Fourteen points each in the first, second and third quarters was more than enough to bury Southern Miss, as the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Golden Eagles 49-7. It’s UA’s 86th consecutive win over an unranked team, the longest streak in FBS history.
Tweet length review of the game
Alabama hung 338 passing yards on just 25 attempts (13.52 yards per attempt) against the passing defense that is now ranked 124th in the nation by passing yards per attempt allowed. This went exactly the way it was supposed to go.
Did you know?
– By completing his final seven passes against South Carolina and his first six against Southern Miss, Tua Tagovailoa registered the third-longest completion streak in school history with 13. Greg McElroy occupies first and second place, with a streak of 16 in November of 2010 and a streak of 14 against FIU in 2009.
– Henry Ruggs III set a new career high for receiving yards in a game by the end of the first quarter, with 131 of his 148 yards coming in the first 15 minutes. For context, 19 teams in the nation have yet to throw for 131 yards in the first quarter over the entire season — and some of those teams are actually good, including Appalachian State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
– Including the final five games of last season, Alabama has now gone nine games without four or more sacks in a game. It’s UA’s longest such streak since the 2014 season.
– On his current pace, Tagovailoa would be two completions short of the UA single-season record for completions….without any postseason games. His current pace of 21.75 completions per game would have him end the regular season at 261, two shy of the 263 by Jake Coker from 2015. His current pace would put him at 555 career completions at the end of the regular season, which is third in school history; it would take an excellent postseason to pass No. 2 (John Parker Wilson, 665) or No. 1 (AJ McCarron, 686).
– In holding Southern Miss to 2 for 11 on 3rd down, UA jumped about 20 spots in the national 3rd-down defense rankings. Alabama was previously allowing conversions 33.3 percent of the time, which would rank 45th in the nation this week; with the Southern Miss game included, the percentage drops to 30.36, which is tied with Indiana for 27th.
– And now for a bad note on the defense: it still allows more explosive plays than it has in the past. UA ranks tied for 45th nationally in plays of 10+ yards allowed and tied for 37th in plays of 20+ yards allowed. The 2016 and 2017 defenses were both top 30 in both of those categories, more often than not top 10. It’s both a small sample size and indicative of modern college football, so this isn’t a genuine critique (yet). It will be notable to monitor.
What about this game will be remembered in January?
Probably those two huge plays from Ruggs, right? That guy is so fast, he can start in a backpedal and still pull away in a foot race with a Division I athlete.
Quoting Nick Saban
– On the defense: “I think we played better today. I think we were simpler in terms of the plan and the adjustments we wanted to make in the game, which I think helped the young players, especially. But I thought the players did a pretty good job of adjusting to a lot of stuff and some stuff that we did not practice.
Quoting the Crimson Tide
– Center Chris Owens on the offensive line: “The more we play, the game slows down for everybody. The more we play together, it slows down not just for one but collectively, as a unit.”
– Tagovailoa: “I think I shouldn’t have taken the sack while we were going two-minute drive, just throw the ball away. I think those parts within the game is what made the (offensive) line look back on my part. I think they did a tremendous job with the RPO, with the run game and in pass blocking.”
Quoting the opponent
– Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson on Jerry Jeudy and Ruggs: “I’ve been coaching a long time, and this is probably the first time I’ve ever said this. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an offense with two Heisman Trophy candidates in it, so you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. They’re good, they’re really good. They’re going to be one of the best, if not the best, offense in college football with that type of exploding.”
– Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham: “They play a lot of man coming out there and really throughout the whole game and it brought a little pressure here and there. And obviously that’s a really talented d-line up front, so it made me speed up my progression.”
– Abraham on playing in two SEC stadiums, first Davis Wade Stadium (Mississippi State) and now Bryant-Denny Stadium: “It’s awesome, it’s cool, it’s a good experience, good opportunity to put your product out there. Offensively, I fought today and we had a few plays that could have gone our way and put up a few more points. The non-conference schedule is over now, it is a new season.”
One man’s very arbitrary top four players of the game, in no particular order
– Ruggs: Four catches, 148 yards, two touchdowns. He is very, very fast.
– Tagovailoa: 17 for 21, 293 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and three carries for eight yards. He catapulted over three people on UA’s career passing yards list, and will soon do the same to a few more.
– Southern Miss defensive back DQ Thomas: 10 tackles, eight solo, three tackles for a loss and an interception.
– Najee Harris: 14 carries for 110 yards, 7.9 yards per carry. On a day where Alabama made it known it would establish the run, Harris was both a big reason for it and a big benefactor of it.
Against the spread
That last touchdown by Jerome Ford put UA over the 38-point spread, but wasn’t enough to get above the over/under line of 64 — one that went up significantly throughout the week.
It’s six consecutive conference games for Alabama now, starting with a home game against Ole Miss, 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or email@example.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson