Alabama's secondary continues to dominate opponentsBy Elliott Propes | 10/20/2015 9:15pm
When Minkah Fitzpatrick crossed the end zone for Alabama’s third pick-six, it was basically over for No. 9 Texas A&M. Alabama had a 41-23 lead and would bleed the clock to capture its second win over a top 10 opponent away from home. This was the third straight week that Alabama’s secondary decimated its opponent. It seems that new defensive backs coach, Mel Tucker, has completely turned the secondary around that gave up 341 yards and three touchdowns to Ole Miss.
Aggie fans were stunned as Kyle Allen looked completely different from the two weeks before, where he threw for 300 yards-plus in wins against Mississippi State and Arkansas. Allen came into Saturday’s game with the SEC’s highest quarterback rating of 169.00. On Saturday, Allen had a QBR of 6.4, and his completion percentage dropped 14 percent from his season average. Before the game, Allen also had a stellar touchdown to interception ratio of 13/2. On Saturday, he surpassed his season total of interceptions in one game, with three and was only able to complete one touchdown pass.
The Crimson Tide secondary that seemed to get torched by Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly, did the opposite in College Station, Texas. The three pick-sixes were a school record, but that was not the only new school record. Fitzpatrick's two pick-sixes was also a record. Three more Alabama records were broken with Eddie Jackson’s 119 interception return yards and his season total of 230 return yards. The total 207 return yards between Fitzpatrick and Jackson was the final record broken.
The two weeks before, the secondary had great numbers as well. Alabama embarrassed Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey who combined for 106 yards and three interceptions for an underwhelming QBR of 2.0. Arkansas’s Brandon Allen could never get much going against Alabama with a completion percentage of 46.8. He finished with a QBR of 13.4. That makes three straight games against SEC opponents that Alabama has held opposing quarterbacks under a QBR of 14.0.
Alabama’s secondary now leads the SEC in several categories. They lead with 12 interceptions, four touchdowns and an opponent completion percentage of 50.8. The improved secondary, when added to the best rushing defense in the SEC, makes the Alabama defense formidable. The Crimson Tide has allowed only three rushing touchdowns so far and holds its opponents to an average of 70.9 rushing yards per game. That's good enough for third best in the nation behind just Boston College and Michigan.
Alabama is now second in the SEC, and No. 14 nationally, for allowed points per game with just 16.7. A lot of that has to do with Mel Tucker’s group which seems to be improving week to week. It’s hard to believe, after what Alabama did to Texas A&M, that the trend will change.