Richardson Sets Rushing TD Mark

There were a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns Saturday as Alabama defeated Georgia Southern, 45-21, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. But it was a one-yard plunge that had the biggest individual impact.

With that one-yard power run up the middle with 2:36 to play in the third quarter, Alabama junior tailback Trent Richardson scored his 20th rushing touchdown of the season. That broke the record of former Crimson Tide great Shaun Alexander, who had 19 in 1999.

Richardson scored three total touchdowns against the Eagles, giving him 22 on the season (20 rushing, 2 pass receiving). He had one pass reception for a touchdown Saturday.

Richardson pushed his career total to 34 touchdowns on the ground and 41 overall. The 41 career touchdowns (34 rushing, 6 receiving, 1 kickoff return) ranks third in the Alabama annals, passing Bobby Humphrey (33 rush, 7 receiving). Shaun Alexander (1996-99) is the Alabama career leader with 50 career touchdowns and Mark Ingram (2008-10) is second with 46. Richardson has scored two or more touchdowns on seven occasions this season and tallied three or more four times in 2011.

With 175 rushing yards against Georgia Southern, Richardson recorded his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the 2011 season. Richardson has now eclipsed the 100-yard mark 12 times in his career. His 32 carries tied a career high (Mississippi State, Nov. 12) and marked the fourth time the back had carried the ball 25 or more times this season. Alabama is a perfect 4-0 in those games. The Tide has never lost a game (12-0) when Richardson has eclipsed 100 yards rushing. His eight 100 yard games this season is just one behind the Alabama single season record of nine held by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (2009).

When Dont'a Hightower blocked a Georgia Southern field goal try in the first quarter and Dre Kirkpatrick scooped it up and went 55 yards for a touchdown, it marked the first time for that result for Alabama since Nov. 29, 2003, when Chris James blocked a Hawaii field goal try and Roman Harper picked it up and scored.

Kirkpatrick became the 14th different player to score for Alabama this year.

The blocked field goal and Kirkpatrick score against the Eagles was Alabama's fourth non-offensive touchdown of 2011 and the 24th overall since the Nick Saban Era began in 2007. Since Saban took over as Alabama head coach, the Crimson Tide has had touchdowns on 10 interception returns, 7 punt returns, 3 kickoff returns, 2 fumble returns, 1 blocked field goal return, and 1 blocked punt return for a touchdown. Courtney Upshaw's 45-yard interception return at Florida on Oct. 1 was Alabama's second interception return of the 2011 season, and the second in a two week span along with DeQuan Menzie's 25-yard interception return for a score against Arkansas. Senior return man Marquis Maze returned a punt against Arkansas on Sept. 24.

Quarterback A.J. McCarron put together another efficient day behind center Saturday. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes for 190 yards and three scores. The sophomore completed 74 percent of his passes which marks the fifth time this season he has eclipsed 70 percent passing. The three passing touchdowns marked the third time in his career he has thrown for two or more scores.

Senior tight end Brad Smelley caught two touchdowns in the win against Georgia Southern. The two touchdowns in a single game is a career best for the Tuscaloosa native. Smelley now has three scores on his career, all coming this season. Smelley became just the second player this season to haul in two touchdowns. (DeAndrew White, vs. Vanderbilt, Oct. 8 was the other).

Senior wide receiver Marquis Maze moved into the single season record books with his 52nd reception on the year. The 52 receptions rank 10th all-time in the single season annals, passing the 51 receptions by Lamonde Russell in 1989.

On Senior Day for Alabama, the Crimson Tide senior class set a record for victories. Bama has won 46 games since the start of the 2008 season, surpassing the mark of 45 held by the seniors of 1994. Alabama won 12 games in 2008, 14 games and the national championship in 2009, 10 games in 2010, and 10 games thus far this season.

Alabama added to its record of 10-win seasons Saturday against Georgia Southern. Bama, now 10-1 on the year, has had four consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories and now has 32 seasons with at least 10 victories. Oklahoma went into this season with the most 10-win seasons in major college football with 32.

A sad sidelight to senior day is that one senior, nose tackle Nick Gentry, was one of two Bama players suspended for the Georgia Southern game. Also serving a one-game suspension for the old dependable "violation of team rules and policy" was freshman wide receiver DeAndrew White.

Honorary captains for Alabama were former linebacker DeMeco Ryans, now starring for the Houston Texans, and 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, now in his first year with the New Orleans Saints.

Captains for Alabama tight end Brad Smelley, safety Mark Barron, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, and linebacker Jerrell Harris.

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