The first-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide came into Week 6 needing a dominating performance against an overmatched opponent and got just that, as the first team offense was flawless and the defense was suffocating.
The first team Alabama offense scored touchdowns on all five of its drives in the first half, and then the backups started to enter the game. Quarterback AJ McCarron was nearly perfect, completing 15 of his 16 passes for 166 yards and tied his career high with four touchdowns.
McCarron was deadly accurate and only took one shot deep, which ended in a pass interference call on the defense. McCarron had scoring passes of 23 yards to Kenyan Drake, eight yards to Christion Jones, 10 yards to DeAndrew White, and a beautiful over-the-shoulder pass to Jalston Fowler for a score.
Backup quarterback Blake Sims got the most playing time he’s seen at quarterback since coming to Alabama, and he responded extremely well, completing 14 of his 18 passes for 130 yards and a TD pass to redshirt freshman Chris Black. Sims has mainly thrown short passes and run the read option in his limited playing time over the last two years, but Nick Saban said after the game they wanted to see how he performed running the regular Alabama offense and he did extremely well.
Sims showed off his athleticism, escaping pressure on multiple plays and was probably more effecting throwing on the run than sitting in the pocket. His mobility brings a different dimension to the quarterback position that Alabama hasn’t seen since Tyler Watts.
T.J. Yeldon started off his day with a 21-yard run and only got five more carries after that, but averaged nearly nine yards a touch and scored a touchdown.
Kenyan Drake was electric with the ball in his hand, especially on a magnificent 23-yard touchdown catch where he dove from the five-yard line into the end zone.
Chris Black made the most of his playing time, catching a team-high six passes for 54 yards and a score. Black was extremely effective with the ball in his hands and his ability may demand more playing time very soon.
Georgia State simply was overmatched, and the Alabama offense was just as efficient as they should be against an inferior homecoming opponent. Alabama was able to empty the bench and use several players that have yet to see the field, including some walk-ons throughout the game. Alabama quarterbacks completed passes to 15 different receivers, and six different running backs got touches in the game, including stud freshman Derrick Henry, who had a career-high five carries for 50 yards.
The Alabama defense allowed just 175 total yards and only 15 yards rushing. It wasn’t perfect, and there were a couple of mental errors again, but the young defense continues to improve and hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown since the second game against Texas A&M.
No turnovers were forced, but the defense held GSU to 4 of 12 on third downs and caused several negative plays throughout the game.
Eddie Jackson got his third consecutive start at cornerback and played well, while Deion Belue continues to be the most consistent cornerback on the team. Landon Collins, as expected, got the start in place of suspended HaHa Clinton-Dix and was just as effective as the All-American. Much like the offense, the defense was able to go extremely deep in the bench and play a multitude of young players during the game.
Neither the first team offense nor defense was penalized in the game, but the backups were penalized four times, and the worst of any sequence came on the final drive in the second quarter. Sims drove the offense down close to the goal line in his first drive, but then Alabama went in reverse, with multiple penalties. Alabama was forced to kick a field goal on the drive.
The starters improved in this facet of the game, but the backups struggled at times with penalties, and yes I’m reaching for something bad because there just wasn’t much.
The only thing ugly for the Tide in the 45-3 win was the horribly early start time for a homecoming game at 11:20 am, not leaving much time for festivities before the game. It’s a nitpicky complaint, but it’s hard to find anything ugly in a 45-3 win where the bench was nearly cleared in the process playing as many players as possible.
Next week Alabama heads on the road for the second time this season to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats for the first time since 2009.
Final stats from the game are below.
AJ McCarron: 15-16, 166 yards, 4 TD
Blake Sims: 14-18, 130 yards, 1 TD
TJ Yeldon: 6 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD
Derrick Henry: 5 carries, 50 yards
Kenyan Drake: 5 carries, 40 yards
Jalston Fowler: 3 carries, 23 yards
Altee Tenpenny: 4 carries, 10 yards
Blake Sims: 2 carries, 10 yards
Dee Hart: 4 carries, 0 yards
Chris Black: 6 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD
DeAndrew White: 4 catches, 45 yards, 1 TD
Kevin Norwood: 3 catches, 42 yards
Christion Jones: 3 catches, 22 yards, 1 TD
Kenny Bell: 2 catches, 37 yards
Malcome Faciane: 2 catches, 14 yards
Kenyan Drake: 1 catch, 23 yards, 1 TD
OJ Howard: 1 catch, 13 yards
Harrison Jones: 1 catch, 12 yards
Kurt Freitag: 1 catch, 11 yards
Brian Vogler: 1 catch, 9 yards
Parker Barrineau: 1 catch, 6 yards
Altee Tenpenny: 1 catch, 4 yards
Ty Reed: 1 catch, 3 yards
Jalston Fowler: 1 catch, 1 yard, 1 TD
CJ Mosley: 6 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss
Dee Hart: 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Bradley Sylve: 3 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Trey Depriest: 3 tackles
Dillon Lee: 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Landon Collins: 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Vinnie Sunseri: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Geno Smith: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Brandon Ivory: 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Korren Kirven: 2 tackles
Ed Stinson: 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry
A’Shawn Robinson: 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Xzavier Dickson: 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1.0 sack
Eddie Jackson: 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry
Jarrick Williams: 1 tackle
Tim Williams: 1 tackle, 1 tackle for loss
Cade Foster: 1 tackle
Adrian Hubbard: 1 tackle
Kenyan Drake: 1 tackle
Maurice Smith: 1 tackle
Reggie Ragland: 1 tackle, 0.5 tackle for loss
Altee Tenpenny: 1 tackle
LaMichael Fanning: 1 tackle
John Fulton: 1 tackle
Darren Lake: 1 tackle
Anthony Orr: 1 tackle, 0.5 tackle for loss
Tana Patrick: 1 tackle
Cody Mandell: 1 punt, 42 yards (downed inside 10)
Cade Foster: 1/1 FGs (long: 27 yards), 5/5 XPs
Adam Griffith: 0/1 FGs, 1/1 XPs
Harrison Jones: 2 kickoff returns, 17 yards
Dee Hart: 1 punt return, 37 yards