Alabama Football: Smothering Run Defense remains key to Tide’s Dynasty

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Alabama Football

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A stout defense is the name of the game for Alabama football since head coach Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa. The 2011 and 2016 defenses are considered two of college football’s best in the past 25 years.

Defense wins championships. Alabama football is the standard-bearer for the moniker. All five national champions under Saban had top 5 defenses.

Only thirteen running backs rushed for 100 yards against Alabama football in 139 games since the iconic Saban’s return from the National Football League.

The most yards given up to one running back was Ohio State superstar runner Ezekiel Elliott 230 yards in the inaugural 2014 College Football Playoff semifinal. The future Dallas Cowboy single handily stopped a Tide comeback with a back-breaking 85-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Next highest was Arkansas Razorbacks running back Darren McFadden scampering for 195 yards in Saban’s debut season. Both Elliott and McFadden put up impressive numbers against Alabama. Not only were the two elite running backs, but their performances against the Tide were also rare exceptions.

During the 2008 and 2009 seasons, no runners went over 100 yards against Alabama. Tennessee’s Tauren Poole ruined the 41 game streak with a performance of 117 yards and one touchdown in a 41-10 Alabama win.

Alabama football has lived off running the football and stopping the run. SEC teams attempt to mirror the Tide but have failed miserably.

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