The Alabama Crimson Tide played a home game in Nashville on Saturday afternoon, or at least one would think that looking into the stands and seeing significantly more crimson than black.
For Alabama, this win was a statement. The 59-0 drumming, one could argue, was a response to the "Alabama, you're next," comment from Vanderbilt defensive lineman Nifae Lealeo. In 60 minutes of play, the Commodores offense did not cross into Alabama territory once. Vanderbilt put up 78 yards of offense with just 17 minutes of possession on the day. Only 29 of those offensive yards came in the second half.
In 60 minutes of play, the Commodores offense did not cross into Alabama territory once.
Alabama, however, looked like a championship caliber football team. The Tide put up 677 yards of offense on the day, 496 of those came on the ground. Damien Harris led the way with 151 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 12 carries. Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played the majority of the second half and was 8-10 with 103 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The game was dominated by Alabama from the first snap. On Vanderbilt's first possession Kyle Shurmur threw an interception and Alabama dictated the game from there. Vanderbilt forced a punt on Alabama's first possession of the game, but then went 3 and out and it was downhill from there. The Tide scored rushing touchdowns by Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris on its next two possessions, and then forced a fumble on the Commodores next possession, leading to more points for Alabama. Just like that Alabama had put up 28 points and the color commentators were already discussing how Vanderbilt would be playing for respect in the second half. After forcing Alabama to punt on their first possession, Vanderbilt gave up 28 points and ran just 13 plays offensively. When the horn finally sounded for half the Crimson Tide were up 31-0.
The second half was more of the same, and the Alabama defense somehow dominated Vanderbilt even more. Three of Vanderbilt's four possessions in the second half resulted in three and outs, and the Commodores ran a measly 13 plays offensively. The Alabama starters played one series each to start the second half, and then Nick Saban let the four and five-star freshmen take over from there. On his first series, Tua Tagovailoa connected with Jerry Jeudy on a 34-yard strike to make it a 45-0 game. After another Commodore three and out Tagovailoa hit paydirt again, this time connecting with DeVonta Smith on a 27-yard pass. One more run-heavy drive made the game 59-0 after the Brian Robinson Jr scored on a 17-yard scamper. Another three and out gave Alabama the ball with 11:45 left to play in the game and the Tide managed to run out the clock on a 15 play drive, ending Vanderbilt's misery.
Alabama will play host to Ole Miss (2-1) next weekend in what I expect will be another dominant performance. Vanderbilt will look to regroup, but face a tough road test in The Swamp to take on #20 Florida (2-1).