Alabama opened up the season in Arlington, TX against the 20th ranked Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten Conference. Wisconsin lost 59-0 to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game last year but then they beat Auburn in January, so you didn't really know 100% what to expect. My prediction was that Wisconsin would try their best to establish the run, which wouldn't work, and due to the fact that they don't have an athletic quarterback that can make things happen when a play breaks down, or a strong arm guy that can stretch the field and keep the safeties honest, all we'd have to do is load up on the run and we would dominate them.
I was more than correct on that.
Wisconsin averaged 320 yards per game on the ground last year, it's their bread and butter to establish the run with powerful backs and a huge offensive line. The trouble was that they never faced a front 7 like Alabama's last year, and this night they only rushed for 40 yards. Total. LOL. Hats off to A'Shawn, Reggie, and them boys for showing flashes of 2011.
There had been alot of talk about Alabama returning to it's roots of running the ball and dominating on defense, and sure enough 18 of the first 27 offensive plays were designed runs with Derrick Henry or Kenyan Drake. This is the style of football that most of us adore and want to see in Tuscaloosa. Everyone knows we have the backs and lineman to do very well with this philosophy, so I hope this keeps up and that it wasn't just what they felt they needed to do in the first game to get Coker comfortable before they open up a spread attack. Though at the end of the day, I will trust whatever Saban decides to do with his team.
My score prediction for the game was 38-13. Without knowing my prediction, my wife predicted 35-14. We were both pretty dang close to the actual score of 35-17.
Alabama had 9 rushes of 10+ yards, the most Wisconsin has allowed in a game since 2012 vs Nebraska.
Alabama had 3 sacks, 2 by Jonathan Allen and 1 by true freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Nine true freshman played in the first game: Damien Harris, Calvin Ridley, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Shawn Burgess-Becker, Ronnie Harrison, Hale Hentges, Dallas Warmack, Daron Payne, and Lester Cotton. A total of 13 guys played for the first time. The previously mentioned true freshmen, plus Marlon Humphrey, Christian Miller, Richard Mullaney, and Keith Holcombe.
Alabama outgained Wisconsin 502-268, Derrick Henry had 147 yards on only 13 carries, and Jake Coker threw for 216 yards. These are awesome numbers that I didn't quite expect. Our offense is going to be fine.
WR Cam Sims played in the game, 5 months after tearing his ACL. I've never seen a faster recovery from that injury. Eddie Jackson was close a couple years ago when he tore his in April and was back at some point during the season.
Reggie Ragland led the team with 12 tackles. He should be a Butkus candidate this season.
Bobby Humphrey's son, Marlon Humphrey, got the start at CB for the first game of his redshirt freshman season. He made a few mistakes early on, but he looks like another Dre Kirkpatrick in training.
Wisconsin's head coach, Paul Chryst, was coaching his first game against Alabama.
Wisconsin's longest play of the night was a 25 yard run by RB Alex Erickson
Alabama has now gone 184 consecutive games without being shutout, the longest streak in school history.
In the past 3 games, Derrick Henry has rushed 46 times for 383 yards, for an 8.3 ypc average. He's also scored 6 touchdowns in those 3 games.