After being contained to its own side of the field for the majority of the first half, Louisiana-Lafayette finally broke across the 50-yard line with a minute left in the second quarter. Running back Trey Ragas managed to scamper for 26 yards before Alabama inside linebacker Dylan Moses brought him down a yard past the half-field mark.
ULL’s stay in the Crimson Tide’s territory was brief. On the next play, outside linebacker Christian Miller sacked quarterback Andre Nunez for a 7-yard loss. Any hope for a miraculous last-second score was then wiped out by UA defensive back Trevon Diggs’ interception two plays later.
“We try to stay locked in an entire drive, but then once we see, OK, they crossed the 50, now we have to lock in,” Moses said. “That’s when we all try to crackdown and sharpen up our techniques and make sure the other team doesn’t get in.”
Alabama’s defense was nearly impenetrable Saturday, holding the Ragin’ Cajuns to two touchdowns, en route to a 56-14 win in Bryant-Denny stadium.
Before the Ragin’ Cajuns could even cobble together a first down, it was trailing 21-0 in the first half. Alabama’s defense forced four three-and-outs in that time span.
Even as the Crimson Tide’s offense continued to score touchdown after touchdown, the defense refused to yield any ground to the Ragin’ Cajuns. At the break, Alabama allowed just 74 yards of total offense and only gave up one third-down conversion in eight ULL attempts.
Alabama maintained its defensive intensity through the third quarter. With ULL making moves in Alabama territory on its first drive of the second half, UA defensive back Xavier McKinney grabbed his second interception of the season.
It wasn’t until the Crimson Tide’s first-team defense was settled in on the sideline that the Ragin’ Cajuns found any success moving the ball.
“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t play better with the second defense when they went in there for more than a quarter of the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “They have too many guys on that group that really have to learn how to compete.”
The inexperience of the second-team defense was evident, as it allowed ULL to score twice in the fourth quarter.
Moses, who was thrown in last season to play due to injuries, sees the value in allowing younger players to get in-game reps, even if it results in allowing a couple scores in a blowout win.
“You got to let them get out there and play. You’ve got to let them get out there and get experience,” Moses said. “Whenever they come to the sideline, you can give them tips and stuff. But you don’t want to be on them because it’ll make them nervous or all jittery, so you want them to gain confidence on their own.”