Alabama Offense Has Been Explosive

When Alabama defeated Mississippi State by a 30-10 score last week, there wasn't much talk about the Crimson Tide having precision, clock-eating drives. Instead, Bama defeated the Bulldogs primarily on the strength of explosive plays.

Alabama hit Mississippi State with big runs and big passes, while the Crimson Tide defense was limiting the Bulldogs' explosive plays with five sacks and two interceptions.

Bama's most memorable damage to MSU came on the final two possessions of the first half and the first possession of the second half.

The first of the Big Three came on a second-and-five situation at the State 45. Quarterback Greg McElroy made a quick throw to wide receiver Marquis Maze on the sideline, a play that would have been good for the needed five yards. But Maze broke out of a tackle, evaded another defender, and outraced the final Bulldog to the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown.

Alabama got the ball back when Mississippi State punted to Maze at the Bama 19-yard line. It appeared Maze had another explosion, an 81-yard punt return, but a Crimson Tide block in the back negated the runback. While the Bulldogs were wiping their brows and saying a collective "Whew," Bama was lighting another fuse. On first down, with Maze on the sidelines getting a breather, tailback Mark Ingram split wide. He took a quick pass from McElroy and turned on the afterburners on a 78-yard touchdown play.

On Bama's first possession of the third quarter, the Tide put Julio Jones in motion on first down from the Alabama 44. Jones took a handoff from McElroy, sprinted around right end, and went 56 yards for the score.

Those three plays took a combined 41 seconds, and took everything out of Mississippi State.

This week Alabama will try to explode against Georgia State when the Crimson Tide hosts the Panthers at 6:30 p.m. CST Thursday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. ESPNU will televise the game. Alabama is 8-2 and ranked 10th in the nation. Georgia State, a first-year program, is 6-4.

In the first 10 games of the season, Alabama's offense has 84 explosive plays – rushes or pass plays that gain 15 or more yards. Those plays have resulted in 18 touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide has had 60 pass plays of 15 or more yards and 24 running plays of at least 15 yards.

Julio Jones has had 20 explosive plays, 19 pass receptions and one rush. Although not all "explosive plays" by definition, Jones has an astounding efficiency record with his 58 receptions this year. His catches have gone for 799 yards and four touchdowns. Of his catches, 41 have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. That's 70.7 per cent.

Tailback Trent Richardson has 14 explosive plays with nine rushes and five receptions meeting the criteria. Marquis Maze has 11 explosive receptions and Mark Ingram has seven runs and two pass receptions netting over 15 yards each.

The longest play of the season was an 85-yard pass-run from McElroy to Richardson against Ole Miss, with the second longest the 78-yard McElroy-Ingram connection against Mississippi State. The longest run was Richardson's 65-yard dash against Tennessee.

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