No. 8 Alabama (9-1, 7-0 SEC) will play its final home game of the season Saturday against Chattanooga. These two teams last met in 2016, with the Crimson Tide winning 31-3 after getting off to a slow start.
This will be the 14th meeting between the two teams. The Crimson Tide hold a 13-0 advantage all time. A win on Saturday would give Alabama its 16th-straight 10-win season, extending the NCAA record it set last year.
Here are five things to watch this Saturday on Senior Day for the Crimson Tide.
Win With Style Points
It is almost a given that Alabama will win on Saturday, but the question is by how much. Alabama is stuck at No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoff standings and may need some teams ahead of them to lose. It’s also important for the Crimson Tide to not just win the game Saturday, but dominate the game and even run up the score to impress the College Football Playoff committee.
Playing lesser competition this week will offer opportunities for Alabama to rest players as well as get a look at some of the younger future starters on the roster. Last week, Jalen Milroe got banged up a bit but was able to finish the game. The Crimson Tide defense will most likely be without linebacker Deontae Lawson and safety Jaylen Key giving them another week to get closer to 100% with the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship Game coming up in the next few weeks. Saban doesn’t like to sit his starters if healthy, but it’s safe to say Alabama could win this one without Milroe if he chooses to do so.
Defending Chattanooga’s Wide Receivers
Earlier in the week, Saban praised the Chattanooga receivers as having SEC-caliber talent. Their top three receivers, Jamoi Mayes, Sam Phillips and Javin Whatley, have combined for 147 grabs for 2,246 yards and 16 touchdowns. The trio will be a great test for one of the best secondaries in the nation.
Saturday will be another early kickoff against a team that Alabama should handle very easily. Focus will be key for the Alabama team if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s easy to lose focus after playing seven straight SEC games with a date with in-state rival Auburn on deck. Back in 2016, Alabama played this game, and it wasn’t pretty. Alabama found itself trailing 3-0 in the second quarter before finishing the game on a 31-0 run for the 31-3 victory.
Honoring Will Reichard and the Seniors
Alabama will have 23 players celebrated on Senior Day in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. The most impactful senior of the bunch is kicker Will Reichard. Reichard came back for a fifth season for the Crimson Tide, and it has paid off for him. Just 22 points away from becoming the all-time NCAA points record holder, history is within arms reach. Setting the record in his final home game would be picture-perfect, but 22 points in one game is just not obtainable.
Alabama will play its final home game of the season in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT. SEC Network+ will carry the broadcast.
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