Stuart McNair

Notes from Alabama’s 48-0 win over Kent State

Xavian Marks had 75-yard TD runback in first game as punt returner

A week ago, most of the talk following Alabama’s come-from-behind win over Ole Miss was about non-offensive touchdowns, particularly a couple scored by Crimson Tide defensive linemen (Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne). There was another this week in Alabama’s 48-0 win over Kent State on Saturday, and it was similar to one against Ole Miss.

One of the non-offensive TDs Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium was similar to another last week. Against Ole Miss, Eddie Jackson returned a punt 55 yards for a score in the first game he was used in that capacity. Against Kent State, the Tide got a 75-yard punt return from Xavian Marks, who was having his first game as a punt returner.

Against Western Kentucky on Sept. 10, Jackson returned an interception for a score; and against USC in the season-opener on Sept. 3, Marlon Humphrey returned an interception for a touchdown.

Alabama has scored non-offensive touchdowns in its last six games – two interceptions, two fumbles, three punt returns and a kickoff return – dating back to the CFP semifinal vs. Michigan State on Dec. 31, 2015.

The Alabama defense didn’t score Saturday, but it was Bama’s 95th shutout since 1958 and the 17th of the Nick Saban Era (since 2007). Under Saban, Alabama has shut out at least one opponent in eight of his 10 seasons (2008-09-11-12-13-14-15-16).

Here are game notes from No. 1 Alabama’s 48-0 win as the Tide improved to 4-0 this season.

Alabama owns the longest winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, having won 16 consecutive games dating back to last season (last loss: Sept. 19, 2015 vs. Ole Miss). The 16-game streak is the seventh longest in school history (28 games twice: 1991-93 & 1978-80) and the second longest under the direction of Saban (19 games 2009-10).

During this 16-game winning stretch the Crimson Tide has won seven games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, five straight road games, four consecutive neutral-site games while going 9-0 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. During the streak, Alabama has outscored its opponents by 387 points (603-216; 37.6-13.5, an average of 24.1 points per game).

Alabama under Saban has a home record of 58-7 and has won 29 of its last 31 games in Tuscaloosa, 22 of its last 23. In that time Alabama has lost back-to-back home games only one time, in Saban’s first year, 2007, to LSU and Louisiana-Monroe.

Alabama is riding a 26-game winning streak against non-conference opponents at home. Saban-coached Alabama teams are outscoring non-conference opponents by an average of 39.1-12.2 (1,838-561) and have shut out the opposition 10 times.

With the win over Kent State, Alabama has now defeated 62 consecutive unranked teams under Saban. The last loss to an unranked team came at Auburn to close out the 2007 season. The current streak began with a win over Colorado on Dec. 30, 2007, in the Independence Bowl. Under Saban, Alabama holds a 66-3 mark against unranked opponents, including a perfect mark in games against unranked teams since 2008.

 Saban is second in league history in all-time winning percentage at .817 (152-34) and ranks tied for eighth all-time for career wins, with Philip Fulmer at 152.

Saturday's game against Kent State was Alabama's 1,236th college football game. That figure takes into account games both forfeited and vacated per NCAA rulings. Without accounting for those stipulations, he KSU game was actually Alabama's 1,258th football game and the Tide's actual on-field record is 897-317-44. The Tide is now 76-10 this decade.

Saturday's game was the 704th home game in Alabama history (the 413th played in Tuscaloosa). The win improved Alabama to 345-65-3 all-time in Tuscaloosa, including 247-53-3 all-time at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

With the 48-0 win over Kent State, Alabama improved its record to 97-6 (.942) under Saban when leading at the half. Alabama has now led at the half in three of its four games this season and has held a halftime lead in 14 of its last 19 games dating back to the start of the 2015 season.

Junior wide receiver Cam Sims made his first career start.

Freshman running back Joshua Jacobs tallied his first two touchdowns and posted a career-best 97 yards rushing while freshman fullback Mack Wilson also tallied his first score on his first pass reception. Junior placekicker Andy Papanastos kicked the first two point-after kicks of his Alabama career. Xavian Marks, of course, recorded his first career punt return for a touchdown.

Sophomore Minkah Fitzpatrick’s 1 1/2 quarterback sacks set a new career high. He had tallied a sack in a game twice previously, most recently in 2015 at Georgia. Fitzpatrick had three tackles against the Golden Flashes.

Senior linebacker Ryan Anderson’s 11 tackles, 5 for loss, and 4 sacks to start 2016 continues his hot streak that began near the end of the 2015 season. In the final six games of the 2015 campaign, Anderson recorded eight tackles for loss and six sacks. Seven of his career 12 1/2 sacks and nine of his 24 career tackles for loss have come in his last nine games. In his career, the redshirt senior has accumulated 24 tackles for a loss of 116 yards and added 13 1/2 sacks for minus 97 yards.

Jalen Hurts’s 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter extended Alabama’s first half scoring streak to 122 games, longest streak in the nation. The last time UA failed to score in the first half was on Sept. 29, 2007, when Alabama and Florida State headed into halftime in a scoreless tie. The Seminoles won that game, 21-14. Alabama is 106-16 record during the streak.

Alabama’s school record consecutive games scoring streak was extended to 202 games.

The 41 points in the first half is a season high for Alabama in the opening two quarters and the most since the 49 against Charleston Southern last year. The Tide scored 17 points in the first half in each of the first three games of the season. The 21 first-quarter points equals the previous season high for a quarter, set in the third quarter of the season opener with USC.

Freshman running back Joshua Jacobs rushed for the first two touchdowns of his career in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 97 yards on 11 carries.

Cam Sims’s four catches and 54 yards surpassed his previous career highs of three receptions (twice) and 33 yards (vs. Western Carolina, 2014).

Alabama is now 2-0 against Kent State. Saban’s 2011 national championship Crimson Tide defeated his alma mater by 48-7.

Honorary captains for Alabama were former teammates for the 1989 SEC championship Crimson Tide, quarterback Gary Hollingsworth and wide receiver Craig Sanderson.

Captains for the Tide were linebacker Ryan Anderson, defensive lineman Dakota Ball, nd tight end Brandon Greene.

 


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