Decisive Win Was Not Very Pretty

When the number two team in the nation takes on a winless team from the Sun Belt Conference, there are going to be areas of disappointment. Bama didn't get much work on punting, kickoff returns, and goal line defense. But that doesn't mean Alabama doesn't have plenty to work on.

Alabama was expected to have little trouble with North Texas, and that was the case as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 41-0 win over the Mean Green in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.

Bama's two featured running backs both had over 160 yards rushing. The Tide averaged over 10 yards per rush--33 runs for 347 yards--and had five rushing touchdowns in the contest. Trent Richardson had 11 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns and Eddie Lacy had nine runs for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide ran its record to 3-0, while the Mean Green fell to 0-3.

Next week Alabama starts Southeastern Conference play, hosting Arkansas in a game that will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT and be televised by CBS.

Alabama didn't get to punt much against the Mean Green. Cody Mandell had only one punt. It went for just 35 yards, but that was good, because it was downed deep, at the North Texas 4.

Kickoff returns? Just one of those, too, to start the second half, and Marquis Maze ran it back a pedestrian 20 yards.

There was one nice goal line stand in the final minutes of the game. Against Alabama back-up defenders, the Mean Green moved to a first and goal at the Alabama 2. Aided by a pass interference in the end zone call against the Tide, the Mean Green actually had seven plays inside the 10 and came up empty.

Disappointments included Alabama having to attempt four field goals and making only two, and scoring only three times in five Red Zone trips.

Tide quarterbacks were sacked four times, while Alabama did not get a sack on the North Texas quarterbacks.

Bama emphasizes causing turnovers, but against the Mean Green there were no interceptions and no fumbles caused or recovered (North Texas did have an unforced fumble that the Mean Green recovered).

Alabama converted only 6-11 on third down conversions and the Mean Green had nearly a five minute advantage in time of possession.

Alabama dominated statistically even more than on the scoreboard. The Tide had 25 first downs to 11 for North Texas. The Mean Green was held to 68 yards on 32 rushes. Alabama quarterbacks completed 21 of 29 passes with no interceptions for 239 yards. North Texas passers hit 13-30 for 101 yards.

Both teams ran 62 plays with Alabama having 586 yards and North Texas 169.

A.J. McCarron seemed to separate himself even more from Phillip Sims in the Alabama quarterback race. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes for 190 yards and Sims completed 6-8 for 49. Both quarterbacks had lost fumbles, but no interceptions. McCarron took three sacks, Sims one.

In pass receiving, Kenny Bell had four catches for 55 yards, Brad Smelley four for 46, Brandon Gibson three for 35, and Marquis Maze 3-26.

Maze had five punt returns for 56 yards.

One of the most disappointing things about the game was Alabama's offense failing to score a touchdown after a nice opening drive. The Tide started at its 22 and drove inside the North Texas 10, but a third down A.J. McCarron pass for Marquis Maze in the end zone was overthrown and the Tide had to settle for a 26-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal. Bama had a 3-0 lead after five minutes. McCarron had completed passes of 20 yards to Brad Smelley, 16 yards for Maze, and 11 yards to Christion Jones on the drive.

On Bama's second possession, the Tide made it 10-0 with a four-yard Trent Richardson run at left tackle. Richardson was untouched on the play. The Tide had good field position to start the drive, thanks to a 28-yard punt return by Maze to the Bama 42. The big play in the drive was a 30-yard McCarron to Christion Jones pass to the North Texas 4.

Eddie Lacy had an explosive 43-yard run in the opening moments of the second quarter to cap a six-play, 76-yard drive that took only 2:32 to increase the Alabama lead to 17-0.

The rest of the quarter was quite good on defense and unsatisfactory on offense from an Alabama standpoint. Alabama managed only a 37-yard Shelley field goal to make it 20-0 (he also missed from 36). But the Tide defense improved, which was pretty amazing considering that the Mean Green had only 15 yards of total offense in the first quarter. In the second quarter North Texas had only 10 yards of offense (on 10 rushes for 10 yards).

North Texas didn't get into Alabama territory until the third quarter, when a nice march ended with Robert Lester deflecting a 42-yard field goal try by the Mean Green's Zach Olen.

Bama was somewhat lethargic until just over nine and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter when Tent Richardson followed a Chance Warmack block at left end and went 58 yards for a touchdown. The run would have been longer except that the North Texas punter had shanked the ball out of bounds at the Alabama 42 just prior to Richardson's run.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Shelley missed a 42-yard field goal try to leave the score at Alabama 27, North Texas 0.

Following a North Texas punt that was fair caught at the Alabama 29, it took just one play to get another Richardson touchdown. Phillip Sims came in at quarterback and kept it simple. Richardson took the handoff at right tackle, then cut straight up field on a 71-yard touchdown run that made it 34-0.

Although most of the first offense was still in a few minutes later when North Texas punted to Bama at the Tide 33, it was Phillip Sims handing off to Eddie Lacy. Lacy went 67 yards for a touchdown to make it 41-0.

Alabama's goal line stand came in the final five minutes.

Safeties led Bama defensively. Will Lowery and Mark Barron were in on seven tackles each and Vinnie Sunseri was in on six tackles.

BamaMag Top Stories