By Joey Chandler
Alabama’s defense found itself plagued by injuries in a 24-10 victory over LSU on Saturday night.
Linebacker Mack Wilson left on a cart in the second quarter, and in the third quarter, linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton went down, throwing off his helmet in pain. He headed straight to the locker room.
“It was a great win for us. It was a costly win for us,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Shaun Dion is probably out and so is Mack Wilson, probably out, and we already have a couple of linebackers that were out, so this is going to be a challenge to be able to sort of get enough guys, but the guys that went in there playing today did a pretty good job.”
Wilson suffered a foot injury. Hamilton injured his knee.
Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick also left the field twice in the first half, but returned to play in Alabama’s dime package.
“We don’t know how bad it is,” Saban said. “Probably do an MRI on (Sunday) and make an assessment, but the fact that he was able to go out there and play probably is an indication that it wasn’t too terrible or bad.”
Alabama, entered the game allowing just 66.4 rushing yards per game and gave up 155 yards on the ground against the Tigers. They also led the nation in total defense, averaging 236 yards. LSU finished with 306.
Senior linebacker Rashaan Evans, who led Alabama with 10 tackles, was pleased with the way the defense adjusted to the injuries.
“It is very difficult, just for any defense to constantly see guys constantly go down,” Evans said. “All you can really do it just make sure you’ve got the guys that are behind you ready, and I feel like we did a good job with that tonight.”
Safety Ronnie Harrison, who finished with six tackles and an interception late in the first quarter to set up a scoring drive, said the team’s experience with injuries earlier this season taught the defense how adapt when adversity arises. Alabama lost three of its outside linebackers in the season opener, and only one has returned.
Alabama finished with a season-high six sacks.
“That was one of our goals this week to get after the quarterback and pressure him, so I feel like we did good,” Harrison said.