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Alabama stifles Clemson to give Saban significant win

August 31, 2008|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Nick Saban's plan to bring No. 24 Alabama back to prominence looks way ahead of schedule. As for No. 9 Clemson, another big game ended with the Tigers on the losing end.

The Crimson Tide had little trouble rolling past Clemson, 34-10, at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night, the biggest victory in Saban's two seasons at Alabama.

Alabama's defense held Clemson to zero rushing yards and John Parker Wilson threw for two touchdowns as Alabama beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since topping No. 5 Florida in 2005. That was part of the last hurrah for former coach Mike Shula, who followed that 10-2 season with a 6-7 campaign that ended his time with the Tide.

Alabama lured Saban from the NFL last season to lead the 12-time national champions back to glory. Based on the opener, they seem on their way.

Wilson finished 22 of 30 for 180 yards and, with his career total completions now at 500, surpassed Brodie Croyle's record of 488.

The Crimson Tide defense held the Tigers' heralded "Thunder and Lightning" backfield of James Davis and C.J. Spiller to 20 yards.

The Tigers managed only 188 yards, way off their 403-yard average from last season.

Right from the start, though, Alabama showed it matched up fine with the team favored to win the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Tide ran the ball easily on Clemson's defense, which was ninth in the country a season ago. At one point, Alabama had outgained the Tigers 114-1. By the time tight end Nick Walker had slipped behind three defenders for a touchdown catch, Alabama led 20-3 in the second quarter.

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