Quarterback Jalen Hurts has career day against the bulldogs
Coming off a shocking win over Texas A&M, Mississippi State had hopes it could carry that string of luck into Tuscaloosa and leave with another top-10 win. Alabama didn’t let any of those thoughts last very long.
The Tide (10-0, 7-0) jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter en-route to a 51-3 thrashing of the Bulldogs (4-6, 2-4). Alabama posted 615 yards of offense and held the Bulldogs to 94 yards on the ground, 274 yards total. The Tide have not allowed a touchdown in 9 ¾ quarters of football, going back to Texas A&M’s score with 12:54 to go in the third quarter on Oct. 23. Other than a third-quarter field goal and a failed first-half field goal, the Bulldogs never really threatened to score.
Overall, Coach Nick Saban was pleased with what he saw from his team.
“There were a couple of bad field position situations early in the game, but our defense was able to go out and get the stops, which was real key to the game,” Saban said. “I was real proud of the way our guys competed in the game today and played in the game today. A lot of the leadership on the team stepped up this week.”
Qaurterback Jalen Hurts’ day was done late in the third quarter, after he gave the Tide 447 yards of offense and four touchdowns. Hurts had 11 rushes for 100 yards and went 28-of-37 in passing for a career-best 347 yards and an interception. Hurts was the leading rusher, trailed by Josh Jacobs, who had 89 yards rushing.
Saban was proud of the job Hurts did on the day, but he wasn’t ready to assign a game ball to any player in particular.
“I guess if you went on statistics the quarterback did a good job today, but I think he’d be the first guy to tell you that the other 10 guys he played with did a really good job, too,” Saban said.
Indeed, the defense played a solid game, and defensive back Marlon Humphrey credited that to the squad’s leadership.
“I think it says we’re never settling,” Humphrey said of what the day’s effort said about the Tide defense. “We’re all on the same page; that’s one of the keys. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to do.”
Running back Bo Scarbrough was held out of the game today to give him more time to heal and prepare for the Iron Bowl.
For Mississippi State, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was 10 of 33 on passing for 145 yards and one interception. Aeris Williams led the Bulldogs with 56 yards rushing, while Donald Gray had three catches for 76 yards.
There were some bright spots for the Bulldogs. Brandon Holloway had a 50-yard kickoff return early in the second half to give MSU good field position at the Bama 45. Additionally, the Bulldogs held the advantage on turnovers and time of possession, but State was unable to take advantage on either front.
Domination began early
After allowing Alabama to go up 3-0 on a 10-play, 63-yard drive to start the game, MSU’s first drive was stymied on an 11-yard sack by Tim Williams back to the Bulldog’s 15 yard line. The ensuing punt only made it to the MSU 32, setting up Alabama for a quick four-play scoring drive with 8:23 remaining in the first quarter. Hurts found Calvin Ridley open for the touchdown. The score put Alabama up 10-0.
The Tide increased its lead to 17-0 with 12:36 to go in the second quarter on a pass from Hurts to ArDarius Stewart. Stewart took the short pass and then raced 67 yards through traffic to pick up Alabama’s second touchdown of the day.
Less than three minutes later Alabama again found the end zone, this time on a four-yard run by Hurts that capped a four-play, 66-yard drive. Griffith’s PAT put the Tide ahead, 24-0, with 9:55 left in the half. The Tide later padded the lead to 27 with a 28-yard Griffith field goal with 2:37 remaining. Griffith also drove through a 39-yarder as time expired on the first half to give Alabama a 30-0 edge.
Mississippi State opened the second half with a seven-play, 46-yard drive capped by a field goal to get on the board, 30-3, with 11:43 to go in the third quarter.
Alabama had trouble in the early going of the second half as the Tide’s first drive ended with Hurts’ second turnover of the day. The Bulldogs recovered the fumble on the 34-yard-line. The Alabama offense made up for the error on its second drive of the second half, going 84 yards in three plays to move ahead 37-3. The drive was spurred by a 43-yard run around right end by Joshua Jacobs and a facemask penalty against the Bulldogs that set up Alabama at the MSU 26. Two plays later Hurts connected with Stewart on a 15-yard crossing pass to score with 6:12 remaining in the third quarter.
After Alabama’s defense forced a quick three-and-out, the Tide took possession on its own 42 yard line. Three plays and 55 seconds later Hurts found Stewart on a post pass for a 20-yard touchdown, giving Alabama a 44-3 lead with 4:40 left in the third.
The Tide wrapped up its scoring late in the game when Cooper Bateman found Trevon Diggs open for a five-yard touchdown pass with 2:34 remaining in the game. Andy Pappanastos’ PAT gave Alabama a 51-3 advantage.