That comes next week.
Greg McElroy completed 12 of 13 passes for 159 yards and two
touchdowns and the Crimson Tide routed fledgling Georgia State 63-7 on Thursday
night, then quickly moved on to No. 2 Auburn and the Iron Bowl.
It was the most points for the Crimson Tide (9-2) since a 66-3
win over Vanderbilt in 1979.
much what we expected coming in,” said Mark Barron, who had one of the Tide’s
four interceptions. “The game plan was pretty simple so everybody was able to
come out and just play.”
The game against a Football Championship Subdivision team
competing in its first year of college football was predictably little more
than a warmup for next week’s showdown with the Tigers. The Panthers (6-5) are
led by former Tide coach Bill Curry, who was more accustomed to being on the
other side of Bryant-Denny Stadium abuse.
“Alabama has a great football team, I think the best Alabama
team I’ve ever seen,” Curry said. “Maybe the best Nick Saban team I’ve ever
“My fervent desire and what we worked hard to prepare to do
was to not be overwhelmed by the whole scene, but we were. We were utterly
McElroy set an Alabama single-game completion percentage
mark of 92.3 with a minimum of 10 attempts. Mark Ingram ran for 86 yards and a
touchdown and Julio Jones caught seven passes for 86 yards and two scores
before the stars yielded to the backups in the second quarter.
“We wanted to develop habits in this game that would help us
in the future,” said Saban, the Tide’s coach. “I was very pleased with that. We
played as many guys as we possibly could.”
Next up is a much bigger challenge, with Alabama trying to
stop Cam Newton and end the Tigers’ national championship hopes.
“Our attention might have been on them a little bit
already,” McElroy said.
This was just a one-sided, don’t-get-anybody-hurt prelude.
The game did feature one big milestone. It was the 20th
straight win at Bryant-Denny Stadium, matching the second-longest such streak
in school history.
Freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley returned an interception for
a touchdown and Brandon Gibson took a blocked punt 22 yards for another score.
The Tide came into the game in a five-way tie for the national lead in picks,
but hadn’t had a punt return for a touchdown since Chris Rogers did it against
Tulane on Sept. 26, 2008.
Alabama had more players score (eight) than the Panthers’
first-down total of seven.
Georgia State’s only points came on Albert Wilson’s 97-yard
kick return in the second quarter, when the Panthers were already down 42-0.
Alabama had 24 first downs and dominated in total yardage, 478-165.
“They didn’t really throw the ball the second half,” said
Georgia State’s Kelton Hill, who shares time at quarterback. “They had to run
the ball, we just had to stop them. It could have been a lot worse.”
Ingram and McElroy each moved up the career charts.
McElroy, who will interview for a Rhodes scholarship on
Saturday, passed Mike Shula and Andrew Zow to move into third on Alabama’s list
with 37 touchdown passes. Ingram tied John Parker Wilson for third with 43
The Panthers started the game with Drew Little’s 55-yard
pass to Emmanuel Ogbuehi, but didn’t have another play longer than 12 yards
after that. Little finished 4 of 11 for 69 yards.
Alabama was up 42-0 after 25 minutes, with McElroy and Jones
playing pitch and catch. Jones caught touchdown passes of 8 and 10 yards.
Ingram scored on a fourth-and-goal after getting stuffed on third down from the
Plenty of Tide players got into the act. Mosley had a
41-yard return for his second score on an interception this season. Gibson’s
return also came in the 28-point second quarter.
Eddie Lacy rushed for 81 yards for Alabama, which held out
tailback Trent Richardson for the second straight game with a knee injury. He
was hardly needed and Saban said he could have played if needed.
Backup quarterback A.J. McCarron played much of the game,
going 7-of-9 passing for 57 yards and a touchdown.