McElroy Abandons Quarterback Runs

One of the big stories of Alabama's 40-14 win over Florida International Saturday night was Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy setting an Alabama record with 14 consecutive pass completions. Just as interesting was that McElroy had zero runs from scrimmage.

In college football, a sack is counted as a run. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had one official run against Florida International when he was sacked for a 15-yard loss in the second quarter. That was a far cry from Bama's season-opening game against Virginia Tech when McElroy was sacked twice, but had six other runs on scrambles.

It's not that McElroy can't run. Against Virginia Tech he was the Tide's third-leading rusher with eight carries for 28 yards (after knocking off the five yards in lost yardage on sacks). Florida International Coach Mario Cristobal noted that McElroy "has great feet, he's very mobile."

But McElroy is best at passing. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown, even though his best receiver, Julio Jones, went out early in the game with a bruised knee. (Ironically, McElroy was 13-14 passing in the first half, and the only "miss" was a pass that Jones failed to catch for a touchdown.)

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "Greg (McElroy) did a very good job of taking what they gave him. He was accurate and made good decisions. 18-for-24 is pretty good, but 14 in a outstanding."

McElroy has two passing touchdowns this year, and both have been on relatively short passes that have been run in for scores. Against FIU he completed a pass over the middle to Mike McCoy and McCoy, who had a career night with five catches for 100 yards (all in the first half), ran it in on a 35-yard play.

FIU's Cristobal said, "I think (McElroy) is a real good football player. He really is. He's an accurate passer. He has a great understanding of the game. We were impressed with him on film, and I thought their offensive line did a great job giving him time. I thought their offensive coordinator did a great job mixing up the play action, the quick game, and some other stuff to mix up our defensive line and keep us off him. Of course, his wide receivers are good football players."

This week Alabama hosts North Texas. McElroy is well known to North Texas Head Coach Todd Dodge, who was McElroy's coach at Carroll High School in Westlake, Texas. Bama will host the Mean Green at Bryant-Denny Stadium with kickoff at 11:20 a.m. CDT Saturday.

Alabama's Javier Arenas leads all active NCAA FBS players in number of punt returns (100), punt return yards (1,395), punt returns for TDs (6). Alabama's Leigh Tiffin has moved into a tie for 10th in SEC history in career field goals made with 59 (his father, Van Tiffin, Alabama placekicker 1983-86, is also at 59). Leigh Tiffin is also the NCAA FBS active leader in field goals made (59) and attempts.

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