October 8, 2011

The Alabama game, in a nutshell

Alabama beat Vanderbilt 34-0 in its homecoming on Saturday night. VandySports.com's Chris Lee and Jesse Johnson break down all the key happenings and moments in our weekly "game in a nutshell" feature.

Turning point: With Alabama leading 7-0 and the second quarter winding down, Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron saw Marquis Maze between VU linebacker Chase Garnham and safety Kenny Ladler and threw a perfect strike for a 29-yard gain with 1:15 left in the half. Just under a minute later, McCarron threw another terrific ball to De Andrew White between two more Commodore defenders, a 5-yard scoring strike that gave 'Bama a 14-0 lead.

Vanderbilt had moved the ball to that point, and had also held All-American tailback Trent Richardson in check to that point. But you knew the likelihood of both continuing were slim, and those two plays certainly turned the momentum in Alabama's favor.

What went right: Alabama's offensive and defensive lines are tremendous, and the Commodores played respectably against both.

VU shuffled its offensive line by moving Wesley Johnson from center to left tackle, Ryan Seymour from left tackle to left guard, and inserted Logan Stewart into the starting lineup at center. After getting thrown around like rag dolls vs. South Carolina, the line this time provided adequate protection for both Jordan Rodgers and Larry Smith to throw.

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