GAINSEVILLE| What looked like a possible stumbling block in Alabama’s season turned out to be one more stepping stone for the Crimson Tide, as the Tide beat Florida 38-10 to bring its record to 5-0 (2-0).
It started off rocky for the Tide when Florida quarterback John Brantley connected with receiver Andre Dubose for a 65-yard touchdown strike on the first play from scrimmage.
“I think at the beginning of the game we were a little bit too hyped up,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “We made some mistakes defensively, but it really shows the resilience of our team.”
In front of 90,888 fans, the second largest crowd in University of Florida history, it was quarterback AJ McCarron’s job to settle the offense and come back and respond.
“I just communicated with my guys,” McCarron said. “They like for me to communicate with them. We got a bunch of older guys, and I am the youngin’. I just try to throw my little two cents in and establish myself as a leader.”
Alabama would answer with a field goal on the drive, and Florida answered with a field goal of its own on the following drive. However, Trent Richardson would run in his first of two touchdowns on the day to bring the score even at 10. Richardson had another stellar day for the Tide, rushing for 181 yards on 29 carries.
“He did a fantastic job,” Saban said. “I think he would be the first to tell you that they did a pretty good job of blocking for him up front. He did a good job of cutting and executing, but I think he’d be the first one to tell you the line did a good job.”
With the game tied at 10, linebacker Courtney Upshaw intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. The Tide would not look back, using the momentum switch to bury the Gators for good.
“It was a turning point,” Upshaw said. “It was a tie game. After that first play, and then for them driving down and kicking a field goal, we just wanted to prove to everybody that we were a good defense and just go out and make stops. After that, they didn’t really do too much.”
Alabama’s defense shut down the run and held the Gators scoreless for the remainder of the game. The Florida offense, advertised as one of the nation’s best rushing attacks, only amounted to 15 rushing yards on the day. Defensive tackle Josh Chapman said that he took this game as a personal challenge to prove teams couldn’t run on the Tide.
“To me it is (a personal challenge),” Chapman said. “Being a nose guard, the one thing you don’t want is teams running the ball on you. They are a good running team and we worked on stopping the run all week.”
Saban said he was proud of the way his team played especially in the hostile environment, and said the win says a lot about his team.
“This is about as good as it gets,” Saban said. “We were able to come on the road and get a big win in a tough place to play against a good Florida team.”
Alabama’s next game is next Saturday when the Tide takes on Vanderbilt 3-1 (1-1) at 6:00 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.