Alabama Defense Receives 26th Shutout of Nick Saban Era

Alabama’s 34-0 win over Austin Peay at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday was the Crimson Tide’s 26th shutout of the Nick Saban era since 2007. It was Bama’s second this year after a 55-0 win over Utah State at the season opener. 15 of the shutouts came against non-conference opponents, 11 against Southeastern Conference opponents.

Second best in the shutouts category over the period is Ohio State with 14.

“It’s always great to get a shutout,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban. He pointed out that Bama had a total of 527 yards of offense while Austin Peay held just 206 yards. The Governors had 25 rushes for 59 yards, just 2.4 yards per play.

Bama had no sacks in the game because the Governors’ offensive plan featured quarterback Mike DiLello making fast throws. The only two quarterback presses came from centerbacks Byron Young and Jaheim Oats, with one each. Austin Peay’s 20 completions in 33 attempts averaged just 7.4 yards per completion and 4.5 yards per attempt.

The 58 games averaged just 3.6 yards each.

Cornerback Terrion Arnold had broken two passes, and linebackers Will Anderson and Deontae Lawson had one each. Lawson’s drop saved the redshirt newcomer from an almost certain touchdown.

Austin Peay only had 12 first downs, 9 passing, 2 rushing and 1 by penalty.

The concert of offensive and defensive includes the Tide with 35:41 ball possession, the Governors only with 24:19.

Middle linebacker Henry To’o To’o, who had eight tackles for The Tide (4 primary, 4 assists), said, “In football today, every shutout is big.”

Alabama has been talking about the need to generate more sales for weeks. On Saturday, Alabama got just its fourth and fifth interceptions of the season, one from cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry returning 26 yards and one from defenseman Brian Branch, who led the tackle list with six primary stops and two assists.

“We’ve been talking about sales since the start of the season,” Branch said. “It felt good to get one. We all knew that if one comes, he will come further. If everyone just plays their part, it will come to us.”

Branch grabbed his third career interception and first since he picked up two balls in his freshman year (2020).

In addition to Branch and To’o To’o, who each had eight tackles, safety DeMarcco Hellams had seven. linebacker Will Anderson and safety Jordan Battle four each; and McKinstry, Arnold, linebacker Jaylen Moody, Oatis and defenseman Malachi Moore 3 respectively.

Credited with tackles for loss were Branch, Oatis, defensive lineman DJ Dale, linebacker Dallas XTurner, defensive lineman Tim Smith and Lawson.

The final opportunity for Alabama to play in the regular season comes next Saturday when the Crimson Tide hits Auburn at 2:30 p.m. CST (CBS on TV).