Notes From Bama Win Over UNT
Here are notes from Alabama's victory over North Texas at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday.
Greg McElroy tied the Alabama record for best completion percentage in a single game with a minimum of 10 completions. McElroy tied the mark of Walter Lewis (1983 vs. Mississippi) and Danny Woodson (1991 vs. Vanderbilt) by completing 13-of-15 passes for an 86.7 percentage.
Quarterback Greg McElroy completed 10-of-11 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in the opening quarter. In the past two games, McElroy has completed 20-of-22 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. Last week against Florida International, McElroy completed 10-of-11 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown in the first quarter. In his last two games, McElroy has completed 25-of-28 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns during the first half. He is 12-of-14 for 157 yards and two touchdowns today against North Texas. Last week against Florida International, McElroy was 13-of-14 for 202 yards and one touchdown in the first half.
Alabama tailback Roy Upchurch, who had suffered an ankle sprain after starting last week against Florida International, was not dressed for the North Texas game. All-America wide receiver Julio Jones, who suffered a knee bruise against Florida International, was dressed out Saturday, but did not play.
Star Jackson completed the first pass of his Crimson Tide career, connecting with Darius Hanks for a eight-yard gain late in the second quarter. Jackson had played the previous week against Florida International, but did not attempt a pass in that game.
Leigh Tiffin's 35-yard field goal on the final play of the first half was the 60th of his career. It moved him out of a tie with his father, Van Tiffin, for third place on the career field goal list. Later Leigh Tiffin got his 61st career field goal. PhillipDoyle (78 in his 1987-90) ranks first and Michael Proctor (65 in 1992-95) second.
Alabama's defense stymied North Texas all afternoon, holding the Mean Green to 187 total yards of offense. Excluding the fumble UNT recovered on Alabama's opening drive, it did not cross midfield again until 3:19 left in the third quarter. Over the past 17 games Alabama has held 15 teams under 100 yards rushing. The Tide has surrendered just 1,164 yards on the ground in the last 17 games, an average of 68.5 yards per game. Also, no individual running back has cracked the 100-yard mark since Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 on Oct. 13, 2007, a span of 22 games. The Alabama defense has also held opponents under 200 yards of total offense in eight of the last 17 games, including a 155-yard effort by Virginia Tech in the season opener and a 187-yard performance today. The sub-200-yard games in that span: Clemson (188); Western Kentucky (158); Tennessee (173); Arkansas State (158); Mississippi State (167); Auburn (170); Virginia Tech (155); North Texas (187).
Alabama took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, its biggest first-quarter lead of the season and the first time the Tide defense has kept an opponent out of the end zone in the opening quarter this season. The Tide has now scored on eight of its 10 first quarter possessions this season with five field goals and three touchdowns. Alabama has run 69 first quarter plays for 449 yards in 2009.
It was the first time this year North Texas had been scored on in the first quarter.
Alabama's fumble on its first play from scrimmage marked the first time this season the Crimson Tide has failed to score on its opening drive and just the 13th time it has occured during Saban's tenure at UA. The Tide returned to form on its second drive with quarterback Greg McElroy going 7-of-8 for 61 yards in leading a 13-play, 95-yard drive capped by a 2-yard scramble from McElroy. The drive was Alabama's longest scoring drive of the season (previous 80-yards vs. FIU).
In its last two games, Alabama has scored each time it has entered the red zone, improving to a perfect 12-of-12 at home. The Tide has scored 18-of-20 times it has entered an opponents' red zone this season and 15-straight times, excluding a series of plays to run out the clock against Virginia Tech.
Alabama is 20-1 under Saban when leading at halftime, including a 14-game winning streak. The only loss came against LSU during the 2007 season when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama racked up 260 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns in the victory. Terry Grant had two of the touchdown runs and 79 total yards while Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson has 91 and 87 yards, respectively, and a touchdown each. Demetrius Goode, who carried just once, was the only UA ballcarrier not to reach the endzone.
Alabama was forced to punt only once on the afternoon and not until there was 3:19 left in the third quarter. North Texas punted nine times in the loss.
Return man Javier Arenas posted 151 total return yards in the win, including a 61-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. That return was just a yard shy of his career-best kickoff return at Tennessee in 2007. His 90 punt-return yards came on four returns with a long of 36.
Sixty-five Alabama players saw action against North Texas as the Tide got valuable playing time for many of its reserves. Receivers Michael Bowman and Brandon Gibson each hauled in their first catches at Alabama's 22 completions were spread out among 11 different targets. Reserve quarterback Star Jackson made nine of those completions on 13 attempts for 87 yards.
Alabama captains were junior linebacker Rolando McClain, senior offensive guard Mike Johnson, and senior linebacker Cory Reamer.
Honorary captains for Alabama were the permanent captains of the Crimson Tide's 1989 Southeastern Conference championship team, Willie Wyatt and Marco Battle. Members of that team were guests of Alabama football for the game.
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