Mississippi State at Alabama

Hurts leads No. 1 Alabama's 51-3 rout of Mississippi State

By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
  •  

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama coach Nick Saban held a film session with Jalen Hurts this week to point out a few things to his young quarterback.

Hurts was clearly paying attention.

The freshman passed for career highs of 347 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards in less than three quarters in No. 1 Alabama's 51-3 rout of Mississippi State on Saturday. It put on display the potential of a passing game that had lately seemed the closest thing to a weakness for the Crimson Tide.

The freshman quarterback's prolific performance also wiped out any concerns that the Tide (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) would have a letdown after a bruising win at No. 19 LSU. Instead, Hurts turned in his best game and the defense denied Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4) the end zone on nine trips across midfield.

''It's one of the things we've been wanting to do is try to develop some confidence in the passing game, and obviously he was able to do that very well today,'' Saban said. ''He got the ball to some of our playmakers down the field and they had opportunities to make big plays.''

Hurts is the first Alabama player to have 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game, and he was flirting with both those milestones by halftime.

The Bulldogs had been riding high after an upset of No. 10 Texas A&M, but didn't muster a threat in this one.

Hurts completed 28 of 37 passes and rushed for a fifth touchdown before being replaced by Cooper Bateman late in the third quarter. The big performance was marred by an interception and fumble, but the Tide's dominating defense made sure the miscues didn't matter too much.

''In practice, he'll sling it,'' Alabama guard Ross Piersbacher said. ''It's fun to see him do that in a game. I think that's big for his confidence.''

ArDarius Stewart was the biggest beneficiary of the passing revival, scoring three touchdowns. Stewart gained 156 yards on eight catches, including a 67-yard sprint on a jet sweep.

Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald couldn't solve Alabama's defense after two huge games. He completed 10 of 33 passes for 145 with an interception. Fitzgerald was also held to 15 rushing yards after topping 900 total yards combined against Texas A&M and Samford.

''We had five dropped passes in the first half,'' Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said. ''That's not good when you're playing a great defense. It's not good when you're playing a bad defense, but when you're playing a great defense you cannot do those things.''

Alabama outgained the Bulldogs 615-274 in total yards and has won nine straight meetings.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs couldn't finish off drives, including the two started in Alabama territory, or offer a strong follow-up to last week's upset. Fitzgerald and star receiver Fred Ross (three catches, 23 yards) were held in check.

Alabama: Hurts and the Tide got the passing game going against the league's worst pass defense. Hurts hadn't reached 200 yards passing in the previous three games, but might have emerged from this one with a shot at some Heisman Trophy votes. The defense went seven straight quarters without allowing a point.

TURNING 40

Saban joined Ohio State's Woody Hayes and Florida State's Bobby Bowden in a tie for the most wins with a top-ranked team by any coach. He's 40-5, matching Bowden. Hayes went 40-4-1 with No. 1 teams.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama should hold firm as the clear leader in the playoff and AP rankings .

RUNNING HURTS

Hurts joined Steadman Shealy in 1979 as the only Alabama quarterbacks to rush for 700-plus yards in a season. He has 735 yards, 56 shy of Shealy's record.

UP NEXT

Mississippi St.: hosts Arkansas needing to win its final two games to become bowl eligible.

Alabama: hosts FCS team Chattanooga in an Iron Bowl tuneup.

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More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Mississippi State  (4-6)00303
Alabama #1  (10-0) «102014751
Players of the Game
Bulldogs

D. Gray
Rec 3
Yds 76
Avg 25.3
TD 0
Crimson Tide

J. Hurts
Att 37
Comp 28
Yds 347
TD 4
Scoring Summary
BAMAAdam Griffith 30 yard field goal
BAMACalvin Ridley 4 yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith Extra Point)
BAMAArDarius Stewart 67 yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith Extra Point)
BAMAJalen Hurts 4 yard TD run (Adam Griffith Extra Point)
BAMAAdam Griffith 28 yard field goal
BAMAAdam Griffith 39 yard field goal
MISSSTWestin Graves 47 yard field goal
BAMAArDarius Stewart 15 yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith Extra Point)
BAMAArDarius Stewart 20 yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts (Adam Griffith Extra Point)
BAMATrevon Diggs 5 yard TD pass from Cooper Bateman (Andy Pappanastos Extra Point)
 
Team Stats
 MISSSTBAMA
First Downs1726
Third Down Efficiency7-207-13
Fourth Down Efficiency0-40-1
Plays-Net Yards78-27472-615
Rushes-Yds35-9431-218
Passing Yds180397
Kick Return Yds1040
Punt Return Yds101
Passes16-43-131-41-1
Punts7-2103-154
Fumbles-Lost1-01-1
Penalties-Yds4-313-35
Time of Poss.32:3827:22
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
MISSST: Aeris Williams 11-56, Nick Fitzgerald 11-15, Damian Williams 4-11, Ashton Shumpert 4-9, Malik Dear 2-3, Dontavian Lee 2-2, Keith Mixon 1--2
BAMA: Jalen Hurts 11-100, Joshua Jacobs 9-89, Ronnie Clark 4-14, Damien Harris 3-9, Derrick Gore 4-6
PASSING
MISSST: Nick Fitzgerald 10-33-145-1, Damian Williams 6-10-35-0
BAMA: Jalen Hurts 28-37-347-1, Cooper Bateman 3-4-50-0
RECEIVING
MISSST: Donald Gray 3-76, Fred Ross 3-23, Jamal Couch 2-21, Farrod Green 2-18, Gabe Myles 2-4, Malik Dear 1-22, Jordan Thomas 1-6, Dontavian Lee 1-5, Justin Johnson 1-5
BAMA: ArDarius Stewart 8-156, O.J. Howard 6-77, Calvin Ridley 4-26, Cam Sims 3-45, Joshua Jacobs 3-34, Miller Forristall 3-19, Derek Kief 1-14, Damien Harris 1-11, Gehrig Dieter 1-10, Trevon Diggs 1-5
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Mississippi State5th SEC West3-56-7
Alabama1st SEC West8-014-1

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