Alabama’s attention to detail on both sides of the football, combined with tremendous size and speed, overwhelmed the Hurricanes from the outset of the game and for the remainder of the contest. There were numerous players that stood out, and one important question.
Can anyone beat Head Coach Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide after the way they played on Saturday evening? The answer is likely a yes, but it’s going to need to be a really good performance for Alabama to lose a game.
Well, the question from earlier today was answered as well. ‘“Can the Hurricanes play the type of defense necessary to keep Alabama under 40 points?”’ That question was presented within the preview article, Alabama Versus Miami Analysis, Predictions for the Best College Football Games. The Crimson Tide racked up 44 points and 501 yards of total offense.
For Miami and its fans, the answer would be a resounding no but not just because of the final score. The game started off bad and just stayed that way. Poor angles to the ball carrier, defensive backs unable to run with the Alabama wide receivers, and poor gap control in general were some of the issues for the defense. Offensively, there’s still talent, but with a catch.
The offensive line just cannot get it done. Too many plays of Alabama defenders running free at very talented signal caller D’Eriq King. No matter the quarterback, there’s only so much a quarterback will muster with one or more defenders in his face. Same with future NFL running back Cam’Ron Harris. Just no place to run. Wide receivers were barely into their routes before King would need to start scrambling, so hard to say what that unit can do. Here's a video recap of the game:
During future games, the one young Hurricane that Miami should look to find ways to get the football to would be Xavier Restrepo. In the corner of the end zone, Restrepo caught a fade pass for a score while an Alabama defender was right there. Great throw from King, great catch by Restrepo.
As for Alabama, what a first showing for quarterback Bryce Young. He was precise with his passing and his decision making. Few young quarterbacks provide the pocket presence that Young provides.
Whether stepping in the pocket when needed, throwing the football away to avoid the rush, or simply hitting his check down running back or receiver, Young distributed the football like a veteran. It's also a major reason why Alabama converted 10 of 16 third down opportunities. That alone is a tremendous sign for Alabama. The Crimson Tide offense played well overall, and there are some new players to keep in mind.
Wide receiver Jameson Williams displayed the speed on the perimeter to produce a 94 yard touchdown reception. His four catches for 126 yards and one touchdown are a representation of why it’s going to be hard for future Alabama opponents to stack the line and stop the rushing attack.
Bryan Robinson, Jr. paced the running backs with 60 yards on the ground, and Trey Sanders and Jase McClellan accounted for 41 yards and 36 yards respectively. Sanders also scored a rushing touchdown. When just looking at Alabama’s three primary running backs, the Crimson Tide averaged 4.7 yards per carry. While not incredible, that total will be just fine moving forward when combined with the aerial attack Alabama provided against Miami.
Defensively, Alabama’s front seven disrupted Miami’s rhythm and timing for the majority of the game. King had to scramble too often and the Hurricanes running game never got on track. Alabama’s defenders penetrated the backfield play after play.
The Alabama defense was great overall, but the disruptive play of the defensive line and linebackers was especially impressive. Four sacks were recorded and the Hurricanes averaged just 2.8 yards per rush. One defender's play stood out among several really good performances.
Will Anderson accounted for nine tackles and a sack. Only a sophomore, Anderson is one of the nation’s best edge defenders. He can disrupt an opposing offense by himself.
He simply possesses too much quickness for most offensive tackles to handle. Further, he’s adept at changing direction and getting to the ball carrier or quarterback like few players his size can match. Like an offensive skill player with the potential to score on any play, Anderson is a defensive player with the same type of skill.
Overall, Alabama gobbled up Miami on both sides of the football. Until otherwise proven, college football programs are still chasing Alabama. They were really impressive against Miami.