From the moment that the gates opened up inside AT&T Stadium, the excitement could be felt throughout the entire stadium. Fans were ready not just for the return of college football, but for the return of Crimson Tide football.
After a long off seasonwith many questions and doubters, head coach Nick Saban brought his team in ready to silence the critics, at least for one week.
In the first half the offensive line came out ready to play and made plenty of running lanes for first year starter Derrick Henry. The offensive line for Alabama started off the game run blocking very well as Henry rushed for 75 yards on nine rushes including a 37 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Pass blocking will need some improvement for the Alabama offensive line as they allowed quarterback Jake Coker to be sacked twice in the first half. Both sacks for Wisconsin came from linebacker Joe Schobert. Schobert was the most impressive defensive badger in the first half as he finished with six first half tackles.
Quarterback was the biggest question mark entering the Advocare Classic for the Tide. Going into the game a true starter had yet to be named. As the Tide prepared to take the field for the first time it was clear Jake Coker would be the man slated to lead the offense.
Coker was very impressive in the first half as he went 10-13 for 134 yards and a touchdown pass to Robert Foster. Foster and the rest of the receiving core had eight catches for 122 yards.
The Alabama defense has always been considered the backbone of this team and they showed in the first half just how dominant they can be. Reggie Ragland led all players with eight first half tackles. Johnathan Allen also got the first sack of the season for Alabama in the first half as well.
The Crimson Tide led the 14-7 at halftime.
As the game progressed the Tide became more and more dominant. The third quarter as it has been for most of the Saban era was the most pivotal of the game. The Tide put up 14 points in the third including an Advocare Classic record 56 yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry.
The Crimson Tide defense went back to work in the second half led again by Reggie Ragland who had four more tackles in the third quarter, to make it 12 tackles for him threw three.
Minka Fitzpatrick was another consistent player Saturday. Fitzpatrick looked good in coverage, and also was got his first carrier sack.
Quarterback Cooper Batemen came in the game in the third quarter and finished the game 7-8 for 51 yards, and also displayed good speed as well. Kenyan Drake also impressed many in his first game back from injury as he had 10 rushes for 79 yards including a 43 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
One of the most events that occurred Saturday was the on field return of Cam Sims, who amazingly played despite tearing his ACL just short 5 months ago.
The final stat line for the Alabama defense showed why many projected this defense to be one of the best in the country.
Reggie Ragland finished the game with a team leading 12 tackles, while Johnathan Allen finished the game with four total tackles, two of which were sacks. Eddie Jackson and Shaun Dion Hamilton both finished with six tackles and Jackson got a late game inception to wrap up the win for the Crimson Tide.
This contest showed that although many new faces will be on this Alabama team, coach Saban and his staff have prepared these players to make the play needed to be a successful and maybe a 16th national championship for the Tide.
Ivan L. White is a staff writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Facebook, via @ilwhite1