Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/2/11

The Scoop: The Alabama Crimson Tide blasted the Florida Gators 38-10 in the Swamp led by Heisman candidate Trent Richardson’s 181 rushing yards to move to 5-0 on the season. In Alabama and Florida’s last three meetings, the Crimson Tide have outscored the Gators 101-29.

Turning Point: Florida came out early and hit Alabama in the mount with a 65-yard touchdown pass from John Brantley to Andre Debose on the first play from scrimmage. Alabama battled back to the game at 10, and early in the second quarter Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw  picked off Brantley and took it 45 yards to the endzone to swing the momentum in Alabama’s favor and give the Crimson Tide a 17-10 lead. It was the second straight game Alabama had a pick-six.

Stat of the Game: Alabama outgained Florida on the ground 226/15 on the ground, holding Florida’s speedy duo of running backs — Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps — to 4 yards apiece. Florida’s defense entered the game 5th in the nation in run defense, giving up just 56.5 yards per game.

Richardson ran for a career-high 181 yards in the win. (Almond/Birmingham News)

Offensive Player of the Game: Could it be anyone but Trent Richardson? The junior running back made a huge statement across the nation with a career-high 181 yards on 29 carries and a couple of touchdown runs. He also had 2 catches for 27 yards, giving him 208 yards of total offense in the game. Richardson is emerging as a serious Heisman candidate after five week of play. He carried the Crimson Tide offense on his back tonight.

Defensive Player of the Game: It has to be Courtney Upshaw. He not only had the pick-six in the second quarter, but he was generally disruptive the entire game. He had a sack at the end of the first half that knocked out Florida QB John Brantley, and had multiple stops in the backfield.

Play of the Game: It had to be Upshaw’s 45-yard interception return for a touchdown. That completely swung the momentum in this game.

Unsung Hero: There were two. First was kicker Cade Foster, who made two potential touchdown saving tackles on kickoffs. Foster struggled on some kicks tonight, but he made two big plays that could have completely changed the game had Florida’s returners broken past him. The other was Alabama defensive tackle Nick Gentry. Gentry isn’t the most physically talented player out there, but he is an extremely hard worker. Gentry is the guy that got the pressure on Brantley that forced the bad throw that was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Upshaw.

Bad Signs: It was a little concerning to see Alabama’s pass defense struggle in the early part of the game, albeit they did step up as the game progressed. Brantley completed 11/16 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception, including the 65-yard hook-up with Andre Debose on the first play from scrimmage.

Also, AJ McCarron struggled in his first SEC road start. He didn’t see scared to play in that environment, but he completed just 12 of his 25 passes for 140 yards with a rushing touchdown. Although, he did avoid turning the ball over.

Good Signs: Alabama’s pass rush looked alive and kicking tonight, sacking Florida’s quarterbacks five time in the win. Alabama’s offensive line played a very good game against a strong Florida defensive front, allowing the Crimson Tide to rack up 226 yards on the ground, and keeping McCarron upright for the entire game. He wasn’t sacked a single time.

Alabama’s defense continues to look stout, allowing just 222 yards of offense to Florida. Also, after Florida held a 10-3 lead early in the game, Alabama scored 35 unanswered points as the Tide defense shut them out after that.

Alabama also didn’t have a single turnover, while forcing Florida into two.

What it Means: If there were any lingering doubts about this team’s legitimacy, the Crimson Tide put it to rest with the 38-10 thumping of Florida in a night game in the Swamp. Alabama is 5-0, and with due respect to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, they won’t be seriously tested like that again until the LSU game on November 5th.

Up Next: Alabama heads back to Tuscaloosa for Homecoming on Saturday against Vanderbilt.

Will LSU have to sell their soul to find their next head coach?
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