TUSCALOOSA — The streak no longer is measured in games. It’s measured in years.
The last time the Alabama defense allowed an individual to rush for 100 or more yards, “CSI” was at the top of the Nielsen ratings, “Why Did I Get Married?” was the hit movie, “Soulja Boy (Crank That)” topped the Billboard chart and the Dow was near an all-time high at 14,093.
That was three years and 34 games ago. The date was Oct. 13, 2007. The opponent was Ole Miss. The individual was BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who ran for 131 yards.
In each of the past two seasons, Alabama has ranked No. 2 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 74.1 yards per game in 2008 and 78.1 last season. Only six teams have rushed for at least 100 yards. The Tide has held 15 of its past 28 opponents to less than 70 yards rushing.
Two-time All-America nose guard Terrence Cody and 2009 Butkus Award-winning middle linebacker Rolando McClain are gone, along with seven other starters from the defense that led Alabama to an undefeated 2009 season and a national championship.
Can the reinforcements stuff the run as well as a unit that allowed only 10 rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons combined?