri and Cody Mandell were selected.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron did not have a great game, but all was forgiven as he connected on 4-5 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in taking the Crimson Tide 72 yards in 43 seconds. The last of those five plays was a screen pass to T.J. Yeldon, who went 28 yards for the winning touchdown, scoring with 51 seconds remaining in the game. But they didn't make it.
Fluker and Kouandjio did a good job at their offensive tackle positions against one of the top defensive lines in the nation. Both had a team-best grade of 89 per cent and the Crimson Tide allowed just one sack in the game. Alabama ran for 166 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Norwood came up big on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter with three catches for 44 yards to set up the Yeldon score. Norwood finished with a team-high 62 yards on five grabs and four of his receptions resulted in first downs.
Hubbard, also the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, was credited with a career-high 12 tackles. He had 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks. Hubbard was in on the tackle stopping LSU on a fourth down attempt at the UA 24 in the fourth quarter and he was in on a sack on a third down play that led to a punt. Dickson added five stops and the Tide defense finished the game with 10 tackles for loss and three sacks. UA leads the nation in scoring defense (9.1 ppg) and ranks second in total defense (228.9 ypg).
On special teams, Mandell averaged 45.1 yards on seven punts. He dropped two punts inside the 20 and limited LSU to just 16 yards on three punt returns. He booted a 56-yard punt out of bounds at the nine and later added a 55-yard punt that was fair caught at the LSU 18 in the fourth quarter. Sunseri was credited with four tackles and two of those came on kickoff coverage, including one inside the 20. He is also a member of the punt and punt return teams.
This week Alabama begins a three-game home stretch to close out regular season play. Bama, 9-0 overall and 6-0 in SEC games, is ranked number one in the nation. The Tide will host Texas A&M, which is 7-2 overall and 4-2 in conference games and ranked 14th in the nation. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CST with television coverage by CBS.