Plenty of young players got to strut their stuff in Alabama’s 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, but one of the game’s most exciting plays was made by senior tight end Michael Nysewander.
A former walk-on, Nysewander usually makes an impact on special teams coverage. But Saturday, he found himself wide open on the right side of the field.
“I’m usually in there for blocking purposes,” he said after the game. “But occasionally, they’ll toss the rock out there to me in the flats.”
Jake Coker found him with a short pass, and Nysewander broke a tackle before rumbling into the end zone for a 24-0 Crimson Tide lead.
“He’s one of those guys who’s been around awhile and comes in every day, does the right things, and works hard,” Coker said. “Always a positive guy that really picks everybody up. Whenever he does anything good, everybody responds in a positive way ’cause he’s just such a good dude. Everybody was happy to see that.”
A few other unsung players made an impact against ULM. The list included:
- Adam Griffith — The kicker struggled down the stretch (5-for-11) last season, and then began this year 0-for-4 on field goals. He finally made one against Ole Miss last week, and then drained kicks from 35 and 40 yards against Monroe.
- Da’Shawn Hand — With Jonathan Allen missing the second half, Hand led Alabama’s push in the trenches. The 6-foot-4, 273-pound sophomore finished with 1.5 sacks and narrowly missed another opportunity. The ‘Bama front seven terrorized Warhawks QB Garrett Smith all day, and Hand was integral in that victimization.
- Ronnie Harrison — While fellow freshman Calvin Ridley got the pre-game hype (and a TD), Harrison flew under the radar with a pass defensed before stepping in front of a Warhawks receiver for his first career interception. The pick put ULM away for good with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter.