All the University of Alabama wanted was to show college football the defense it was supposed to have in 2017. With new injuries each week, the regular season soon served as an atmosphere where it could not be done.
Upon getting some players healthy – including three linebackers – for the College Football Playoff, the Crimson Tide was in position to strike.
Anfernee Jennings was one of the guys that stood out on defense in Alabama’s 24-6 win over Clemson on Monday. A product of Dadeville (Ala.) High School, the sophomore outside linebacker was projected to have a monster season – especially after a solid freshman campaign.
While the Tide’s defensive line bullied the Tigers up front, the former three-star prospect from its 2015 signing class led the attack of affecting Clemson’s junior quarterback, Kelly Bryant.
Jennings posted five tackles, including three for loss and a sack.
He was credited with the biggest play of the game, when he pressured Bryant into throwing an interception to Alabama defensive end Da’Ron Payne in the third quarter. The situation would lead to the junior from Birmingham recording his first-ever touchdown reception.
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Freshman Travis Etienne, who had been a spark plug all season for Clemson at running back, was limited to 22 yards on four carries and the Tigers chimed in 64 rushing yards as a unit.
Jennings’ pressure not only forced two turnovers, but it also rendered Bryant to 124 passing yards on a 50 percent completion rating (18 of 36).
Following matchups versus Deshaun Watson in which the Tide surrendered 400-plus yards offensively, Jennings and company handed Dabo Swinney’s program a performance of 188 yards and eight third down conversions on 19 tries.
Despite earning a victory, Jennings sustained an injury in the second half.
He was helped off the field, and though he went into the medical tent, the talented outside linebacker was visibly seen wincing in pain on the sidelines.
For Alabama, the coaching staff hopes the mishap isn’t too severe as the team will need Jennings next week versus Georgia for the CFP National Championship Game.