Alabama Crimson Tide rolls over Mississippi State Bulldogs 51-3

Alabama wide receiver Trevon Diggs runs into for a touchdown against Mississippi State defensive back Lashard Durr during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Alabama wide receiver Trevon Diggs runs into for a touchdown against Mississippi State defensive back Lashard Durr during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban held a film session with Jalen Hurts this week to point out a few things to his young quarterback.

Hurts was clearly paying attention.

The freshman passed for career highs of 347 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards in less than three quarters in No. 1 Alabama’s 51-3 rout of Mississippi State on Saturday. It put on display the potential of a passing game that had lately seemed the closest thing to a weakness for the Crimson Tide.

The freshman quarterback’s prolific performance also wiped out any concerns that the Tide (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) would have a letdown after a bruising win at No. 19 LSU. Instead, Hurts turned in his best game and the defense denied Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4) the end zone on nine trips across midfield.

“It’s one of the things we’ve been wanting to do is try to develop some confidence in the passing game, and obviously he was able to do that very well today,” Saban said. “He got the ball to some of our playmakers down the field and they had opportunities to make big plays.”

Hurts is the first Alabama player to have 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game, and he was flirting with both those milestones by halftime.

The Bulldogs had been riding high after an upset of No. 10 Texas A&M, but didn’t muster a threat in this one.

Hurts completed 28 of 37 passes and rushed for a fifth touchdown before being replaced by Cooper Bateman late in the third quarter. The big performance was marred by an interception and fumble, but the Tide’s dominating defense made sure the miscues didn’t matter too much.

“In practice, he’ll sling it,” Alabama guard Ross Piersbacher said. “It’s fun to see him do that in a game. I think that’s big for his confidence.”

ArDarius Stewart was the biggest beneficiary of the passing revival, scoring three touchdowns. Stewart gained 156 yards on eight catches, including a 67-yard sprint on a jet sweep.

Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald couldn’t solve Alabama’s defense after two huge games. He completed 10 of 33 passes for 145 with an interception. Fitzgerald was also held to 15 rushing yards after topping 900 total yards combined against Texas A&M and Samford.

“We had five dropped passes in the first half,” Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said. “That’s not good when you’re playing a great defense. It’s not good when you’re playing a bad defense, but when you’re playing a great defense you cannot do those things.”

Alabama outgained the Bulldogs 615-274 in total yards and has won nine straight meetings.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs couldn’t finish off drives, including the two started in Alabama territory, or offer a strong follow-up to last week’s upset. Fitzgerald and star receiver Fred Ross (three catches, 23 yards) were held in check.

Alabama: Hurts and the Tide got the passing game going against the league’s worst pass defense. Hurts hadn’t reached 200 yards passing in the previous three games, but might have emerged from this one with a shot at some Heisman Trophy votes. The defense went seven straight quarters without allowing a point.

TURNING 40

Saban joined Ohio State’s Woody Hayes and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden in a tie for the most wins with a top-ranked team by any coach. He’s 40-5, matching Bowden. Hayes went 40-4-1 with No. 1 teams.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama should hold firm as the clear leader in the playoff and AP rankings .

RUNNING HURTS

Hurts joined Steadman Shealy in 1979 as the only Alabama quarterbacks to rush for 700-plus yards in a season. He has 735 yards, 56 shy of Shealy’s record.

UP NEXT

Mississippi St.: hosts Arkansas needing to win its final two games to become bowl eligible.

Alabama: hosts FCS team Chattanooga in an Iron Bowl tuneup.

Follow the running log below.

Follow on Twitter:

WIAT42 | Alabama Football | Mississippi State Football

Follow the running log below:

1st Quarter:

(10:20) Adam Griffith hits a 30-yard field goal. Bama first on the board, 3-0.

(8:23) Jalen Hurts connects with Calvin Ridley who runs it in for a 4 yard touchdown. Bama leads 10-0.

End of 1st Quarter.

2nd Quarter:

(12:36) Hurts gives ArDarius Stewart a short toss for a 67 yard touchdown. Bama leads 17-0.

(9:55) Hurts runs it in from 4 yards out for a TD. Bama up 24-0.

(2:37) Adam Griffith hits a 28 yard field goal to give the Tide a 27-0 lead.

(0:00) Adam Griffith hits another field goal, from 39 yards out. Bama leads 30-3.

Halftime

3rd Quarter: 

(11:43) Westin Graves hits a 47 yard FG to put Miss State on the board. Bama leads 30-3.

(6:12) Jalen Hurts throws to ArDarius Stewart for another TD. Bama widens the gap to 37-3.

(4:40) Hurts passes to ArDarius Stewart for a 20 yard TD. Bama leads 44-3.

End of 3rd Quarter.

4th Quarter:

(2:34) Cooper Bateman passes to Trevon Diggs for a 5 yard touchdown. Bama is up 51-3.

End of game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s