No. 1 Alabama hosts FCS team Chattanooga ahead of Iron Bowl
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Nick Saban doesn't want No. 1 Alabama taking a step backward in performance no matter the opponent.
The Crimson Tide coach paraphrased a well-known movie line to drive that point home leading up to Saturday's game against FCS team Chattanooga.
''I think that this week the old `Shawshank Redemption' statement, you're either busy living or you're busy dying,'' Saban said. ''You know, it kind of means you're not going to stay the same. From my perspective, we're either going to get better or we're going to get worse. We're probably not going to stay the same.''
The same would probably get it done for the Tide (10-0, No. 1 CFP), which has won 22 straight games and already clinched a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Chattanooga (8-2) is the 11th-ranked team in the FCS but now must face a team loaded with NFL prospects.
''I think everybody knows this is the best team in the country,'' Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. ''Our players know they have tremendous players and I know they have tremendous coaches. Very smart people there. Watching film, they're not only athletic, but they do things right in all phases of the game.''
The reality is that this game is a respite from Alabama before facing No. 18 Auburn in the Iron Bowl and then heading to the Atlanta to play for the league title and most likely a shot at a third straight playoff berth.
FBS teams certainly haven't been putting up much fight against the Tide in the last two months. In fact, Alabama has allowed just three points in the last nine quarters dating back to the Texas A&M game, including a 51-3 win over Mississippi State.
Some other things to know about the Chattanooga-Alabama game:
STANDING ALONE: With a win, Saban would break a tie with Ohio State's Woody Hayes and Florida State's Bobby Bowden for the most victories coaching a top-ranked team. Saban is 40-5, as is Bowden. Hayes went 40-4-1 with No. 1 teams.
PASS RUSHERS: Alabama has some of the SEC's top pass rushers in defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. Chattanooga DE Keionta Davis leads the Southern Conference with eight sacks and has 28.5 in his career. ''It really looks like no one in the country can pass block against that line,'' Mocs guard Corey Levin said. ''So we'll have to try and get the ball out quicker.''
DEFENSIVE SCORES: Alabama has gone a whopping two games without scoring a non-offensive touchdown, but still leads the nation with 12. Defensive back Lucas Webb has returned three interceptions for touchdowns in his career and Chattanooga has scored a Southern Conference-best 19 defensive touchdowns since Huesman took over in 2009.
HOMECOMING: Webb is from suburban Tuscaloosa and is a two-time All-Southern Conference performer. He said he'll have some 20 family members at the game. ''It's a lot different from growing up when you're cheering for them as a team,'' Webb said. ''So it's a little different when you come in there and want to do your best and try to beat that team.''
ALABAMA'S RIGHT GUARD: It's the only spot in Alabama's lineup with any real uncertainty, since former starter Alphonse Taylor remains out and may not return after missing four games following a concussion. Senior Korren Kirven logged his first start against Mississippi State. Lester Cotton had started the previous three games.
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