Last Sunday, the Alabama Crimson Tide earned 59 first-place votes in the latest Amway Coaches Poll. They earned 52 first-place votes in the latest AP Poll, as they remain the number one team in the land. Last Saturday, the Tide made a big bold statement with their 59-0 smashing of the Vanderbilt Commodores to open SEC play.
This was total domination by Nick and the crew for the full 60 minutes. Their second string played almost the entire second half. Alabama looked crisp and was certainly ready to play. The stands were filled with a sea of red. Alabama fans filled approximately three-quarters of the stadium.
There was a little hype surrounding the Commodores following their upset of then No. 18 Kansas State a week earlier; but Alabama (4-0, 1-0) quickly reminded the Commodores of their place in the SEC pecking order. Following the home victory, the Commodores were feeling good about themselves. However, they fell into a classic trap, deciding to call out Alabama on national television in the wake of their big win.
“We want to be respected,” said Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts said Saturday’s game was about showing the country what Alabama football was all about, and did they ever.
Running back Bo Scarbrough said that it was important to them to run the Commodores completely off the field.
“We wanted to keep our foot on the pedal and keep gassing them on every play and every down,” he said. Scarbrough had two touchdowns, running 11 times for 79 yards.
Damien Harris ran for a career-high 151 yards and three touchdowns, needing only 12 carries for his big day. Brian Robinson added a 17-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Alabama has now won 19 straight over the SEC East. The Crimson Tide hasn’t lost to Vanderbilt since 1984. They hadn’t lost in Nashville since 1969. At the end of the first quarter, Alabama was up 21-0.
Alabama out-gained Vanderbilt (3-1) in total offense 677-78 for the largest margin in the program’s vaunted history. The Tide also set a school record with 38 first downs. They simply smothered Vanderbilt, allowing just 49 yards in the first half to Alabama’s 48 offensive plays. Derek Mason said his Commodores ran into a buzz saw.
“I think they earned a lot of respect today,” Saban said.
There would be no smiles from Mason on this day. Kyle Shurmur came in completing 71% of his passes for Vanderbilt. With Alabama pressuring the quarterback, Shurmur was just four of 15 for 18 yards.
“I was out coached today. We were outclassed,” said Mason.
Vanderbilt came in unbeaten and with the nation’s stingiest defense in points, total yards and against the pass. The Commodores had allowed just 13 points combined through three games, yet they proved no match against Alabama’s dominating ground game.
This beat down was their worst loss since falling 65-0 to Tennessee in 1994. It looked as if the Commodores quit in the second half. This was as disheartening of a loss as a team could have.
Vandy has to regroup quickly, with the SEC schedule just getting started. It doesn’t get any easier from here. The Commodores visit No. 20 Florida this week.