Lewis propels stingy defense in 48-7 win over Arkansas


CW / Joe Will Field

In one play, Terrell Lewis showed his ability to be a true game breaker. 

Toward the end of the second quarter, the redshirt junior outside linebacker jumped the snap as if he was shot out of a cannon, forcing the Arkansas right tackle, Dalton Wagner, to quickly retreat. After pushing Wagner back five steps, Lewis planted his left foot and used a lethal spin move to gain separation. In the next step, the outside linebacker laid a hit on Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel, forcing an errant throw that landed in the arms of senior corner Trevon Diggs.  

“That’s a dog right there, man,” junior safety Xavier McKinney said about Lewis’ play. “What he has kind of been through and to know the pain that he has felt, and I know that feeling of not being able to play for so long, I know that really got to him. To see him play as he has been playing, man, it is great to see. I love seeing it and as a defense it helps us out tremendously.”

It’s no secret that Lewis’ journey to this point in his career has not been an easy one. Major injuries in back-to-back seasons forced Lewis to watch more than 25 games from the sideline. It has become synonymous with his name, but a subject that Lewis has used as motivation for this season.  

“I used to always pass [Bryant-Denny Stadium] and be like ‘Damn, I never really got a start there,’” Lewis said. “I just try to cherish the moment as far as being out there and seeing them call my name in the starting lineup and all of that is new to me so I definitely want to enjoy it.”

Lewis seemed to enjoy laying multiple hits on Starkel, finishing with three solo tackles, six quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. 

Normally, the Alabama defense relies on multiple different players to succeed in their roles in order to collectively prevent opponents from putting points on the board. During this season, more specifically during the month of October, the Crimson Tide found its defensive game changer in Lewis. 

“Terrell has played really well,” coach Nick Saban said. “I thought he pressured the passer a couple of times and did a good job of playing his position. When we have him and [redshirt senior outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings out there, I think it really helps out edges and our pass rush.”

Having both players on the field creates plenty of issues for the opposing offense. This rang true on the interception by Jennings, as it was Lewis who forced the errant throw.

“It is fun,” Jennings said of being on the field with Lewis. “He is somebody that you definitely have to account for and definitely somebody that can get to the quarterback. Having him on the opposite side is tremendous.”

As Lewis and the rest of the Crimson Tide approach their final bye week of the season, the Washington, D.C., native recognizes the progress the defense has made, but he is expecting more out of himself and his teammates as the season progresses. 

“I think we have definitely grown as a defense,” Lewis said. “We have some stuff that we have to clean up. We still have some young guys that we want to make sure that they are always on their Ps and Qs, and then just cleaning up all of the undisciplined stuff like penalties and stuff like that. Once we get rid of all of that stuff, then we can start trying to build off of the legacy other defenses have left.”