ATLANTA- With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Washington quarterback Jake Browning caught a break when Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey dropped a would-be interception.
His luck ran out on the next play when Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson high-pointed the next pass and ran through running back Lavon Coleman to score Alabama’s 15th non-offensive touchdown of the season and its third in two games.
“That was a really good play by Ryan,” Humphrey said. “He always said he used to be a safety so I guess it shows that a little bit.”
No. 4 Washington failed to close the gap for the remainder of the game, and the Crimson Tide went on to win the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 24-7 to secure No. 1 Alabama’s spot in the national championship game in Tampa, Florida.
“I don’t think the quarterback expected Ryan to peel the guy on that play,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “And [Browning] threw the ball out there and Ryan made a great play and a great run, and it was a big play in the game.”
The Crimson Tide’s head coach was hardly the only one impressed with Anderson’s play.
He was the seventh defensive player to find the end zone for Alabama this season. Fellow outside linebacker Tim Williams is one of those players, but he said Anderson’s is the best one yet.
“I’m just proud,” Williams said. “…That he was able to get that award [Defensive MVP] and also make that play because Ryan is a beast, Ryan is a dog.”
Earlier in the game, the Huskies used a short pass to running back Myles Gaskin to pick up 20 yards on the Huskies’ lone touchdown drive in the first half. So, the Crimson Tide did what it always does when an opponent exposes a flaw- it adjusted.
Anderson wasn’t the first player to make Browning pay for dumping it off in the backfield. Earlier in the second quarter, the defense shut down back-to-back screen passes thanks to plays made by star Tony Brown and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, respectively.
“We had a game inside with me and Dalvin Tomlinson,” Allen said. “Dalvin picked and I wrapped around and got to give Dalvin a lot of credit.”
Allen also finished with a sack (one of eight the Crimson Tide recorded on Saturday) to lead the team with two tackles for loss. The team captain was also responsible for picking up Washington’s only fumble and carrying it 10 yards after cornerback Anthony Averett knocked it out of wide receiver John Ross’ hands.
The Crimson Tide held Washington’s No. 1 receiver, Ross, to only five receptions and a season-low (against FBS competition) 28 yards. This was also the first time this season Ross was held out of the end zone that he failed to top 90 receiving yards.
“I think we did a pretty good containing him because they were sending him in motion,” Averett said. “He wasn’t always on the outside sometimes he was in the slot and they put him in motion.”
Washington’s No. 2 receiver Dante Pettis’ day was hardly better. He finished with three receptions for a total of 26 yards, but he did manage to score the Huskies’ lone score.
“I got beat on a double move and yeah they threw it and they caught it and they scored,” Humphrey said.
The receivers were hardly the only players on Washington’s offense to have a bad day. The Huskies finished with only 194 yards of total offense. Prior to Saturday, the Huskies worst offensive output was against Southern Cal on Nov. 12 when the Huskies only managed to record 276 yards.
“When you line up in front of another man and you just see his eyes and you just know it’s another soul and you just got to destroy him,” Williams said.
Now the Crimson Tide will return to Tuscaloosa for a few days before heading to Florida where it will attempt to secure the fifth title of Saban’s 10 year career in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“I’m excited man [for what’s next],” Anderson said. “That’s what I came back to school for.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports