GAINESVILLE, Fla. —The Alabama defense could not stop the Florida offense in the second half. The Gators rushed for 245 yards in the game and outgained Alabama overall 440-331 yards.
But when it counted the most, the defense was able to get a stop on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt.
"We stopped the two-point conversion, and we made the plays that we had to make on offense to stay ahead in the game," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after his team's 31-29 win over Florida.
The Gators opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Then when it looked like Alabama had Florida right where they wanted them, third-and-10 from their own one-yard line, Emory Jones converted on a 19-yard strike to Nay'Quan Wright.
That was the beginning of a 99-yard touchdown drive. Alabama answered the first drive with a touchdown and the second drive with a field goal and a 31-23 lead with 9:25 left in the game.
The Gators responded by driving 75 yards down the field and capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown from Dameon Pierce. When Malik Davis lined up for the two-point attempt, he was stuffed by Justin Eboigbe and Will Anderson Jr. from the Alabama defense.
Florida coach Dan Mullen said there were two missed assignments on the play.
"We had a guy line up wrong, and then a guy go the wrong way," Mullen said.
When asked if it was a designed run or pass play, Mullen said there were multiple options. However, the missed assignments dictated the way the play transpired.
Alabama had an idea of what was coming based on the formation that was similar to the play the Gators had scored from on the drive before, according to Saban.
"We actually were playing split safety coverage, so he had a run read, and our guys up front just did a really good job of stopping the dive," Saban said. "He really rode the guy for a long time so the runner couldn't hit it. So that was a good job by the defense, especially guys up front."
One of those guys up front who made the stop was Anderson, who left last week's Mercer game with an injury. All week, Saban had said he was day-to-day, and he ended up playing throughout the entire game on Saturday.
After the game, Saban said Anderson was healthy but may have just been a little tired.
The Alabama head coach once again spoke about his team needing to maintain intensity throughout an entire game. And even though there are many things for the defense to clean up after the Florida game, the stop on the two-point attempt showed that they have the discipline to make a stop when they need to.