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Tide survives potential Florida stunner

Tide survives potential Florida stunner

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alabamafootball PHOTO FOR JUMP

Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III tries to fend off Florida cornerback Avery Helm during the second half of Saturday's game in Gainesville.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — All ears were ringing, and the game wasn’t pretty, but No. 1 Alabama football managed to escape The Swamp with a 31-29 victory over No. 9 Florida on Saturday.

Here are key observations from the game:

Alabama struggles

to stop runThe Crimson Tide missed far too many tackles. The Gators ran with ease far too often.

On one play in the second quarter, Malik Davis ran right through the Alabama defense, making DeMarcco Hellams tackle air and dragging Chris Braswell into the end zone.

The run was also an important piece of Florida’s 99-yard scoring drive in the third quarter that brought the Gators within 28-23.

But the run defense did stuff Florida on a Malik Davis rush on a 2-point conversion attempt that could have tied the game with a little more than three minutes to go.

The Gators gained 248 yards on 43 rushing attempts to average 6 yards per carry.

Offense hot and coldAs good as the Alabama offense looked in the opening quarter, the Crimson Tide couldn’t keep the momentum going in the second quarter.

Alabama put together three three-and-out drives in the second quarter. At one point, Alabama had five straight incompletions. The stagnant second quarter from the offense put the Crimson Tide defense on the field plenty, allowing Florida to get back into the game after it felt like the Gators would have no chance of catching up.

But the Crimson Tide made plays in the second half. Brian Robinson proved crucial on a third down and on a fourth-down score on the drive that gave Alabama a 28-16 lead.

Robinson also converted on a crucial third-and-2 in the final two minutes as Alabama held onto its two-point lead.

Penalties a problem for AlabamaAlabama already entered Saturday ahead of the 2020 Crimson Tide in penalties, and the performance didn’t help the Crimson Tide’s yellow-flag numbers.

Whether it be defensive pass interference flags that gave the Florida offense life or false starts as a result of the crowd noise, the Crimson Tide has plenty to clean up.

Saban was frustrated with penalties after the Mercer game with 17 for 176 yards through two games, and Alabama didn’t reverse that trend Saturday.

The Crimson Tide finished with 11 for 75 yards.

Running backs are weaponsAlabama’s running backs led the way for an offense that overcame a stadium with ear-buzzing noise, filled with 90,887 people, the fifth-largest crowd in stadium history.

The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the opening quarter thanks to two scores from running backs, receptions by Jase McClellan and Brian Robinson.

Robinson also proved valuable running the ball with 39 yards off three carries in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, McClellan served as an important passing option for quarterback Bryce Young under pressure. On back-to-back plays, McClellan made one man miss on a flat pass to get near a first down. Then on third-and-short, he converted with another reception.

Anderson still explosiveHeading into the week, Anderson’s status was unclear after he had to leave the Mercer game with a knee injury. Not only did he start against Florida, but the sophomore provided problems for the Gators off the edge.

He was certainly explosive, per usual. On one play in the first half, Anderson burst through blockers and, before he could lay out Florida quarterback Emory Jones, Jones fell down for a loss. On the Gators’ last drive of the first half, Anderson made a key third-down tackle.


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AUBURN – In the empty spot next to me sat a framed picture of Charles Hollis with a bouquet of roses in memory of the former Birmingham News sports writer, who set the bar high for all of us to follow during his beat writing days and later as a copy editor.

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AUBURN — It took four overtimes, plenty of antacids and players who refused to give in before Alabama finally walked off the field a 24-22 winner over Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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