McClain Named SEC Top Defender
Rolando McClain
Rolando McClain

Posted Oct 5, 2009

Prior to Alabama’s game at Kentucky Saturday, much of the conversation involved Bama having lost the services of inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, victim of a season-ending knee injury against Arkansas. Other linebackers knew they had to step up.

Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain, an All-America candidate, doesn’t need extra motivation to play inspired football. But his game against Kentucky was excellent even by his high standards. As a result, McClain was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Bama’s 38-20 win over the Wildcats in Lexington.

McClain, a 6-4, 258-pound middle linebacker from Decatur, had a game-high 12 tackles (eight primary) and also had an interception, a forced fumble that resulted in a Crimson Tide touchdown, a quarterback hurry, and a pass deflection that was intercepted by Bama.

His forced fumble led to a 45-yard fumble return by Courtney Upshaw for a touchdown and gave the Tide a 21-6 halftime lead.

His 21-yard interception return to the UK 38 on the first possession of the third quarter set up a touchdown two plays later and gave Alabama a 28-6 lead.

His pass deflection to teammate Eryk Anders for an interception at the UK 47 led to a third quarter field and a 31-6 Crimson Tide lead.

Bama running back Mark Ingram was cited by the conference for an outstanding game. Ingram rushed 22 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

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