(3) Alabama - 35, (20) Wisconsin - 17
September 5, 2015
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The University of Alabama's
junior running back Derrick Henry had a career day, rushing
13 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No.
3 Crimson Tide past No. 20 Wisconsin 35-17 in the Advocare
Classic inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on
Derrick Henry (2) breaks through the line on a 4th down
and runs it in for a touchdown during the first quarter.
Photo Credit - Vasha Huntemail@example.com
Henry opened up the game's scoring, breaking off a 37-yard
run in the first quarter to put Alabama ahead 7-0. He put
up two more scores in the third quarter, including a
56-yard touchdown rush that put him over 100 yards for the
night, the sixth time in his career he has eclipsed the
century mark in a game.
Senior quarterback Jake Coker, making his debut as the
Crimson Tide's starting quarterback, was an efficient
15-of-21 for 213 yards and one touchdown to go along with
no turnovers. Sophomore Cooper Bateman also saw action in
the second half, finishing 7-for-8 with 51 yards.
Defensively, Alabama was dominant at the line of scrimmage,
holding the Badgers to just 40 yards rushing on 21
attempts, an average of 1.9 yards per rush. Senior
linebacker recorded 12 total tackles, including five solo.
Additionally, Jonathan Allen had two sacks and the team
broke up seven passes on the night.
Overall, the Tide gained 502 yards (264 passing and 238
rushing), picked up 28 first downs, and averaged 7.6 yards
per play. Wisconsin totaled 268 yards (228 passing and 40
rushing), along with converting 17 first downs and
averaging 4.5 yards per play. The Tide also did not commit
a turnover on the night.
Wisconsin won the toss and chose to defer their option to
the second half. Alabama then elected to receive the game's
Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry carried the ball
three consecutive times to pick up the Crimson Tide's
initial first down of the night, but on the next series,
Coker was sacked by Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert on
third-and-8 to force a punt.
On Wisconsin's first possession of the game, the Badgers
were able to pick up one first down to cross into Alabama
territory. That was all they could produce on that drive
however, as quarterback Joel Stave was pressured on
third-and-6 and misfired on the pass attempt.
Alabama took over at its own 10, but this time went to the
air immediately. On the first play, Coker used play action
to buy time to find Robert Foster for a 22-yard gain. The
second play of the drive picked up another 22 yards as
Coker hit senior wide receiver Richard Mullaney to move the
Tide into Badger territory.
After a couple of unsuccessful plays, Alabama was facing a
third-and-11. Coker connected with Robert Foster on a
screen pass, who came up a yard shy of the first down. The
Tide decided to go for it on fourth down, calling Henry's
number once again. The powerful running back burst through
the middle of the defense for a 37-yard rushing touchdown.
Adam Griffith converted the extra point to give Alabama a
7-0 lead. The drive covered 90 yards in just six plays and
took only 2:01 off the clock.
The Badgers got the ball back and once again picked up one
first down, but were turned away on a third-and-2 running
play and had to punt the ball away. However, the Wisconsin
defense was able to get consistent pressure on Coker and
clog any running lanes on Alabama's next offensive
possession to get a stop. A personal foul by the Tide's
Cole Mazza on the punt gave the Badgers the ball at their
own 37 yard line.
The first quarter ended with the score still 7-0 in favor
of Alabama, but Wisconsin quickly changed that.
The Badgers were able to convert a third-and-3, as Stave
found Dare Ogunbowale for a first-and-10 inside the 30. On
the next play Stave rolled out and threw across the field
to connect with tight end Austin Traylor to get inside the
After a short gain on first down and an incomplete pass on
second, the Wisconsin quarterback found Erickson, who made
the grab as he was falling to the ground, on third-and-goal
for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the game
was tied 7-7 with 11:06 to play in the first half after the
nine-play, 63 yard scoring drive.
Back-to-back carries by Henry resulted in first downs for
Alabama on the ensuing drive, then Coker found sophomore
ArDarius Stewart for a long completion, but Stewart was
called for offensive pass interference to nullify the play.
After Kenyan Drake was held to a minimal gain on
first-and-25, Coker found Drake on another screen pass for
a 33-yard gain. The Tide's offense then went up-tempo for
another completion that resulted in a first down.
O.J. Howard's first catch of the game came on the next
play, good for 11 yards and another first down, moving
the Tide into the red zone for the second time on the
night. Then Coker capped the drive off in style, completing
a 17-yard pass to Robert Foster for Coker's first touchdown
pass in a Crimson Tide uniform. The senior quarterback was
a perfect 4-for-4 on the 8-play, 88-yard scoring drive.
Stave was sacked by junior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen
on the first play of Wisconsin's next possession, but on
second-and-17 he found Erickson again, this time for a huge
gain out to the Wisconsin 44. On third-and-7 of the next
series, Stave threw underneath and junior defensive back
Eddie Jackson was able to make a tackle to prevent a first
down and force another punt.
Alabama was pinned deep in its own territory, as it was
for the entire first half. The Tide was able to pick up
one first down, but then had to punt the ball back to the
Badgers in the final seconds of the half. J.K. Scott's punt
went off the side of his foot, giving Wisconsin the ball at
the Alabama 39 with nine seconds remaining in the half.
Stave found Erickson yet again, this time over the middle
for 23 yards. The Badgers called a timeout to set up for a
34-yard field goal on the final play of the half, but
kicker Rafael Gaglianone's attempt hit the right upright,
preserving the Tide's 14-7 lead.
To open the second half, Wisconsin took over at its on 16.
After picking up a first down thanks to a defensive pass
interference call on Marlon Humphrey, Jonathan Allen was
disruptive in the backfield again, wrapping up Stave for
another sack. That left the Badgers with third-and-16,
which they could not convert.
Taking over at its own 44, Alabama went deep on its first
offensive play of the half, but Coker underthrew Stewart
and the pass fell incomplete. On the very next play, Henry
took the handoff and broke through the line once again,
this time rumbling 56 yards for his second touchdown rush
of the game. The carry also put him over the 100-yard mark
on the night for the sixth time in his career. Griffith
knocked home the extra point and Alabama extended its lead
to 21-7 with 11:42 to play in the third quarter.
The Alabama defense made perhaps its most impressive stand
of the game on the next drive, as Stave was under duress
on all three of his pass attempts. He completed just one
of three, and the Badgers went three-and-out. A solid
18-yard punt return by Cyrus Jones gave the Tide tremendous
field position, starting at the Wisconsin 48.
Coker found Mullaney along the sidelines for a first down,
then Coker scrambled on the next play for another first
down, as the Tide appeared poised to put more points on
the board. However, penalties plagued the drive from there.
Back-to-back false starts put Alabama behind the chains,
followed by a holding call on third-and-17. A third-and-27
screen pass to Henry picked up 12 yards and allowed the
kicking unit to come out for a field goal, but the 44-yard
attempt by Griffith was hooked to the left.
Wisconsin failed to pick up a first down yet again, as
Stave threw incomplete on all three plays. The series was
highlighted defensively for Alabama by freshman Minkah
Fitzpatrick, who broke up a pass on third-and-10.
The Crimson Tide was able to take its largest lead of the
game on the next drive. Drake got things started,
collecting a shovel pass and taking it for a 15-yard gain.
After an offensive holding penalty, Coker found Howard
over the middle for 21 yards and a first down, then
Stewart over the middle for 16 yards and a first down.
Drake made a couple of cuts to the outside for a 12-yard
run and a third-consecutive first down. Then Henry took
over, fighting through a tackle at the line of scrimmage
to move the ball inside the 5 before scoring his third
touchdown of the night on a 2-yard rush. The drive totaled
67 yards in seven plays and took 2:10 off the clock.
Needing to respond, the Badgers put together a drive that
resulted in three points. A defensive pass interference
call got the possession started, and Stave completed a
couple of passes for first downs to move Wisconsin near
the red zone. But he could not lead the offense into the
end zone, and the Badgers took the points instead of going
for a fourth-and-6 from the Alabama 20. A false start
pushed the field goal attempt back five yards, but this
time Gaglianone split the uprights from 43 yards.
The Tide made a quarterback change before the start of
the next drive on offense, as sophomore Cooper Bateman
came in for Coker and finished out the game. His first
play was a scramble for six yards, followed by a Drake
rush for a first down, which closed out the third quarter.
Bateman was able to extend the drive by hitting freshman
Calvin Ridley for seven yards on third-and-4. That was the
first of three straight completions that resulted in a
first down for the Alabama quarterback, as he also
connected with Stewart for 11 yards and Ridley again,
this time for 13 yards. The drive eventually stalled at
the Badger 22. Griffith came in for another field goal
attempt, but this one was pushed just to the right.
Wisconsin's next possession was another 3-and-out, the
third of the second half recorded by the Tide defense.
After a Badger unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the
punt, Alabama inherited a short field, starting at the
27. The offense went in reverse on the first two plays,
setting up a third-and-26. Bateman handed off to Drake,
who appeared to be wrapped up around the line of scrimmage,
but spun free and sprinted down the sidelines for an
electric 43-yard touchdown. It was another quick scoring
drive for Alabama, covering 27 yards in exactly 2:00 and
moving the score to 35-10.
The Badgers closed out the scoring on the next drive.
Starting at the 25 following a touchback, Erickson ripped
off the team's longest run of the night, a 25-yard gain to
midfield. Stave spread the ball around from there,
eventually tossing a three-yard touchdown pass to Robert
Wheelwright. With the extra point, Wisconsin closed to
within 35-17, but would get no closer. They did get the
ball back on offense for one final drive, but Eddie Jackson
intercepted a Stave pass to quickly end that possession.
Alabama won its season opener for the 97th time in 121
season opening games with the victory. The Tide also moved
to 6-0 in neutral-site season opening games.