Stuart McNair

Jalen Hurts had quite a day in leading Alabama to win over Mississippi State

Here’s a hint as to how Alabama is dominating college football

Perhaps you didn’t notice a defensive situation for Alabama in its 51-3 win over Mississippi State Saturday. It wasn’t an unusual alignment, 2-5-4 or something. It wasn’t because of a sensational result.

It was notable because it included these seven Crimson Tide players: Jonathan Allen, DaRon Payne, Da’Shawn Hand, Reuben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, Tony Brown, and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

And that was remarkable for what reason? Because Bama had a defense with seven former five-star prospects on the field together.

Recruiting like hat may be why Alabama is unanimous No. 1 in the nation with a 10-0 record as the Crimson Tide goes for back-to-back national championships.

Alabama improved to 7-0 with the win, which along with Auburn’s 13-7 loss to Georgia means the Tide has clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship and will be playing for the SEC title in Atlanta on Dec. 3 in Atlanta.

Here are other notes from Alabama’s win over the Bulldogs.

It was the Jalen Hurts show (along with the defense, of course) as Alabama defeated Mississippi State in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. As was pointed out by Coach Nick Saban following the game, Hurts became the first quarterback in storied Crimson Tide history to pass for 300 or more yards and rush for 100 or more yards in the same game.

Hurts had 11 runs for 100 yards (including a touchdown) and completed 28 of 37 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns with an interception.

His completions, TD passes, passing yards, and total offense were all career highs for Hurts.

Hurts also eclipsed records set by former Tide quarterback Jay Barker in games against Mississippi State. In 1994 Barker completed 26 passes for 325 yards against the Bulldogs.

He also had his fourth 100-yard rushing game, which is most by any Alabama quarterback. Saturday was the third time in the last four games he has reached the century mark by ground. He had a season-high 146 yards at Ole Miss on Sept. 17, 132 yards at Tennessee on Oct. 15, and 114 at LSU on Nov. 5.

Hurts now has 735 yards rushing this season, just the second Bama quarterback to rush for 700 or more yards in a season. He is 56 yards shy of the Tide single-season record of 791, set by Steadman Shealy in 1979.

With four touchdown passes (second best in Bama history to Gary Hollingsworth’s five against Ole Miss in 1989) and a scoring run, Hurts moved into fifth place on the Alabama single-season touchdown responsibility list with 27. Hurts has thrown 16 touchdown passes and rushed for 11 scores this season. Blake Sims set the Bama record in 2014 with 35 (28 passing, 7 rushing). AJ McCarron is second with 31 in 2012 and McCarron and Derrick Henry are tied for third at 28, McCarron in 2013 and Henry in 2015.

 Hurts’ 447 yards in total offense against Mississippi State is the third-highest single-game total in school history, trailing only Blake Sims (484 vs. Florida on Sept. 20, 2014) and Scott Hunter (457 vs. Auburn on Nov. 29, 1969).

It is 83 miles between Tuscaloosa and Starkville, the shortest distance between any two SEC campuses. But the difference between Bama and Bulldogs football is substantially greatest. Alabama now has a 90-18-3 record against Mississippi State, and the Crimson Tide has won eight in a row, five consecutive in Tuscaloosa.

The 51-3 score ranks only fourth in Alabama margin of victory over the Bulldogs, but one can be forgiven for not remembering the other three. In 1922 it was 59-0, and the Tide took back-to-back wins by identical 53-0 scores in 1931 and 1932.

After failing to score in the first half for the first time in 126 games the previous week, the Tide was able to get on the board with 30 points in the first half against Mississippi State. That 30-0 lead, of course, led to victory and the Tide improving to 102-6 (94.4 per cent) under Coach Nick Saban when leading at the half. Alabama has held the lead in 19 of its last 24 games dating back to the start of the 2015 season, including eight of 10 games this season.

Alabama’s school record consecutive games scoring streak was extended to 208 games.

Alabama owns the longest winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, having won 22 consecutive games dating back to last season (a loss on Sept. 19, 2015, vs. Ole Miss). The 22-game streak is the third-longest in school history (28 games twice: 1991-93 & 1978-80) and is the longest under the direction of Saban (previous long: 19 games in 2009-10). During this stretch, the Crimson Tide has won 10 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, eight straight road matchups and four consecutive neutral-site contests while going 15-0 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Alabama has outscored its opponents by 550 points (829-279; 37.7-12.7), an average of 25 points per game, during the streak.

There is no team in the nation that has not lost at least two games during the Alabama winning streak.

(Should we repeat that?)

There is no team in the nation that has not lost at least two games during the Alabama winning streak.

Alabama has reached the 10-win milestone for the ninth consecutive season. The nine straight years with at least 10 wins extends the school record. The previous total for most consecutive 10-win seasons was five, set by coach Paul Bryant’s teams from 1971-75. In 121 seasons, the Tide has won 10 or more games 36 times, equaling Oklahoma for the most 10-win seasons in college football history. Alabama has produced 11 10-win seasons since 2002 (2002, 2005, 2008-2016). Bryant had a school-record 13 10-win seasons at Alabama, while Saban is second with nine.

Alabama has played 69 games as the nation’s top-ranked team since the inception of the Associated Press poll in 1936. In those games the Crimson Tide has a 59-10 (.855) record. Those numbers are even more impressive in the 10 seasons under the direction of Saban (2007-present). Since the ninth game of the 2008 season (111 games), Alabama has played 45 games while being ranked No. 1, posting a 40-5 (.889) record.

Holding Mississippi State to 3 points is the 64th time Bama has held an opponent to 10 or fewer points under Saban, including the seventh time this season.

Alabama limited Mississippi State to 94 yards on the ground, and has surrendered just 688 yards rushing through 10 games. Alabama led the nation in rushing defense coming into the contest.

Since the start of the 2009 season, no defense has allowed fewer touchdowns than the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s defense has surrendered only 154 touchdowns over the last 104 games.

Tim Williams’ first quarter sack Saturday was his team-leading eighth of the season and 20th for his career, moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the UA all-time list. Antwan Odom (2000, 2002-03) is seventh with 20 1/2.

Alabama’s offensive performance vs. Mississippi State ranks among the best single-game outings in school history. The Tide’s 397 passing yards and 31 completions both rank as the fifth-best in UA history. The five touchdown passes ties for the second-most all-time behind the seven thrown by the Tide vs. Southern Miss in 1950. The 615 yards in total offense ties for 11th in Alabama history.

With 218 yards rushing, Alabama is now 87-4 (.956) since the start of the 2008 season when rushing for at least 140 yards. The only losses were at Auburn in 2013, at Ole Miss and vs. Ohio State in 2014, and against Ole Miss in 2015. The Crimson Tide

ArDarius Stewart’s three touchdown receptions equals the Alabama single-game record, which has been reached six times previously, most recently by Amari Cooper vs. Auburn on Nov. 29, 2014.

Stewart’s 156 receiving yards on eight catches is a new career high in yardage for the wide receiver. Stewart’s previous high was 120 at Arkansas on Oct. 8.

Not punting average, but average number of punts that go for 50 or more yards. That’s the statistic Bama punter JK Scott leads in major college play this year. Scott had punts of 54 and 62 yards among his three kicks for a total of 154 yards. For the year, that gives Scott 20 punts of 50 or more yards among his 36 kicks, a 55.6 per cent effort.

Honorary captains Saturday were former Tide quarterback Jeff Rutledge and former Bama halfback Tony Nathan.

Alabama captains were linebacker Reuben Foster, defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson, and tight end O.J. Howard.


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