Report Card from Alabama Football’s sleepy win over Austin Peay

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football got off to a troubling start, but eventually managed a sleepy 34-0 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide lost two first quarter fumbles, contributing to the team leading just 7-0 midway through the second quarter. Two of Alabama’s freshman wide receivers were the offenders on the mistakes. Kendrick Law was the victim of bad luck and poor communication when a short, awkward punt hit him from behind and was subsequently recovered by the Governors for yet another Tide special teams error. Later in the quarter, Isaiah Bond was stripped clean on an end-around. Even against its lowest level of competition, the 2022 Alabama football team just can’t seem to get out of its own way.

Alabama Football Offensive Grade: C-

The Alabama offense was largely unimpressive in the game, with the exception of a few bright spots. The Crimson Tide was able to run the ball with some efficiency, totaling 263 yards on 5.8 yards per carry. With Jahmyr Gibbs sitting out, Jase McClellan paced the Tide for a second straight week. McClellan gained 156 yards on over 9 YPC and scored a pair of touchdowns. Roydell Williams was also effective, gaining 66 total yards on 11 touches.

Jermaine Burton had his best game in an Alabama uniform, making seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Burton accounted for over half of Bryce Young’s passing yards, as well as over half of Jalen Milroe’s production. No other Alabama receivers made a significant impact on the game. Traeshon Holden, who recorded three catches for 38 yards, was the only other Bama receiver with over 20 yards.

Alabama Football Defensive Grade: B-

The Alabama defense allowed some early yardage, but ultimately made enough plays to maintain the shutout. The defense was put in disadvantageous situations twice early in the game when Bama turnovers led to good field position for Austin Peay. The Governors failed to convert a fourth down on one possession, then missed a field goal on the next.

For the game, the defense allowed 206 total yards. It permitted just 59 yards on the ground (2.4 YPC), and held the Governors to 4.5 yards per attempt passing. While it managed to stop the run, Alabama was not very disruptive in the Austin Peay backfield. It recorded just four tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, and zero sacks.

The Crimson Tide defense did force three turnovers in the game, something it has struggled to do this season. Two of Alabama’s best defensive backs, sophomore cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry and junior safety Brian Branch, each snagged their first interceptions of the season. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Damon Payne pounced on a fumble to force another turnover.

Next. Alabama still playing for more than pride. dark

While this game did not provide the Alabama football fan base with the satisfaction of total dominance, the Tide took care of business and emerged from the game relatively unscathed. The Crimson Tide will host Auburn in a tough-to-gauge Iron Bowl showdown next weekend.