Wide receiver ArDarius Stewart ran the last 40 yards of his race to the end zone alone after catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage near Alabama’s 30-yard line.
He dipped his head as if he was a sprinter crossing the finish line- the crowd roared.
“Yeah that was just you know a joke to my coaches,” Stewart said. “You know we got to headbutt the finish line in the fourth quarter so I was just showing them my finish.”
After running so many of those sweep plays, Stewart said it felt great to finally get a good look and score a touchdown.
Stewart’s 67-yard catch for the score was just one of eight receptions that allowed the receiver to finish with a career-high 156 yards in Alabama’s 51-3 victory over Mississippi State(4-6, 2-4 SEC).
He wasn’t the only player on the offense to finish with a career-day. Quarterback Jalen Hurts broke almost all of his previous personal passing records when he finished 28-of-37 for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He recorded his previous highs against Western Kentucky when he completed 23-of-36 for 287 yards, and he’s thrown two touchdowns multiple times.
“Jalen had a really good day today,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “It’s one of the things that we’ve been wanting to do in trying to develop some confidence in the passing game, and obviously, he was able to do that very well today.”
It was clear from the first drive, the coaches wanted Hurts to air the ball out a little more, but he still struggled throwing the ball more than 10 yards downfield early on Saturday. He finished the first half 3-of-8 for 45 passing yards (not counting yards the receivers recorded after the catch) and one interception.
After the pick, Stewart told the freshman he should have thrown it deeper. Stewart said Hurts told him he didn’t cut his route off early enough.
The pair figured it out in the second half when Stewart hauled in not one, but two touchdown passes from Hurts for 15 and 20 yards respectively. Perhaps more important than the touchdowns was Hurts’ success throwing downfield.
He was observed completing 3-of-4 passes of at least 10 yards downfield, including the pair of touchdowns thrown to Stewart, for a total of 47 yards without the help of his receivers.
“He can keep his composure even when something bad happens like the interception. You’ll think he’s down and out but he knows how to turn the page,” Stewart said. “…He’s one of the guys that we need and he’s also one of the leaders.”
As usual the freshman quarterback also moved the chains with his legs. He finished the game with a team-high 11 carries for a game-high 100 rushing yards (the fourth time in his 10 game career that he has crossed the century mark on the ground).
His 735 rushing yards for the season have him only 56 yards short of the single season rushing record for an Alabama quarterback set by Steadman Shealy in 1979. Turnovers, touchdowns, records none of it seems to affect Hurts.
“[After the game he’s] just same old Jalen, keeps a straight face and just go forward from there,” Stewart said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports