University of Alabama

Alabama notes: Foster leaves the game for a short time

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The sight of Alabama’s early 3-0 deficit to FCS opponent Chattanooga on the scoreboard was enough to have the crowd inside Bryant-Denny speechless Saturday night. Watching linebacker Reuben Foster leave the field holding his injured left hand had the Alabama faithful breathless as well.

Foster was slow to get up after a play midway through the first quarter, drawing trainers onto the field to tend to his left hand. The senior linebacker had been wearing a club on the hand during practice due to a chipped bone. Foster made his way to the sidelines were trainers continued to tend to his hand before leaving for the Alabama locker room.

Much to Alabama’s relief, Foster returned to Tide’s sidelines in the second quarter, recording a tackle for a loss on his first play back in the game. Foster finished the game with five tackles, including two for a loss.

“He’s a warrior,” Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison said. “He’s battling through a lot of stuff right now, and he just continues to come every day and work. He doesn’t complain.”

Foster leads the Tide with 75 tackles this season while also recording two sacks and seven tackles for a loss. This past week, he was named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy which is awarded to the nation’s top defensive player.

“He’s a huge leader,” Harrison said. “He’s always talking to us. He brings the energy every day to practice. He’s like the biggest leader on the team.”

Stewart sits while Dieter Sims start

Alabama receiver ArDarius Stewart did not play in the game due to disciplinary reasons, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after the game.

"Sometimes we have players that have a violation of our standard of behavior," Saban said. "Everyone wants to play. Sometimes when you have it, you just tell guys, 'Well, we're not going to play you.'"

Instead, Gehrig Dieter and Cam Sims joined Calvin Ridley in the Tide’s starting lineup. In his first ever start, Sims had four receptions for 34 yards, while Dieter had three catches for 1 yard and two touchdowns.

The two-touchdown performance was Dieter’s first multi-touchdown game since joining the Tide as a graduate transfer from Bowling Green this season.

“I’m really hyped for him,” Ridley said of Dieter. “He’s really happy because he’s a really hard worker and he doesn’t get the ball a lot.”

Plenty of punts for Scott

In an unexpected turn of events, Alabama punter JK Scott got recorded a season-high six punts for 293 yards Saturday night. Scott’s performance comes after it was announced he did not make the cut as one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award earlier in the week.

“Honestly, it’s not really about awards to me,” Scott said. “I haven’t paid very much attention to that. I just took the same approach to this game as I do every other game.”

Heading into the game, Scott ranked second in the nation in gross punting with an average of 48.39 yards per punt. Saturday, he pinned four of his punts inside the 20-yard line while booming three of them for 50 or more yards, including a long of 56 yards.

“I feel like he’s 100 percent the best punter in the nation,” Alabama long snapper Cole Mazza said. “His work ethic is second to none, beyond anyone I’ve ever seen. He outworks everybody. He’s always the first one in and last one to leave, and I think he’s going to be punting for a really long time.”

Injury report

Saban said offensive linemen Cam Robinson and Korren Kirven both suffered shoulder injuries during the game. Both were injured during the fourth quarter, as Robinson left the game before being replaced by Kirven who was also injured on the same drive.

“We think they will be OK, but the doctors are going to continue to evaluate it,” Saban said. “We’ll make sure that they’re going to be OK. We expect them both to be able to play next week.

Saban reaches milestone

With the win, Saban set a record for most victories as head coach of the Associated Press’ No. 1 team, passing Bobby Bowden and Woody Hayes. Saban is 41-5 when his teams are ranked No. 1, while Bowden is 40-5 and Hayes is 40-6.

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