The Alabama Crimson Tide and their star running back powered over their opponent en route to a victory Saturday night.
Probably should. It's been the MO of the Tide for the last couple seasons. Whether it's been Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, T.J. Yeldon or, now, Derrick Henry, Alabama has been punching teams in the mouth for almost a decade now to a point where we're surprised when it doesn't happen.
Henry, or "El Tractorcito" as he's been anointed, bulldozed a stout Wisconsin Badgers defense on Saturday night in the confines of the monstrosity that is JerryWorld. The Yulee, Florida native amassed 147 yards on 13 carries and maneuvered his way into the end zone three times. It was an outstanding performance that should set the tone for the Crimson Tide this season, as they meander into the 2015 season as favorites in both the Southeastern Conference and around the country.
Here's what else we learned from this matchup:
1. From a glass half-full standpoint, Wisconsin ought to be pleased with Joel Stave's performance
Joel Stave had an up-and-down year in Madison a season ago. From dealing with the yips to a few dismal performances, Stave needed to start off on the right foot. And start off on the right foot he did. Stave threw for 228 yards on 26-of-39 (67.5%) with two touchdowns and one interception and began the game by completing nine of his first 11 passes. Despite the loss, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Greenfield, Wisconsin native. There's nowhere to go but up from here for him and the Badgers, who will set their sights on winning their 20th consecutive home opener, having not lost the first game played in Camp Randall Stadium since 1995.
2. The hype around the Alabama front seven is real -- and spectacular
Try as they might, Wisconsin simply couldn't get it done on the ground on Saturday evening in The Lone Star State. 'Bama's defense was simply stifling, stubborn and superb in thwarting out any chance that bell cow Corey Clement and his fellow pack of Badgers had of making any impact in the run game. Wisky running backs were held to just 39 yards on 17 carries, with the longest run of the night being just five yards. You read that right. If Alabama is going to bring this kind of heat all season against a team that churns out a great running game like clockwork, look out, SEC.
(Note: The stats will show that the Badgers amassed 64 yards on 21 carries. This is true. That accounts for Joel Stave getting -24 yards on three carries/runs, as well as a 25-yard scamper by wide receiver Alex Erickson. In the above statistic, I pointed only towards the Badger running backs. Just wanted to put that in there for clarification)
3. We don't know if he's going to start the entire season, but Jake Coker got off on the right foot
Coker was nothing if not efficient against the Wisconsin defense and looked pretty cool, calm and collected under center. Sign of things to come? Head coach Nick Saban hasn't quite committed to anybody going into the season - or this game for that matter but this performance certainly does nothing but good things for him going forward. We'll play the waiting game but, if I were a betting man, I'd say that we'll likely see #14 in crimson under center to start off Alabama's matchup with Middle Tennessee on September 12.