TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We quickly remembered who these two teams were when Alabama football and Vanderbilt kicked off on Saturday afternoon.
There was a little hype surrounding Vanderbilt following its upset win over then No. 18-ranked Kansas State, but Alabama quickly reminded the Commodores of their place in the SEC pecking order with a 59-0 drubbing in front of a capacity crowd filled with mostly Alabama fans.
Vanderbilt’s student section was basically empty before halftime. Maybe they had to go study?
Here are our grades from Alabama’s performance:
Running back Damien Harris was the star of the day with 151 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, and an average of 12.6 yards per carry. Bo Scarbrough added 79 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Freshman Brian Robinson scored his first rushing touchdown of the season. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts didn’t need to do much.
Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came in and showed why he was such a highly-touted prospect. Tagovailoa threw 2 touchdowns. Freshmen Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith each caught their first career touchdown passes.
Alabama’s defense held Vanderbilt to under 100 yards of offense for the game. I don’t care who you are playing, holding a Power 5 team to that low of a total is a great accomplishment. The Commodores had only 3 first downs all night.
Alabama’s pass rush picked up quite a bit compared to earlier games. The Crimson Tide also forced a couple of turnovers. Alabama’s defense came out looking to show why they’re still one of the top units in the country.
Special teams: A
There were a couple of muffed punts, but things went well other than that. There were no long returns for Vanderbilt. JK Scott once again punted well. Kicker Andy Pappanastos made his lone field goal and all eight extra points.
The game plan was nearly perfect, from what we could tell. Alabama’s coaches knew they could punish Vanderbilt with the running game, and they fed their stable of running backs all night long.
Defensively, Alabama took away every thing Vanderbilt tried, or even thought about trying. It was a coaching clinic.
Overall, it was Alabama’s best game to date. The Crimson Tide came out, jumped on Vanderbilt immediately and never let up.
Alabama was clean on both sides of the ball. Vanderbilt had no hope of doing anything. At one point, it was a little sad to watch because you knew Vanderbilt was completely overmatched.
Saban and the coaching staff will find things to clean up, but there’s not much more you can ask for after a performance like that.