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October 22, 2013
Defense in midst of remarkable streak
Even for a program known and prideful for stingy defense, Alabama is in the midst of one of the program's great defensive runs.
During the last five games the Crimson Tide has allowed 16 points, recording two shutouts in the process. Opponents reached the end zone once in that span, and even that came on a broken play when cornerback John Fulton collided with Jarrick Williams freeing Kentucky's Javess Blue for a score.
There have been similar five-game stretches throughout program history -- 1961 (0 points), 1966 (7 points), 1974 (16 points), 1979 (9 points). Yet the current run seems remarkable coming on the heels of allowing 42 points to Texas A&M in the second game of the season. Since that time it has allowed just one touchdown, three field goals and one extra point.
"Well you know, especially with that game, that game really made us realize where we were and we realized that we had a lot of work to do and from that game on, we tried to improve and get better each game. Which I think we accomplished," junior defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said.
The Crimson Tide leads the nation in scoring defense (9.7 ppg), and as stout as that seems it's all the more impressive considering Texas A&M's output.
Outside of the Aggies offensive assault that resulted in six touchdowns, UA has allowed just two more touchdowns all season.
It's not just scoring defense either. Over the last three games Alabama is allowing only 200 yards of total offense, which has helped vault it to fifth nationally in total defense.
Of course the level of competition should be factored into Alabama's defensive success. Arkansas and Kentucky rank 103rd and 104th in scoring offense, respectively.
However, the Ole Miss offense has had success against every team its played. Except Alabama. The Rebels came into their game against Alabama averaging 38 points a game. They got zero against the Crimson Tide. Since then they put 22 points up against Auburn, 38 against Texas A&M and 27 against LSU.
Yet for all of their success UA players aren't aware or particularly impressed with their feats.
"Not really. We just look at film from past games and focus on getting better, where we made our mistakes at and we just focus on getting better each and every day off of that," sophomore linebacker Denzel Devall said.
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.