2008 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
The 2008 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA", "Bama" or "The Tide") represented the University of Alabama in the 2008 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 114th overall season, 75th season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and its 17th within the SEC Western Division. The team was led by head coach Nick Saban, in his second year, and played their home games at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They finished with an undefeated 12 0 regular season, their first since 1994, and won their first SEC Western Division Championship since 1999. They finished the season with a record of 12 2 (8 0 in the SEC) after losses to Florida in the SEC Championship Game and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.
The Crimson Tide opened the season with an upset victory over No. 9 Clemson in the inaugural Chick fil A College Kickoff. After the win, Alabama returned home where they defeated non conference opponents Tulane and WKU before they traveled to Fayetteville and defeated Arkansas for their first conference win of the season. The next week, The Crimson Tide upset No. 3 Georgia at Athens and moved into the No. 2 ranking. Alabama then defeated Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arkansas State prior to Saban's return to Baton Rouge as an opposing head coach.
In Week 10 of the season, Alabama became the No. 1 team in both the AP and Coaches' Polls as well as the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings. It was the first red bottom shoes time the Crimson Tide has been ranked No. 1 in the regular season since November 1, 1980, when the top ranked Tide fell to Mississippi State. It was also the first time Nick Saban had ever achieved the No. 1 position in the AP Poll and the first time in school history Alabama had reached No. 1 in the BCS standings. With their 27 21 overtime win over LSU, Alabama clinched a berth in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide louboutin replica finished their regular season undefeated with a 36 0 shutout victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. However, the Tide went on to lose to Florida 31 20 in the SEC Championship Game. A month later, the Tide finished the season with a 31 17 loss in the Sugar Bowl against Utah.
Before the season
During the 2007 2008 campaign, the Crimson Tide completed a 6 6 regular season record with their most notable wins coming over No. Arkansas and longtime rival Tennessee. The Tide went on to win their final game against Colorado (30 24) in the Independence Bowl to finish with a 7 6 record. In June 2009, the NCAA Committee on Infractions sanctioned Alabama for "major violations" of NCAA policies as a result of athletes who received improper benefits in 16 of 19 NCAA sports, including football. As part of the penalties imposed, the football program was forced to vacate five victories from the 2007 season making the official 2007 record 2 6.
In February 2008, Alabama signed the No. recruiting class according to both Rivals and Scout. Spring practice began on March 13 and concluded with the annual A Day game on April 12. Before a crowd of 78,200, the Crimson team defeated the White team by a score of 24 14 in Bryant Denny Stadium. For their performances, Alfred McCullough earned the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the A Day Game Award and Terry Grant earned the Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player of the A Day Game Award.Alabama had 18 returning starters from the previous season, including nine on offense, five on defense, and all of the special teams. The most notable departures from the previous year were D. J. Hall and Justin Britt on offense and Wallace Gilberry, Darren Mustin, Keith Saunders, Ezekial Knight, Simeon Castille and Marcus Carter on defense.Prior to the 2008 season, Alabama made several changes to its coaching staff. Alabama lost their tight ends and special teams coach, Ron Middleton, on January 4, 2008, when he was hired as assistant head coach for Duke and their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Major Applewhite, on January 16, 2008, when he was hired as running backs coach for Texas. During the following weeks, Saban named former Michigan State head coach Bobby Williams as his team's new as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, and Jim McElwain from Fresno State as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
In January 2008, officials from both Clemson and Alabama announced they would open the 2008 season against each other in the inaugural Chick fil A College Kickoff at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. With ESPN's College GameDay in town, and Clemson, selected as the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Crimson Tide upset the Tigers 34 10 to open the season.
After opening cheap red bottoms the scoring on a 54 yard Leigh Tiffin field goal, Cory Reamer forced a Jamie Harper fumble recovered by Dont'a Hightower at the Clemson 31. The ensuing drive resulted in a 21 yard Tiffin field goal and a 6 0 lead. After holding the Tigers to a three and out, the Tide reached the end zone for the first time on the evening on a one yard John Parker Wilson touchdown run to extend the lead to 13 0. After Mark Buchholz hit a 33 yard field goal early in the second quarter, Alabama extended their lead to 20 3 after Wilson hit Nick Walker for a four yard touchdown reception on the following drive. After louboutin shoes replica a missed 52 yard Tiffin field goal, Marquis Johnson intercepted a Cullen Harper pass on the next Clemson possession to set up a 34 yard Tiffin field goal as time expired to give Alabama a 23 3 halftime lead. Clemson opened the second half with C. J. Spiller, the duo known as "Thunder and Lightning," combined for only 20 yards on the ground, while the team's rushing total was 0. Clemson's redshirt senior quarterback, Cullen Harper, completed 20 of 34 passes but had no touchdowns and one interception. Alabama's John Parker Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes with no interceptions. The victory improved Alabama's all time record against the Tigers to 12 3.
Alabama's season home opener saw the Crimson Tide defeat Tulane 20 6, in the 41st meeting between the two teams and the first since 1994. Alabama received the opening kickoff, but went three and out on their first possession. After the Bama defense stopped Tulane on their opening possession, Javier Arenas ignited the crowd on an 87 yard punt return for a touchdown and a 7 0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Chris Rogers returned a blocked punt 17 yards for a touchdown, though freshman kicker Corey Smith missed the extra point resulting in a 13 0 lead. Tulane scored the only points of the second quarter on a 35 yard Ross Thevenot field goal in bringing the halftime score to 13 3.
At the end of the third, Mark Ingram scored the lone offensive touchdown of the game on a 15 yard run and a 21 yard Thevenot field goal in the fourth brought the game to its final 20 6 margin. For the game, Javier Arenas set a school record with 147 yards on punt returns, eclipsing the previous mark of 141 yards set by Harry Gilmer against Georgia in 1947. For his performance, Arenas was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week. The victory improved Alabama's all time record against the Green Wave to 27 11 3.See also: 2008 WKU Hilltoppers football team
In week three, Alabama defeated the WKU Hilltoppers 41 7, who were playing their second season in the FBS. The Bama defense held the Hilltoppers offense to a three and out on their first drive of the game. The Crimson Tide offense took over and completed a twelve play drive that ended with a seven yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. WKU fumbled on the first play of their subsequent drive, and Alabama recovered the ball on the WKU 17 yard line, setting up a 22 yard field goal by Leigh Tiffin. Ingram scored his second touchdown of the afternoon on a five yard run to give Alabama a 17 0 at the end of the first quarter. Alabama scored on their first possession of the second quarter on an eight yard Terry Grant touchdown run to cap a 9 play, 78 yard drive. John Parker Wilson threw an interception on the first play of the next drive. This set up the Hilltoppers' lone score of the afternoon on a 30 yard touchdown reception by Tristan Jones from David Wolke. Alabama put one more touchdown on the scoreboard on a two yard Nick Walker reception from Wilson, to take a 31 7 lead into halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, the Bama offense was held to a 25 yard, Tiffin field goal, making the score 34 7. The defense held WKU to a three and out on their first possession of the second half. This set up a seven play, 55 yard drive that ended with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Julio Jones. Alabama benched most of their starters at the end of the third quarter, and neither team scored in the fourth quarter, to make the final score of 41 7.See also: 2008 Arkansas Razorbacks football team
In what was head coach Bobby Petrino's first game against Alabama, the Crimson Tide were victorious by a final score of 49 14 against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville. The Tide received the opening kickoff, and put together a ten play, 71 yard drive with Mark Ingram scoring on a one yard touchdown run. Arkansas was forced to punt on their first drive, and on the first play of the subsequent Alabama drive, Glen Coffee ran 87 yards for the Tide's second touchdown and a 14 0 lead. In the final minute of the first quarter, Javier Arenas intercepted a Casey Dick pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown to give Alabama a 21 0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Arkansas started their next drive at their own 47 yard line after a 41 yard kickoff return by Dennis Johnson, and drove 53 yards for a touchdown, scoring on fourth and one from the Bama twelve yard line on a Dick pass to Andrew Davie. Bama responded with a 68 yard drive capped off by a 25 yard touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson to Julio Jones. Arkansas put together a steady drive on their next possession, but Justin Woodall intercepted Dick at the Bama 26 yard line and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. Arkansas put together another solid drive, but facing a first and goal at the Bama one yard line, Arkansas was kept out by the stout Bama defense on a goal line stand to close out the half with Bama up 35 7.
Arkansas received the second half kickoff, but Alabama's Marquis Johnson intercepted Dick's pass on the first play of the second half, to set up a 31 yard touchdown run by Glen Coffee. By the end of the third quarter, both teams had put in their substitutes. On Alabama's first possession of the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Greg McElroy's pass was intercepted by Ramon Broadway, setting up a 10 yard touchdown pass by Arkansas second string quarterback Tyler Wilson to Michael Smith. On the first play of Bama's next drive, Roy Upchurch ran 62 yards for Alabama's final touchdown to make the final score 49 14. The 49 points were the most points scored by Alabama in an SEC game since a 59 28 victory over Vanderbilt in 1990. The victory improved Alabama's all time record against the Razorbacks to 9 8 (12 7 without NCAA vacations and forfeits).See also: 2008 Georgia Bulldogs football team
With ESPN's College Gameday in Athens, and Georgia wearing black jerseys for only the third time in school history, as the fans followed suit in a "blackout," the Crimson Tide upset the Bulldogs 41 30. Georgia won the opening coin toss, deferring to receive in the second half. Alabama quickly took control of the game, moving the ball 73 yards before Mark Ingram, Jr. ran for a 7 yard touchdown to make the score 7 0. After the Bulldogs failed to move the ball on their first drive, the Tide again put points on the board as Leigh Tiffin kicked a 23 yard field goal with 4:51 left in the first quarter, to give Alabama 10 0 lead.
After the Bulldogs offense again failed to move the ball, Alabama began a drive at the Georgia 48 yard line. Two plays later, a 31 yard pass from John Parker Wilson to Julio Jones moved the ball inside of the Georgia five yard line. Glen Coffee ran in for his third touchdown of the season, and Alabama led 17 0. On Georgia's next drive, quarterback Matthew Stafford completed a 16 yard pass to wide receiver A. J. Green, who fumbled the ball which was subsequently fumbled and recovered by Dont'a Hightower. After a short drive, Roy Upchurch scored Alabama's third rushing touchdown to extend their lead to 24 0. Before the halftime break, Wilson connected with Julio Jones for a 22 yard touchdown pass as Alabama led 31 0 at half.
In the second half, Georgia's offense began moving the ball, scoring on their first drive of the half when Blair Walsh kicked a 33 yard field goal. On Alabama's sixth drive of the game, Georgia defense forced a three and out for the first time, forcing a P. Fitzgerald punt. Georgia again cut into the lead later in the third quarter when running back Knowshon Moreno ran for a two yard touchdown, to cap a 58 yard drive and cut Alabama's lead to 31 10. Georgia again reduced Alabama's lead when Prince Miller returned a Fitzgerald punt for a 92 yard touchdown. On the following drive, Alabama extended their lead to 34 17 on a 32 yard Leigh Tiffin field goal.