Near Perfect Day For Homecoming

AJ McCarron was almost perfect in his brief time as Alabama quarterback Saturday. Georgia State was perfect as a homecoming opponent. The result was a predictable 45-3 Crimson Tide football victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.

Alabama opened up a 38-0 halftime lead, the most effective first half since Bama had a 42-0 intermission lead over Auburn last year, as A.J. McCarron completed 15 of 16 passes for 166 yards and four touchdowns before being lifted in the second quarter.

The Crimson Tide is now 5-0 on the season. The Georgia State Panthers fell to 0-5.

Next week, Alabama goes on the road for its third Southeastern Conference game of the year. The Crimson Tide will be at Kentucky for an evening game, kickoff at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time).

Alabama passing was incredible as back-up man Blake Sims completed 14-18 for 130 yards and a touchdown, making total Bama passing 29 of 34 for 296 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. McCarron had a new Tide record for individual pass completion percentage (93.8 per cent) and the total Bama percentage of 85.3 per cent was also a new Alabama record. Fifteen different Tide players had pass receptions.

Receiving touchdowns were scored by Christion Jones, DeAndrew White, Kenyan Frake, Jalston Fowler, and Chris Black. T.J. Yeldon had a rushing touchdown.

The lone Georgia State points came on a school record 53-yard field goal by Will Lutz.

Cade Foster had a field goal for Alabama, and back-up placekicker Adam Griffith missed a field goal.

Alabama, of course, dominated statistically. The Tide had 31 first downs to 9 for Georgia State. Bama had 30 rushes for 181 yards, the Panthers 22 runs for 15 yards. Geogia State completed 12 of 22 passes for 160 yards. Total offense for Alabama was 64 plays for 477 yards, while Georgia State had 44 plays for 175 yards. The Panthers punted seven times for a 41.1 average, while Bama's Cody Mandell had only one punt, a 42-yarder that was downed at the Georgia State 6.

Bama converted 6 of 9 third down plays, Georgia State 4-12. The Tide scored on six of seven Red Zone opportunities, while the Panthers didn't make it to the Red Zone, which is inside the 20. Alabama had a 33:38 to 26:22 advantage in time of possession.

Speaking of time, the teams agreed to allow the clock to run in the fourth quarter.

No Alabama running back had a lot of yards, because no Alabama running back had a lot of carries. Yeldon had 6-51, Derrick Henry 5-50, Kenyan Drake 5-40, Jalston Fowler 3-23, the result being that the Tide averaged over 6 yards per carry, even though the longest run was only 28 yards.

Black led the receiving corps with 6-54, followed by White 4-45, Kevin Norwood 3-42, and Christion Jones 3-22.

C.J. Mosley led Bama defenders with only six tackles, two for lost yardage. Dee Hart had three tackles (one causing a fumble) on kick coverage and Bradley Sylve, Trey DePriest, and Dillon Lee were also in on three tackles.

Alabama drew first blood on its first possession, a nice 7-play, 71-yard drive that took only 3:14. T.J. Yeldon went 28 yards on first down and AJ McCarron completed five passes in five attempts, including a six-yarder on third-and-six to Kevin Norwood and an eight-yard screen to Christion Jones for the touchdown. Cade Foster kicked it to 7-0.

The Tide's second and third touchdowns also came in the first quarter. Yeldon started and ended the drive with runs, the second a four-yard plunge for the touchdown to complete a seven-play, 60-yard march. McCarron had passes of 13 and 11 yards to DeAndrew White and a nine-yard completion to tight end Brian Vogler for nine yards before Yeldon made it 14-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Dee Hart hit Panthers return man Kelton Hill, forcing a fumble that was picked up by Dillon Lee and returned to the 10-yard line. On first down, and just 13 seconds after Yeldon's TD run, McCarron passed to White on a flag route. White made an outstanding one-handed catch for the touchdown and 21-0 lead.

Starting at its 38 late in the first quarter, Bama went 62 yards in just five plays, helped along by a pass interference call against Georgia State. McCarron completed an 11-yard pass to White to start the drive. Kenyan Drake had three runs for a first down. ON a safety valve from the Georgia State 23, McCarron hit Drake. The running back made a tackler miss, then finished the play with a dive into the end zone for a 28-0 lead.

McCarron's only incompletion came on the next series. After completing a pass to Kenny Bell to make him 12-12, McCarron misfired trying to hit O.J. Howard. But he rebounded well. After Jalston Fowler ran for 13 yards, McCarron completed passes to Kevin Norwood and Bell. With a first-and-goal at the Georgia State one, there was a reminder of the win over Texas A&M, a flip to Fowler for the touchdown and a 35-0 lead.

Blake Sims came in to quarterback the last scoring drive of the first half (and the rest of the game), something of a disappointment since it resulted in only three points. It was a nice drive until it got to first and goal at the Georgia State 1. Sims hit Kevin Norwood for 26 yards to the 23, followed by an up-the-middle run by Drake, who stretched it down to the one. Two false start penalties called on back-up offensive lineman helped move the Tide back to where Bama faced an eventual fourth-and-goal from the 9. Foster kicked a 27-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the half to make it 38-8.

Georgia State quarterback Ronnie Bell completed passes of 17 yards to Sean Jepperson and 34 yards to Albert Wilson to overcome penalties and lost yardage plays and set up a fourth-and-seven at the Bama 36. The Panthers' Will Lutz was good on the school record 53-yard attempt.

Alabama answered with a 10-play, 68-yard drive to a touchdown, Sims passing to Black for 10 yards to wrap it up. Sims started the drive with three consecutive passes to H-back Harrison Jones. The first two were incomplete, but the third was good for 12 and a first down. Sims then connected with Malcolm Faciane for 8, Black fo 7 and 16, Faciane again for 6, and finally the TD pass to Black. Adam Griffith took over kicking duties and made the extra point to make it 45-3 and end the scoring with over six minutes to play in the third quarter.

Bama starters had long been retired to the bench.

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