Well hi, it’s Week 12 of the college football season and folks, Alabama had its worst half of the entire season against none other than 4-5 FCS team The Citadel during what’s supposed to be the SEC’s cupcake week. Bama was easily able to pull away in the second half and win 50-17, but The Citadel’s first half was glorious.
1. THE CITADEL TIED BAMA AT 10 IN THE FIRST HALF.
Drink it in, folks.
The first half spread had Alabama -42!
2. Alabama gave up more yards in the first half than it did all season.
Nick Saban’s defense had given up fewer than 100 yards on defense in the first half all season. The Citadel had 149 yards of total offense in the first half alone. The Citadel runs the triple option, a hard system to defend, especially when you have a week to prepare.
Running the ball that much also helps keep possessions down (Bama only had four in the first half), limiting the damage the more talented team can do.
“It’s very challenging because it’s obviously different from anything that we see (with any regularity),” Saban said earlier this week. “We did spend some time (working against it) in fall camp. We did spend some time during the bye week trying to get our players to have a little better understanding of what they need to do and how they need to play it.”
3. This was by far the worst first half for Alabama so far this season.
Alabama's narrowest halftime margin in its first 10 games was 16 points at LSU.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) November 17, 2018
The Tide entered this game first in the nation in beating its first-half point spreads, putting up big leads at the break every single week.
NCAAF Best 1H ATS— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) November 17, 2018
Utah St 9-0-1
So Miss 7-1-1
Fresno St 7-2-1
No Illinois 8-3
4. The Citadel scored the longest rushing touchdown Bama’s defense has given up in years!
The longest rushing touchdown Alabama has given up since 2015 just came at the hands of The Citadel. pic.twitter.com/XuYv1ZsCX9— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 17, 2018
5. The Tide needed 12 and a half minutes to score on offense — nearly six times longer than usual for Alabama.
Until the LSU game on Nov. 3, Bama scored in the first two minutes of every game this season.
6. This Alabama fan drove nearly 800 miles to watch all that.
Wayne drove 753 miles to come see Alabama play The Citadel pic.twitter.com/Uw4Z0kWf6O— Matt Scalici (@MattScalici) November 17, 2018
7. The Citadel’s Twitter account was having so much fun.
Here it called out two SEC West teams who got shut out by the Tide:
8. Saban already hated facing flexbone teams.
This isn’t all that surprising — triple-option military academies are a combined 36-11-1 against huge point spreads since 1995. The Citadel isn’t technically Army, Navy, or Air Force, but it is similar in some ways. And anyone who picked The Citadel to cover the 53-point spread enjoyed that first half, to say the least.
Saban hasn’t exactly taken FCS and triple option teams lightly. He once had this had this unforgettable quote about Georgia Southern in 2011:
Y’all don’t remember the Georgia Southern game, do you? I don’t think we had a guy on that field that didn’t play in the NFL and about four or five of them were first-round draft picks, and I think that team won a national championship but I’m not sure.
And they ran through our ass like shit through a tin horn, man, and we could not stop them. We could not stop them. Could not stop them.
Alabama scored quickly in the second half and ended up winning comfortably, but hey, it was fun while it lasted!