TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — So Blake Sims can’t throw the deep ball?

Yeah, right.

With touchdown passes of 87 and 79 yards in the first quarter the University of Alabama senior quarterback had one of the best passing performances in Crimson Tide history, completing 23 of 33 attempts for 445 yards and four touchdowns to help lead a 42-21 victory over Florida on Saturday.

It was the most passing yards an Alabama quarterback has ever had in a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The overall stadium record of 528 was set by LSU in 2001, when Nick Saban coached the Tigers.

“I had a lot of confidence in Blake,” senior fullback Jalston Fowler said. “I know he has a strong arm and that we were going to come out and throw.”

Although Sims’ passer-efficiency rating of 216.81 was his second best of the season (269.66 against Florida Atlantic), primary due to an interception, he had an 87-yard touchdown pass to running back Kenyan Drake on Alabama’s first offensive play and added three more – two to junior wide receiver Amari Cooper and one to Fowler.

“I’m not surprised at all because me and Blake having been working since the spring on our timing and everything like that,” Cooper said after finishing with 10 catches for 201 yards.

His 272 passing yards in the first quarter alone surpassed his previous career high of 250 yards against West Virginia.

He finished the first half with 335 yards, second most in a half behind Greg McElroy’s 339 yards against Auburn on Nov. 26, 2010.

Only Scott Hunter’s 484-yard performance against Auburn at Legion Field on Nov. 29, 1969 is ahead of what Sims did against the Gators, although he matched Hunter’s total yards record of 457.

Most passing yards, single game
484 Scott Hunter vs. Auburn (30 of 55), Nov. 29, 1969
445 Blake Sims vs. Florida (22 of 33), Sept. 20, 2014
396 Jay Barker vs. Georgia (26 of 34), Oct. 1, 1994
379 Gary Hollingsworth vs. Tennessee (32 of 46), Oct. 21, 1989
377 Greg McElroy vs. Auburn (27 of 37), Nov. 26, 2010
367 Mike Shula at Memphis State (24 of 34, Oct . 26, 1985
363 Gary Hollingsworth at Mississippi (25 of 43), Oct . 7, 1989
363 John Parker Wilson vs . Tennessee (32 of 46), Oct . 20, 2007
340 Gary Hollingsworth at Auburn (27 of 49), Dec . 2, 1989
336 Andrew Zow vs. Florida (28 of 40), Dec. 4, 1999
336 Walter Lewis at Penn State (25 of 35), Oct. 8, 1983
Source: Alabama record book

However, the number that really impressed Saban was Alabama converting 12 of 16 third-down opportunities compared to Florida’s horrendous 2 of 13.

“I thought Blake did a really good job on third down all day,” Saban said.

“People have to respect him as a passer. He has made too many plays and too many good throws for people to not respect him as a passer. He’s done a really good job for us.

“I thought Jake (Coker) did a great job when Blake got hurt and he went in there. He finished the drive and ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive, which was at a critical time in the game as well.”

Sims’ injury, which led to a brief trip to the locker room to get checked out, was due to a hard shot to his right shoulder while running for a 24-yard gain.

“It’s just a little bruised,” said Sims, who returned, but will benefit from Alabama having a bye next week before visiting Ole Miss.