Crimson Tide Retain Supremacy, Dominate Wolverines 41-14
The Tide's defense may be playing some younger players, but those who saw the field picked up right where last year's unit left off. There are some real-time NFL prospects on this lineup and we saw them at their best under the big lights.
Robinson, a Heisman hopeful (although that's likely impractical now), was shut down and held to 11-of-26 passing (42.4 percent) for 200 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions—one that was returned the other way. He was also limited to just 27 rushing yards off 27 carries.
Alabama's stellar offensive line bullied Michigan's front seven all night, allowing quarterback A.J. McCarron and the Tide backfield to control the pace of the game and maintain great balance.
It was over when: The case could be made that this one was over before the first snap of the game. However, it was clear that Nick Saban had it in the bag when running back Eddie Lacy pounded the ball into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
Game ball goes to: Alabama's entire defensive unit. The Wolverines averaged over 33 points per game last season and were expected to have an even more impressive offensive attack in 2012. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart had his squad more than ready for Denard Robinson and Brady Hoke's spread scheme, holding him in check for the entire game.
Stat of the game: Michigan's 27-point loss was its worst suffered since a 52-14 shellacking against Mississippi State in 2010.
Unsung hero: Cornerback Dee Milliner had the game of his life and showed why the Crimson Tide's defense will be one of the best yet again. He really improved his draft stock as flew all over the field knocking passes away and came up with a big interception.
What it means for Alabama: There is no such thing as a reloading year for Nick Saban. Alabama football is back at a high level—possibly better than last season—and this marquee win will open the door to another national title run. Conference play hasn't started yet, but this should be eye-opening for opponents like LSU and Arkansas.
What it means for Michigan: Michigan got its tail whipped by a team stronger, faster, and better equipped at key positions. That's putting it nicely, too. Luckily for the Wolverines, they won't play a defense anywhere near the caliber of Alabama's until Week 8 against Michigan State. Also, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark will return to the starting roster shorty, so the Wolverines can still make a run at the Big Ten.
*Photo used courtesy of Ronald Martinez (AP)