Stuart McNair

Freshman quarterback has led Alabama to top spot in nation

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts should be SEC MVP

Remember back during the spring and summer, the story about how Alabama Coach Nick Saban had never started a freshman at quarterback? That seems like ancient history now as it’s time to begin consideration for all-star teams.

Unless selectors decide to go off the normal grid and choose someone like Crimson Tide defensive end Jonathan Allen, who is more worthy of Southeastern Conference Most Valuable Player than Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts?

As Alabama wrapped up the SEC Western Division title last Saturday with a 51-3 win over Mississippi State, Hurts accounted for 447 yards of total offense. He passed for a career high 347 yards and rushed for 100 yards – the only quarterback in Crimson Tide history to hit the 100-or-more mark in rushing and 300-or-more in passing – and accounted for five touchdowns. He passed for four TDs, ran for one, which tied the school record.

He completed 28 of 37 passes and accumulated his 100 yards rushing on 10 carries.

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For his efforts the SEC named him co-offensive player of the week, the fourth time this season he has been selected for SEC recognition as he has led the Tide to a 10-0 record and unanimous No. 1 ranking in the nation.

In addition to his SEC honor, Hurts was also selected as the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Player of the Week.

Hurts’ performance against State was the fourth time this season that he has rushed for 100 or more yards while passing for at least 100 yards in the same contest. His 447 yards of total offense against the Bulldogs is the third-highest single-game total in school history, while his four touchdown passes finished one shy of the Alabama single-game record of five set by Gary Hollingsworth at Ole Miss on Oct. 7, 1969.

Alabama ranks second in the SEC in rushing offense and Hurts is the Tide’s second leading rusher with 126 rushes for 735 net yards (5.8 per carry and 73.5 per game) with 11 touchdowns. He has completed 167 of  260 passes (64.2 per cent) for 2,032 yards and 16 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions.

Hurts ranks sixth in the SEC in passing and third in passing efficiency. He is fourth in total offense and his 11 touchdowns scored leads the conference.

But the main reason it’s time to beat the drums for Jalen Hurts for SEC Player of the Year is because of what a quarterback is most judged on: the record of his team, and whether his presence made the difference.

From the time Hurts entered the Southern Cal game in the first game of the year – and ignited the Tide to a 52-6 win with two touchdowns rushing and two passing – he has played like an all-star.

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