The top-ranked Alabama football team played its first true road game of the season on Saturday, and ventured to Vanderbilt with key questions to answer. Here are four of them, and how UA responded:
1. Is the Crimson Tide ripe for an upset?
Not even close. Vanderbilt was undefeated and fresh off an upset victory of a ranked Kansas State team, but Alabama isn’t Kansas State. The Crimson Tide may have displayed a hint of vulnerability against Fresno State and Colorado State, but reestablished itself as a national title contender with this performance.
2. Who will win the turnover battle?
Alabama remained flawless in the area of ball protection with zero turnovers on the season. Vanderbilt had only committed one turnover, but threw an interception and lost a fumble in the first half to help Alabama out. The Crimson Tide fumbled three times, but recovered all three.
3. Can Vanderbilt run on Alabama?
The Commodores came in averaging just a tad over 100 yards on the ground per game, while Alabama had allowed 144 rushing yards to Colorado State the week before. But Vandy couldn’t budge Alabama’s run defense, gaining just 40 rushing yards on 16 carries.
4. How will Alabama attack a formidable Vanderbilt defense?
Alabama steamrolled a defense that was giving up just 4.3 points and less than 200 yards per game. The Crimson Tide rushed for nearly 500 yards and piled up 38 first downs and 59 points in a dominant performance. Maybe the Commodores were overrated on defense or maybe Alabama hadn’t previously hit its stride, but this was a statement game.