Alabama coach Nick Saban walked up to the podium at his postgame presser with a cut on his left cheek, so he felt the need to clarify something.
“I didn’t play today,” he said, setting off a chorus of laughter in the media room.
CBS cameras caught Saban with blood on his face during the first quarter of a 31-6 win at Mississippi State. Sideline reporter Allie LaForce reported that Saban was accidentally struck by one of his own players, but the culprit wasn’t named until after the game.
“Those good pass rushers that we talk about all the time? We knew we were gonna have to sub really, really fast,” Saban said. “So when it was third down and we call Dime Rabbits, those big guys come barreling off the sidelines.”
“Well, Jonathan Allen barreled right into me one time. The athlete that I am, I was able to keep my feet.”
Was there any retaliation? Saban said “no” during a postgame TV interview with LaForce.
“He was bigger than me, so I had to let it go,” he said.
The hit was one of many Allen made against the Bulldogs. He had three of the Crimson Tide’s nine sacks, and now has nine individual sacks on the season.
Saturday’s performance solidified him as a top NFL prospect; several draft sites list Allen as a future first or second round pick.
But he and the rest of the Tide front seven have plenty more work to do before the offseason. Alabama returns home this week to face Charleston Southern (Nov. 21), and then pays a visit to Auburn for the Iron Bowl (Nov. 28) before potentially playing for an SEC Championship in early December.
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