Alabama notes: Four Tide players hurt in Saturday win
ATLANTA — Alabama’s defensive masterpiece came with a price.
Four Crimson Tide linebackers were injured in Saturday’s 24-7 win against Florida State, coach Nick Saban revealed following the game. Three were starters.
Two — Terrell Lewis (elbow) and Christian Miller (biceps) — are “very questionable” for next week’s game against Fresno State, according to Saban.
Lewis was spotted with his arm in a sling late in the second half. He and Miller, who started at SAM linebacker, each had a tackle for loss against the Seminoles. Lewis had five solo tackles — the third-most on the team.
Saban said linebacker Rashaan Evans was battling a groin injury. The Tide’s starting WILL linebacker was presumably hurt on the final play of the first half, when he absorbed a vicious hit while returning Minkah Fitzpatrick’s blocked field goal as time expired in the first half.
Evans did not play in the second half. JACK linebacker Anfernee Jennings sprained his ankle, Saban said, sidelining him for the second half.
Without these four, the Tide still held Florida State scoreless in the game’s final 30 minutes.
Raekwon Davis shed Cole Minshew’s block, entered the backfield and wrestled Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois to the ground, silencing the Seminoles first second-half drive.
The behemoth defensive end yelled into the air, pumped his fists and sprinted to the Crimson Tide sidelines, his remarkable seven-day turnaround complete.
Exactly one week after he was shot in the right leg, Davis played in the Crimson Tide’s season-opener, though he did not start.
Davis was shot late last Saturday night while standing outside Bar 17 in Tuscaloosa. He was not spotted during any of the Crimson Tide’s open portions of practice on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, though Saban said he practiced both Wednesday and Thursday.
Isaiah Buggs, the top-rated junior college defensive lineman in the 2017 class, started in Davis’ absence. Buggs had primarily taken second-team repetitions behind Da’Shawn Hand during preseason camp while Quinnen Williams backed up Davis.
Senior Josh Frazier was the first Alabama defensive lineman off the bench. Davis entered the game on the Crimson Tide’s second series and played sparingly thereafter in the first half before his big second-half start.
It’s been quite a rise for Levi Wallace
The former walk-on who ascended the Crimson Tide depth chart this preseason, started the second half at cornerback in place of Trevon Diggs.
He intercepted Francois during the Seminoles’ final third-quarter drive, too, jumping receiver Auden Tate’s route for the first takeaway of his career.
Wallace was awarded a scholarship last fall and served mostly a special teams role last season.
“Levi, man, he’s a great player,” said Tide linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton. “He doesn’t get enough love but everyone inside this program knows how good he is. He’s a great player for us.”
Jacobs misses game
Alabama running back Josh Jacobs was not in uniform Saturday, the consequence of a nagging hamstring pull that sidelined him for most of preseason practice.
Jacobs did not participate in either of the Crimson Tide’s two scrimmages and was rarely seen participating in drills during open portions of practice.
Saban said Jacobs returned to practice Thursday.
Ridley moves up
Calvin Ridley moved into a tie for fifth place on Alabama’s career touchdown receptions list Saturday.
Ridley’s 53-yard touchdown catch was the 15th of his career, tying him with Julio Jones and Joey Jones.
The catch was Ridley’s longest since his freshman season and erased an early 7-3 Seminoles lead.
The convoy of NFL talent came home.
At least seven former Alabama players returned to their college roots Saturday, headlined by honorary Crimson Tide captain Derrick Henry — the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner.
Joining Henry on the Alabama sideline was Amari Cooper, ArDarius Stewart, Reuben Foster, Kenyan Drake and OJ Howard.
Buccaneers quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was Florida State’s honorary captain.