How is it that Alabama finds ways to get the football to playmakers in open space? The Tide make it look easy.
Either it actually is a simple concept and most other coaches across the country are just too pig-headed to adapt or Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is an offensive guru.
Or maybe Alabama just has better talent and execution than anyone else in the country. More likely it’s a combination of the latter two. Either way, it’s a tactic that the Tide used to near perfection on Saturday, neutralizing a physical Mississippi State team in a 51-3 romp.
Alabama remains unbeaten at 10-0, and its No. 1 status in the College Football Playoff rankings continues to be unchallenged.
Not even the usual temporary LSU hangover halted QB Jalen Hurts from throwing for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns while marching the Tide up and down the field from the opening kick. Since 2001, Alabama had not scored a touchdown in the first quarter following the LSU game.
With RBs Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris nicked up, it looked like the odds were stacked against them for breaking that trend. But nobody utilizes talent like Kiffin, and so he turned to WR ArDarius Stewart to run and catch the ball and directed Hurts to throw it to TE O.J. Howard and playmaker WR Calvin Ridley to loosen up the hard-nosed Bulldogs defense.
And when he wasn’t dishing out dimes, he was using his legs to move the offense. He scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season, a 4-yard run early in the second quarter. It’s the most in a career by any quarterback at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban, and he’s just a freshman.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 12, 2016
Hurts’ 447 yards of total offense is the third-most in a single game in Alabama history. Meanwhile, he’s the first Tide player in history to throw for at least 300 and rush for at least 100 in a game.
The results were extremely positive, especially through the first two quarters. And though the Tide had to settle for a field goal on its initial drive, that possession set the tone for the remainder of the game: a wide-open offense that utilized all of its weapons. Alabama reached the end zone on its second drive with a quick, 4-play, 32-yard touchdown drive following a short Bulldogs punt.
The Tide piled on by scoring in their final four possessions of the first half and took a 30-0 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
The Bulldogs upset Texas A&M a week ago with a quick start, then maintained a physical brand of football that wore down their opponent. On Saturday, the Tide never gave them the chance to repeat that feat.
Hurts followed Kiffin’s gameplan, making excellent use of passes in the flat to get the playmakers in open space. It also negated the Bulldogs’ physical brand of football that produced the huge upset victory over then-No. 4 Texas A&M a week ago.
Hello, Josh Jacobs! The freshman running back stepped up and converted some key plays in a dominating first half. He joined Stewart, Howard and Ridley in running wild on a Bulldogs defense unable to cover all the talent the Tide threw at it.
Jacobs ripped off a 12-yard run — rushed 3 times for 17 yards — and turned a swing pass into a 26-yard gain. It was one of three pass receptions for 34 yards. Jacobs accounted for 52 yards of offense over the first two quarters and then added a 43-yard dash to set up a third-quarter score, to further the rout and to provide the impetus to break 100 total yards for the game.
Yes, the Tide play to a different standard than the rest, a standard other programs can only stand back and marvel at right now.