Alabama Football rolled to a 66-10 win over UT-Chattanooga in its final home game of the season. Only the Iron Bowl stands between Bama and an 11-1 regular season finish with an unblemished conference record.
Although it was able to successfully celebrate Senior Day, the youngsters for Alabama Football were able to make their marks in this lopsided game.
Everything went according to script for quarterback Jalen Milroe, who turned in an extremely efficient performance and played only the first half. Milroe completed over 80 percent of his passes for more than 12 yards per attempt, with touchdown throws to Jermaine Burton, Robbie Ouzts, and Malik Benson. These were the first career touchdown grabs for Ouzts, a junior tight end, and Benson, a junior wide receiver and the top JUCO prospect in the 2023 recruiting cycle.
Even without Milroe providing much as a runner, the Crimson Tide ground game gashed the Mocs all afternoon. Bama went five running backs deep, racking up 315 yards on 9.5 yards per carry.
Defensively, it wasn’t a perfect performance. Bama had some lapses, surrendering a 40-yard touchdown run to Gino Appleberry as part of his 104 yards rushing for the game. It also gave up a 54-yard completion on the first drive of the second half that led to a Chattanooga field goal. Even with these leaks factored in, the Tide gave up less than 4.2 yards per play in the win.
Alabama Football finds a new punt returner
Bama’s new punt returner is none other than true freshman safety Caleb Downs. Downs was already established as one of the best safeties in college football, leading the Tide with 90 tackles and adding a pair of interceptions.
Meanwhile, the punt return unit had been an ongoing concern for Alabama all season, with Kool-Aid McKinstry making questionable decisions and repeatedly failing to maintain ball security.
Against the Mocs, he appeared to make poor decisions on each of his first two return opportunities. The second, which he fielded inside his own 5-yard line amidst heavy traffic, ultimately resulted in a fumble.
Following the mishap, Coach Nick Saban sent Downs back to field punts, and it didn’t take him long to etch his name in stone. Initially, he made two clean fair catches, quiet plays that came as a breath of fresh air for Bama fans. Midway through the third quarter with Alabama already nursing a big lead, Downs took his first ever return attempt 85 yards for a touchdown.