(3) Alabama - 35, (20) Wisconsin - 17
- rolltide.com
September 5, 2015

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 Hunt/vhunt@al.com
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 Saturday night.

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.

First Quarter

Wisconsin won the toss and chose to defer their option to the second half. Alabama then elected to receive the game's opening kickoff.

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.

Second Quarter

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 10.

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.

Third Quarter

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.

Fourth 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.