Kent State at Alabama

McCarron makes pitch, leads 'Bama to easy win wire reports

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Kent State players got a warm welcome from Alabama fans after helping Tuscaloosa rebuild from the April tornado that devastated much of this college town, and they appreciated it.

Once the game started, the Crimson Tide weren't nearly as welcoming.

AJ McCarron stepped up in Alabama's quarterback race Saturday, throwing for a touchdown and 226 yards as the No. 2 Crimson Tide beat an overmatched Kent State 48-7 in its first game since the twister that destroyed thousands of homes and killed 50 people within a few miles of campus four months ago.

While the outcome was never in doubt, Kent State players said they weren't intimidated playing in a huge Southern football cathedral. Instead, they came away talking about the kindness of the fans and 'Bama players, some of whom joined them at a job site during their trip in July.

"After the game I met those guys and we chatted with them," said Jacquise Terry, who led Kent State rushers with 23 yards on 10 carries. "They told us how they appreciated us coming down to help and thanks us for everything."

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Quarterback Spencer Keith said players heard the cheers from Alabama fans as they entered the field.

"That was real classy," said Keith, who completed 20 of 47 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Vying with Phillip Sims to replace Greg McElroy, McCarron had a 24-yard scoring toss to Marquis Maze and finished 14 of 23.

McCarron was hardly perfect, throwing two interceptions. Sims also threw two interceptions -- one that set up Kent State's score -- and finished 7 of 14 for 73 yards.

Starting in place of departed Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, Richardson ran for 37 yards and three short touchdowns on 13 carries.

The raucous, 101,821-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium fell still during a moment of silence to remember tornado victims, and the band performed a tribute at halftime. Fans in the uppermost seats could see twisted trees and mangled homes along the trail of destruction in the distance.

Several Kent State players visited Tuscaloosa in July to help with tornado relief, and Crimson Tide fans applauded as the Golden Flashes jogged on to the field before kickoff. 'Bama fans had sent messages on social media sites all week urging the Bryant-Denny crowd to welcome the visitors nicely rather than booing.

"We felt a lot of love coming back," said Terry.

There's wasn't much love from Alabama's defense.

Led by Trey Depriest's 10 tackles, Alabama held the Golden Flashes to 90 yards total offense and minus-9 rushing.

The Golden Flashes' lone TD was set up by Norman Wolfe intercepting Sims and returning the ball to the Alabama 3. Keith found Justin Thompson alone in the end zone two plays later after an incompletion.

Other than that, offensive highlights were few for Kent State.

Alabama was leading 21-0 on McCarron's scoring pass to Maze and Richardson's TD runs of 1 and 9 yards before Kent State got its initial first down midway through the second quarter. The overpowered Flashes finished with only six first downs, compared to 24 for Alabama.

Richardson added another touchdown on a 1-yard run, and 246-pound Jalston Fowler ran 49 yards for a score and led Tide rushers with 69 yards on four carries. Eddie Lacy had eight rushes for 69 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.

Playing both receiver and returning punts, Maze accounted for 214 yards - 96 on returns and another 118 on eight catches.

Kent State hasn't beaten a Southeastern Conference team in 10 tries. The Flashes last played an SEC team in 2007, losing 56-20 at Kentucky.

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In his first game as Alabama's No. 1 back, Trent Richardson is held to 37 yards but scores three touchdowns.  (US Presswire)
In his first game as Alabama's No. 1 back, Trent Richardson is held to 37 yards but scores three touchdowns. (US Presswire)

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Scoring Summary
ALTrent Richardson 1 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALMarquis Maze 24 yd pass from AJ McCarron (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALTrent Richardson 9 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALJeremy Shelley 36 yd FG
KENTSTJustin Thompson 3 yd pass from Spencer Keith (Freddy Cortez kick)
ALTrent Richardson 1 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALEddie Lacy 1 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALJalston Fowler 49 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)
ALJeremy Shelley 32 yd FG
Team Stats
First Downs624
Third Down Efficiency4-202-10
Fourth Down Efficiency1-40-0
Plays-Net Yards70-9072-482
Passing Yds99299
Kick Return Yds17363
Punt Return Yds5148
Time of Poss.30:729:53
Individual Stats
KENTST: Jacquise Terry 10-23, Trayion Durham 2-7, Robert Hollomon 2-6, Eric Adeyemi 1-2, Anthony Meray 2-1, Team 1--17, Spencer Keith 5--31
AL: Jalston Fowler 4-69, Eddie Lacy 8-58, Trent Richardson 13-37, Blake Sims 6-16, Phillip Sims 3-3, AJ McCarron 1-0
KENTST: Spencer Keith 20-47-99-1
AL: AJ McCarron 14-23-226-2, Phillip Sims 7-14-73-2
KENTST: Justin Thompson 4-19, Sam Kirkland 4-16, Matthew Hurdle 3-24, Tim Erjavec 3-21, Tyshon Goode 3-15, Trayion Durham 1-7, Eric Adeyemi 1-2, Anthony Meray 1--5
AL: Marquis Maze 8-118, DeAndrew White 4-44, Eddie Lacy 3-76, Brandon Gibson 1-18, Trent Richardson 1-16, Brad Smelley 1-8, Christion Jones 1-8, Brian Vogler 1-6, Kevin Norwood 1-5
Kent State5th Mid American East2-63-9

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