Hurts, No. 1 Alabama run roughshod over Ole Miss
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 1 Alabama seemingly let out all the frustration it had built up against Ole Miss over the past three years on Saturday night.
Alabama annihilated Ole Miss 66-3 in front of a capacity crowd inside Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, scoring its most points in a game since 1979.
“That was obviously a good win for us,” Alabama coach Nick Saban. “We have not really defeated ... that team, for a long time and haven’t done it at home. Our players came out and really took care of business in the game, and I think there are a lot of things we can learn from this game.”
Ole Miss, which typically features a high-powered offense, managed just three points as the Crimson Tide pushed the Rebels up and down the field.
“Credit to Alabama -- they’re a really good football team, No. 1 in the country for a reason,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. “They beat us soundly in all three phases: offense, defense, kicking game. I thought the biggest difference for us in the first half was we had a turnover for a touchdown. They were able to stay on the field, and we weren‘t. A lot of credit to those guys though.”
Jalen Hurts threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another while adding 101 yards on the ground for Alabama, which has scored at least 59 points on an SEC opponent in back-to-back games. Alabama hadn’t scored 50-plus in back-to-back SEC games since 1945.
The Crimson Tide dominated all phases of the contest in the first 30 minutes to take a 35-3 lead into the break. The offense cruised up and down the field and the stifling defense didn’t allow Ole Miss to have any breathing room, coming up with five sacks.
Bo Scarbrough rumbled in for a 6-yard touchdown to give Alabama an early 7-0 lead with 10:04 left in the first quarter. It was Scarbrough’s fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
On Ole Miss’s ensuing possession, Alabama cornerback Levi Wallace intercepted Shea Patterson’s pass and returned the ball 35 yards for the touchdown to make it 14-0. It gave the Crimson Tide their first non-offensive touchdown of the season. Wallace picked off two passes in the game.
“It was a great feeling. We’ve been wanting to do that all week,” Wallace said of the pick-six. “All the DBs talk about it, saying how no one on the team has gotten a pick-six yet. I‘m just glad that I was in the position to get the interception, and then I had great blockers in front of me. It’s the whole team effort that helped me get into the end zone.”
Later in the first quarter, Hurts found tight end Hale Hentges for an easy 3-yard touchdown. The score was set up by a 60-yard completion from Hurts to receiver Cam Sims on a crossing route.
Ole Miss kicker Gary Wunderlich connected on a 26-yard field goal to cut it to 21-3 late in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Hurts found a streaking Josh Jacobs for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 28-3. It was the first score of the season for Jacobs, who had battled a hamstring injury to start the year.
Later in the second quarter, Hurts added a score on the ground, scampering in for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 35-3.
Alabama punter JK Scott added a 48-yard field goal on the Tide’s opening possession of the second half to make it 38-3.
Alabama continued to pour it on as the third quarter continued. Freshman running back Najee Harris powered his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 45-3 midway through the third.
A few minutes later, backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa scored on a 2-yard keeper to make it 52-3.
Late in the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa hit freshman Henry Ruggs for an 8-yard touchdown to make it 59-3.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Alabama fifth-string running back Ronnie Clark scampered in for his first career touchdown to make it 66-3.
“They’re a very good team in all phases,” Luke said. “The most important thing for us moving forward is to watch this tape and flush it and move on to the next one. We’ve still got eight games to go and eight chances to win, and I think that’s the most important thing.”
NOTES: Alabama LB Jamey Mosley dressed, but did not play. Mosley was ill this week. ... Alabama is on the road next week for a date at Texas A&M. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CT on ESPN. ... Ole Miss plays at Auburn on Oct. 7. Kickoff is set for 8:10 p.m. CT on ESPN. ... Alabama CB Trevon Diggs left the game in the first half and did not return. Diggs was spotted on the sideline on crutches with a boot on his right foot. ... Alabama DL Da‘Shawn Hand left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Coach Nick Saban said after the game he thought Hand had suffered an MCL sprain and would be further evaluated Sunday.