Cyrus Jones Keys Alabama 56-6 Romp

Charleston Southern was no Georgia Southern. The Bucaneers came into Bryant-Denny Stadium with a 9-1 record, but no one had thoughts of a competitive game from the visitors against an Alabama team that was also 9-1, but at completely different levels, as evidenced by the Crimson Tide’s 56 to 6 victory Saturday.

For instance, Alabama had Cyrus Jones, and Charleston Southern kept giving the ball to Jones.

Jones, a senior cornerback, had two punt returns for touchdowns and intercepted a pitchout that led to a short TD drive to key the Crimson Tide scoring seven touchdowns on five first half possessions and a 49-0 lead at intermission. Starters were out of the game from late in the first half through the end of the game.

Derrick Henry had two first half touchdown runs and Jacob Coker two first half touchdown passes to go with Jones’s two punt return scores. The final touchdown of the first half was set up by Jones’s interception of a pitchout and run to the Charleston Southern 6 (statistically a forced fumble and fumble recovery/18-yard fumble return). Three plays later freshman Bo Scarbrough had his first Crimson Tide TD.

Bo got to play in the second half. Not, though, Derrick or Jake or Cyrus or receivers Richard Mullaney and Calvin Ridley who had the TD receptions. Or the defenders who held Charleston Southern to 3 first downs and 31 total yards in the first half.

Alabama punter JK Scott got only a couple of plays, none of them punts since the Tide never punted. He missed a long field goal try, but made an extra point kick.

Alabama is now 10-1 on the season and the Crimson Tide is 6-1 in Southeastern Conference games.

Alabama finishes regular season play next Saturday at Auburn. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. CST with CBS televising the game. If the Crimson Tide can beat Auburn Bama will play in the SEC Championship Game Dec. 5 in Atlanta against Florida.

Alabama scored four first quarter touchdowns, the offense scoring on its first three possessions and Jones making an alert play on a punt that hit Maurice Smith in the back. Jones picked up the free ball at the Charleston Southern 43 and went untouched for his second punt return touchdown in as many games. (Jones had started the scorning the week before with a 69-yard punt return for a TD in Bama’s 31-6 win over the Bulldogs in Starkville.)

The Tide’s offense scored on its only two possessions in the second quarter (other than a final play run) around Jones’ 72-yard punt return.

Alabama went 64 yards in nine plays after the opening kickoff with Henry running in from 17 yards out and Adam Griffith kicking the first of his seven extra points. Scott kicked the last one.

The Tide made it 14-0 on a 10-play, 55-yard drive with Henry getting his second rushing TD on a two-yard with 5:50 to play in the first quarter to make it 14-0.

A short punt set Alabama up at the Bucaneers’ 35-yard line with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter and Coker made quick work of it. He completed a 14-yard pass to Ridley, and then found Mullaney who made a fine leaping catch in the back of the end zone for a 21-yard TD. (The play was ruled incomplete on the field, but reversed on review.)

On the final play of the quarter, a Charleston Southern punt hit Alabama’s Maurice Smith in the back, and bounded over to the Bucs’ 43-yard line, a free ball. Jones scooped it up and dashed to the end zone for a 28-0 first quarter Bama lead.

In the second quarter, Bama’s first drive started at its 14-yard line. After missing a long pass to Ridley, Coker hit Ardarius Stewart for 21 yards and then completed a short pass to Henry, who turned it into a 28-yard gain. Two plays later Coker rifled a strike to Ridley at the three and Ridley stepped into the end zone to make it 35-0.

Three minutes later the Bucs were punting again and this time Jones took it at his 28 and raced 72 yards to the end zone for a 42-0 lead.

Jones wasn’t too tired to return to his right cornerback spot as Charleston Southern was working from its own 28. Bucs quarterback Kyle Copeland attempted a pitchout, but Jones had reacted to the option play, blocked the pitch and caught it in the air, and went down to the six-yard line before Copeland dragged him down. Three plays later Scarbrough had his first Alabama touchdown with a one-yard run and Alabama had a 49-0 lead.

The subs didn’t threaten a third quarter score, but Charleston Southern began a drive in the third quarter that ended with a fourth quarter touchdown, Copeland going in from three yards out after he had completed a nice 35-yard pass to Saire Davis down to the three. A two-point try pass was intercepted by Bama linebacker Shaun Hamilton, leaving the score at 49-6.

Bama closed out the scoring with back-up quarterback Cooper Bateman leading a 12-play, 60-yard drive following CSU’s TD. Scarbrough did most of the running and Bateman completed a couple of passes, including a 16-yard strike on a fourth-and-13 to the Bucs 6-yard line. On first down, freshman Damien Harris took it over right tackle for the TD.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban’s concern based on Georgia Southern running for just over 300 yards on the Bama defense in the Tide’s 2011 national championship season was not approached by Charleston Southern.

Al;abama had 23 first downs to 8 for CSU. The Tide had 35 rushes for 195 yards, the Bucs 36 for 85. Bama completed 19-25 passes for 208 yards, Charleston Southern 5-10 for 49 yards and suffered one interception (Jabriel Washington picking it off and returning it 34 yards.

Alabama had 60 plays for 403 yards (6.7 per play) and Charleston Southern 46 plays for 134 yards (2.9 per play). Bama was 5-9 on third down conversions, CSU 1-10.

Alabama, which had nine sacks last week against Mississippi State, had none against the option offense of the Bucs.

Scarbrough had 10 carries for 69 yards, Henry 9-68, and Harris 10-48. Coker completed 11-13 passes for 155 yards with two TDs, Cooper Bateman 7-11 for 47 yards, and Alec Morris completed his only pass for 6 yards. Ridley had 4 receptions for 49 yards, ArDarius Stewart 4-45, Cam Sims 3-25.

Backup cornerback Bradley Sylve was Bama’s leading tackler with 4 primaries, with Dalvin Tomlinson having 1 primary, 3 assists. Cyrus Jones, Hamilton, and Tony Brown had 3 primaries each, Reggie Ragland 2 primaries and an assist. Jones had three tackles for 13 yards in losses.

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