Better Than Passing Grade For Tide QBs

How old was the previous Alabama record for pass completion percentage in a game? It was set before Alabama had a quarterback. In 1950, the Alabama offense was the Notre Dame box, and left halfback Ed Salem was the All-America runner and passer. Against Southern Miss that year, Bama completed 21 of 26 passes for an 80 per cent completion rate.

Alabama quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Blake Sims shattered that record Saturday in the Crimson Tide's 45-3 win over Georgia State. They combined for 29 of 34 completions for an 85.3 per cent completion rate.

McCarron completed 15 of 16 passes for 93.8 per cent, and that knocked Kenny Stabler out of the record book for completion percentage on 15 or more completions. In 1966 against Ole Miss, Stabler completed 16 of 19 for 84.2 per cent. Sims wasn't bad with 14-18, 77.8 per cent.

McCarron completed 12 straight passes before tossing one incomplete in the second quarter. His 12 consecutive completions ranks tied for third in the Alabama record books with John Parker Wilson (Tennessee – Oct. 25, 2008; Arkansas State – Nov. 1, 2008) and Andrew Zow (Ole Miss – Oct. 14, 2000).

In approximately 26 minutes of play in the first half, McCarron tossed four touchdowns, tying his career high as well as the second most touchdown passes in a game in Tide history. McCarron has accomplished this feat six other times, most recently at Texas A&M on Sept 14.

No one knows for sure, but Bama may have set a school record with 15 different players having pass receptions. Last year the Tide had only 16 players catch passes in the entire 14-game season.

Alabama receivers making their first career receptions were tight ends Malcome Faciane and Kurt Freitag, tailback Altee Tenpenny, and walk-on wide receivers Parker Barineau and Ty Reed.

Reed is the son of former Alabama volleyball and basketball player and volleyball coach (and Olympic team handball player in 1984) Dorothy Franco-Reed.

For the sixth time in its last nine games, Alabama has held its opponent scoreless in the first half. In addition to today's game, the Crimson Tide shut out Ole Miss (Sept. 28, 2013), Colorado State (Sept. 21, 2013), Notre Dame (Jan. 7, 2013), Auburn (Nov. 24, 2012) and Western Carolina (Nov. 17, 2012) during the first two quarters of play. The Tide has held opponents to 10 points or fewer 44 times since the start of the 2007 season.

Alabama had four true freshmen start against Georgia State. Defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson got the first start of his Crimson Tide career, while Cole Mazza made his fifth at long snapper, O.J. Howard his fourth at tight end and Eddie Jackson his third at defensive back.

First time starters on defense for Alabama were Landon Collins at the safety spot vacated by the suspension of HaHa Clinton-Dix and Robinson at right end in place of Jeoffrey Pagan.

Chad Lindsay, who took over for Ryan Kelly last week, made his first start at center.

This was Alabama's second game against Georgia State. In 2010, Georgia State's first year of football, Bama was a 63-7 winner. The Tide is now 29-3 against nonconference opponents under Coach Nick Saban. Alabama has won 22 in a row against non-SEC opposition. During Saban's tenure, the Tide has outscored those opponents 1,221-342.

Prior to this year Bill Curry, a former Alabama head football coach, was coach of the Panthers. Georgia State's first-year coach, Trent Miles, is married to an Alabama alumna.

With Christion Jones' 8-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, Alabama has scored in 161 consecutive games – the longest streak in program history.

The Crimson Tide has won 18-of-19 games in the month of October over the past five seasons. The Tide was 3-0 in 2008, 4-0 in 2009 before a blemish and a 3-1 mark in 2010 (loss at South Carolina). UA went 4-0 in 2011 and 3-0 in 2012. Alabama has now won 10 straight in October after the win against Georgia State.

Historically, even against bad opposition, homecoming tickets have been hard to come by. With Georgia State waiting until late to return tickets, Bama came up just short of a sellout at 101,254. Bryant-Denny Stadium capacity is 101,821.

Honorary captains for Alabama were former linebacker Eddie Lowe and former running back Roosevelt Wilder.

Crimson Tide captains were quarterback AJ McCarron, linebacker C.J. Mosley, and cornerback Deion Belue.

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