ARLINGTON, Texas – Look out America, Alabama is back for more.
The No. 2 -ranked Crimson Tide turned a showdown with No. 8 Michigan into yet another showcase for the most dominant college football program in the land. Alabama’s 41-14 win Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium has last year’s BSC champions off and running in 2012.
While the premier game of college football’s opening weekend and in the short history of the Cowboys Classic lacked drama, it did leave the 90,413 fans in attendance in awe. Nick Saban’s squad didn’t need long to dismantle the team many believe is the best in the Big Ten.
Despite its storied status, Michigan wanted to prove it belongs back among the game’s elite and as part of the national championship conversation. Denard Robinson was seen as the Wolverines’ key to a possible upset, but the star quarterback never found his rhythm against the relentless Alabama defense.
After last season, the Crimson Tide lost seven starters off a defense many considered among the best in the history of college football. The new unit began its own legacy, intercepting Robinson twice and held Michigan to less than 300 total yards.
Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon led an opportunistic ‘Bama attack with 111 yards rushing, while quarterback AJ McCarron threw for an efficient 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama took a commanding 31-7 lead into halftime, flexing its muscle in a dominating display that left the Wolverines dazed and bruised going into the locker room. The Crimson Tide bottled up Robinson while the game was in any sort of reasonable doubt.
The Tide had the game in hand before the first 15 minutes were played. Alabama scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, showing off its patience, its quick-strike ability and, of course, its signature defense.
The Crimson Tide got something going on their second drive, a methodical nine plays covering 61 yards. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon picked up about half of that total on the ground, with quarterback AJ McCarron picking his spots through the air.
McCarron’s 2-yard toss to a wide-open Michael Williams streaking to the corner midway through the quarter put ‘Bama on the board. The rout was on.
After the Wolverines went three-and-out on their ensuing possession, McCarron didn’t need long to double the lead. Tide receiver DeAndrew White easily got behind the Michigan secondary and hauled in a perfectly lofted ball from McCarron for a 51-yard score.
The Wolverines went from stunned to punched in the gut not long after. Robinson, in the midst of an awful first quarter, fell victim to a busted route that was intercepted by Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner, whose 35-yard return set up a Lacy touchdown.
Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley picked off Robinson in the second quarter, taking it back 16 yards for an easy score and a 31-0 lead.
Robinson scored shortly before the half on a 6-yard keeper set up by his 71-yard completion to Jeremy Gallon. But, by then, is was too little, too late.
NOTES: Michigan was without starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and reserve defensive end Frank Clark, both suspended by coach Brady Hoke. Toussaint pled guilty to drunken driving earlier this week, while Clark faces a second-degree felony home-invasion charge. … Nick Saban is 19-6 against Top 25 teams while at Alabama, and 11-4 against the Top 10. … Michigan played a season opener at the neutral site for the first time in its history. … The all-time series between Alabama and Michigan is now tied 2-2.