Highlighting the fact that Alabama has yet to play in a close game this season seems superfluous, as the Crimson Tide never wavered from the nation’s top ranking during their undefeated march through their regular season schedule.
Some of the accomplishment lies with the Alabama offense, led by sophomore quarterback and Heisman trophy favorite Tua Tagovailoa, since it scored 49 points per game during the regular season. The average was second-best in all of college football. Alabama did not simply outscore its opponents, though. It destroyed them.
The Crimson Tide defense only allowed its opponents to average 13.8 points per game, and the most any team ever scored on the group occurred when Arkansas fell 65-31 on Oct. 6. Alabama’s narrowest margin of victory during the 2018 regular season was 22 points, meaning the closest any team ever got to beating Alabama was still three touchdowns too short.
Here’s a closer look at how this Crimson Tide defense has stifled any offense it has come across this season:
Alabama’s defensive line is big, and it’s physical.
Led by Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis, the group’s top four producers have combined for 177 tackles (87 of which were solo tackles) and 18.5 sacks. The front line of the defense is only allowing teams to rush for 114 yards per game, and the Crimson Tide defense as a whole has only allowed six rushing touchdowns all season.
The quartet of Williams, Davis, Isaiah Buggs and LaBryan Ray are each at least 286 pounds and 6 foot, 4 inches tall. The dominant linemen will pose a unique and challenging task to the young Georgia guards and tackles that are set to face them.
Alabama linebackers have a tendency to make a name for themselves under the coaching of Nick Saban. While the Crimson Tide may not have any Donta Hightower or Reuben Foster on the roster right now, the group they do have has been more than efficient during the 2018 campaign.
Junior linebacker Mack Wilson led the Crimson Tide in tackles during last season’s national championship game with 12, and he’s continued his success so far this season. His two interceptions lead the group, although his 57 total tackles this year fall short of sophomore linebacker Dylan Moses’ 70.
Christian Miller leads the linebackers in sacks with his seven and a half, and he also has a group-leading 11 quarterback hurries.
The Crimson Tide will be without defensive back Jared Mayden for the first half of the SEC championship game, because he was ejected in the second half of last week’s Iron Bowl for a targeting penalty. The junior has played in 10 of the 12 games thus far, but there are still others at the position that have been making plays all season.
Savion Smith leads Alabama with his three interceptions, although Deionte Thompson, Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter each have two of their own. Similarly, Carter leads the team with his seven pass breakups while the other three each have five.
The Crimson Tide defense allowed opponents to complete just over 50 percent of their passes during the regular season, but they have held those opponents to just above 168 passing yards per game.