After much anticipation, the Alabama Crimson Tide started off its 2010 season with a 48-3 win over San Jose State, improving to 1-0 on the season.
Head coach Nick Saban said after the game that he was overall pleased with the team’s performance.
“I was really pleased with the effort, the attitude, the intensity, the way our team was ready to play and focused on what they needed to do to try to create an identity for themselves,” he said.
The Tide got off to a good start with senior quarterback Greg McElroy going 4-for-4 in the first drive, with three of those passes to junior wide receiver Julio Jones. Then sophomore running back Trent Richardson polished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, giving Alabama a 7-0 lead.
Junior running back Mark Ingram suffered a knee injury during practice the Monday prior to the game, so Richardson moved up in to the starting position. But, Richardson proved his worth Saturday, gaining 66 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving.
When San Jose State got the ball back, it was time to test the Tide’s defense. On the second play of the drive, San Jose rushed for 32 yards to cross into Alabama’s territory down to the 47-yard line. But then an Alabama penalty awarded them 15 more yards, and the defense had little field left to defend.
However, the defense held and kept the Spartans to a field goal, and Alabama still led 7-3.
On the next drive, the Tide scored another touchdown with a 48-yard pass to junior Marquis Maze to take a 14-3 lead.
In the middle of the second quarter, backup quarterback AJ McCarron came into the game for McElroy. In front of the 101,821 fans in attendance, McCarron threw a 29-yard pass to Jones.
“Getting in early in the season like this, the first game of the year, it helped me a lot,” McCarron said. “I get to not just sit back and watch the game and learn from that way, but now I got my chance to watch the game develop as I play.”
With McCarron’s first 2010 touchdown, Alabama went up 28-3. Saban said McCarron was going to receive playing time in the second quarter Saturday regardless of what the score was.
San Jose State on its next possession managed to march through Alabama’s defense, breaking through with a 49-yard pass from quarterback Jordan La Secla to Noel Griqsby down to Alabama’s 30.
Though they made it to the 24-yard line, the Spartans missed the 41-yard field goal attempt by hitting the right upright.
With 1:12 left on the clock, Alabama made its way back down the field to set up a 41-yard field goal. Going into halftime, the Tide was up 31-3.
In the third quarter, Alabama tacked on 10 more points with backup running back Eddie Lacy’s first touchdown, a 37-yard break into the end zone, and then a 24-yard field goal from Cade Foster.
Lacy got his second touchdown in the fourth quarter, marching into the north end zone from 9 yards out, giving the Tide a 48-3 lead.
Defensive leaders for the Tide included linebacker C.J. Mosley with seven tackles and Robert Lester, with the only interception and sack of the game.
“My key was to read the receiver, and as soon as I peeked in to see the quarterback throwing the ball, I broke in and made the play,” he said.
Offensively, Lacy led the running backs with 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiving, Jones had 93 yards on six receptions.
Next up for Alabama, Penn State comes to Tuscaloosa for an intense matchup with the legendary coach Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.