Five takeaways from No. 1 Alabama's 31-29 win over No. 9 Florida

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — All ears were ringing, the game wasn't pretty, but No. 1 Alabama managed to escape "The Swamp" with a 31-29 victory over No. 9 Florida.

Here are five observations from the game:

Alabama struggles to stop the run, except on crucial two-point attempt

The Crimson Tide missed far too many tackles against Florida. The Gators ran with ease far too often.

On one play in the second quarter, Malik Davis ran right through the Alabama defense, making DeMarcco Hellams tackle air and dragging Chris Braswell into the end zone.

The run was also an important piece of Florida's 99-yard scoring drive in the third quarter that brought the Gators within 28-23.

Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. is congratulated as he scores a touchdown during the second half against Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. is congratulated as he scores a touchdown during the second half against Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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But the run defense did stuff Florida on a rush attempt on a two-point conversion that could have tied the game with 3:10 to go.

Offense hot and cold

As good as the Alabama offense looked in the opening quarter, the Crimson Tide couldn't keep the momentum going in the second.

Alabama put together three three-and-out drives in the second quarter. At one point, Alabama had five straight incompletions. The stagnant second quarter from the offense put the Crimson Tide defense on the field plenty, allowing Florida to come back into the game after it felt like the Gators would have no chance of catching up.

But the Crimson Tide made plays in the second half. Brian Robinson proved crucial on a third down and on fourth-down score on the drive that gave Alabama a 28-16 lead.

Robinson also converted on a crucial third-and-2 in the final two minutes as Alabama held onto its two point lead.

Penalties a problem for Alabama

Alabama already entered Saturday ahead of the 2020 Crimson Tide in penalties, and the performance didn't help their yellow-flag numbers.

Whether it be defensive pass interference penalties that gave the Florida offense life or false starts as a result of the crowd noise, the Crimson Tide has plenty to clean up.

Saban was frustrated with penalties after the Mercer game with 17 for 176 yards through two games, and Alabama didn't reverse that trend Saturday.

The Crimson Tide had 11 for 75 yards heading into the final drive.

Running backs are weapons in passing game

Alabama's running backs led the way for the offense that overcame a stadium with ear-buzzing noise, filled with 90,887 people, the fifth largest in stadium history.

The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the opening frame thanks to two scores from running backs, receptions Jase McClellan and Brian Robinson.

Robinson also proved valuable running the ball with 39 yards off three carries in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, McClellan served as an important passing option for quarterback Bryce Young under pressure. On back-to-back plays, McClellan made one man miss on a flat pass to get near a first down. Then on third and short, he converted with another reception.

Will Anderson still explosive

Heading into the week, Anderson's status was unclear after he had to leave the Mercer game with a knee injury. Not only did he start against Florida, but the sophomore provided problems for the Gators off the edge.

He was certainly explosive, per usual. On one play in the first half, Anderson exploded through blockers and before he could lay out Florida quarterback Emory Jones, Jones fell down for a loss. On the Gators' last drive of the first half, Anderson made a key third down tackle.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama defeats Florida: What we learned from Crimson Tide win