Injuries, weather only things that can stop Alabama

By Marquavius Burnett

COLUMBIA, Mo.— Everyone who plays, cheers or coaches for Alabama saw the season flash briefly before their eyes for a few moments in No. 1 Alabama’s 42-10 demolition of Missouri.

Quarterback AJ McCarron lay on the wet turf after a sack in the third quarter, suffering from a leg injury that head coach Nick Saban would later call a “twisted knee.” McCarron was able to return to the game after working with trainers, running a few times and taking some hits. His return showed how tough the redshirt junior is, but as he lay on the ground, all the Tide nation could do was hope he was OK.

“I was worried, obviously,” center Barrett Jones said.

Jones, like everyone else, knows how health, particularly at the quarterback position, is key to the Tide’s chances of running through the SEC gauntlet and making another national championship appearance.

Saban sent McCarron back in to the game on the offenses’ next possession with the score 28-10. McCarron limped back onto the field to cheers and looked fine for the rest of the game.

“That was Doc’s decision,” Saban said, referring to Dr. Lyle Cain. “Doc decided that. I didn’t decide that. He said he could play, and he was able to go back in the game, and AJ wanted to go back in the game. As long as the doctor said it was OK for him to go back in the game, I was OK with him going back in the game.”

Saban added that he is hopeful McCarron won’t have to miss any playing time, but Cain wanted to take a look to make sure no serious damage was done.

McCarron wasn’t the only Tide player to go down. Alabama has lost five players for the season to injuries, and guys continued to get banged up against Missouri.

Running back Eddie Lacy was taken to the locker room for what Saban called a “bruised hand.” Wide receiver Christion Jones left the game on crutches with a sprained ankle. Saban said all of the players are expected to be fine.

But there were plenty of developments from the Tide’s whipping of the Tigers that fans can be happy about. The running game was able to get back on track, particularly Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, who combined for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

The defense held Missouri to a total of three rushing yards and forced three turnovers. Alabama’s defense is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in run defense, pass defense, scoring defense and total defense, with better numbers than the 2011 defense.

In fact, the injury bug seems to be the only thing that can slow this Alabama team. That, and maybe a 40-minute weather delay.

Alabama (6-0, 3-0) has trampled every opponent in its way with a balanced offense attack and a stifling defense, taking what defenses give them on offense and taking away everything from opposing offenses on defense. Unlike most teams, Alabama doesn’t play down to its competition or lose to lesser opponents.

The opponent may change from week to week, but Saban’s message is still the same.

“It’s not what you can do, and it’s not about the potential you have,” Saban said. “It’s about what you do.”

In an unpredictable world of college football, Alabama is predictably taking care of business week in and week out.

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