Early in the game, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts had what felt like hours to throw the ball, but late in the second quarter of No. 1 Alabama’s 48-43 rout of No. 17 Ole Miss, that time ran out.
Ole Miss defender Marquis Haynes rushed unimpeded and knocked the true freshman to the ground. When Hurts stood up, he dropped his head as he watch Rebel John Youngblood return his fumble to give Ole Miss a 21-point lead.
“That fumble wasn’t his fault,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.”… The right tackle [Jonah Williams] was supposed to block No. 30 [A.J. Moore] and he slid the wrong direction.”
It didn’t take Hurts long to make up for his mistake. Shaking off a turnover wasn’t new territory for Hurts, and he led the Crimson Tide to the end zone before 38 seconds ticked off the game clock.
“He’s a great player, a great talent,” Alabama running back Damien Harris said. “He’s really turned into a great leader. He does a great job trying to settle down the offense and keep us cool, calm and collected.”
Hurts finished 19-of-31 for 158 passing yards, but it was the freshman’s legs that kept the Alabama offense moving in the right direction more often than his arm.
Harris also kept the offense moving in what was easily the sophomore’s best game, but Hurts finished as the Crimson Tide’s leading rusher with 146 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Harris finished as a close second with a touchdown and 144 rushing yards on 16 carries, but most his damage was done on a 67-yard rush that ended with Harris ruled down just shy of the end zone.
“We ran the same play the play before, and then coach saw something, I guess to where he thought we could run it again,” Harris said. “The whole time I was just thinking about making a play because guys out there we all try to give our all for this team.”
Freshman Joshua Jacobs overtook fellow back Bo Scarbrough as the Crimson Tide’s second running back to enter the game, and Jacobs made the most of his opportunities. He carried the ball three times for 33 yards.
Scarbrough did manage to find the end zone from one yard out with seconds left in the third quarter to give Alabama a 34-27 lead. It was Alabama’s first offensive touchdown since wide receiver Calvin Ridley carried it in the end zone near the end of the first half.
The defense and special teams unit took some of the pressure off of the Crimson Tide’s offense when both groups combined to score 21 points. It was that offense, powered primarily by Harris (four carries, 26 yards for two first downs), however, that allowed the Crimson Tide to run out the clock and escape Oxford, Mississippi, with its first win over the Rebels since 2013.
“The offense did a great job of taking the air out of it at the end,” Saban said. “… I thought we did a great job on offense controlling the ball.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports