It only took Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts two plays to find the end zone. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, he had already stepped out 34 yards away.
That 20-yard pickup by Hurts was one of the few plays that went right for the Crimson Tide in the first half. The University of Chattanooga Tennessee sacked Hurts for the first of three times on the next play.
“Obviously we weren’t ready to play and we need to play better,” offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher said. “For how we were playing yeah From early on I thought we were going to play the whole game.”
That’s basically what happened as the SEC’s No. 1 offense- with regards to total yards and scoring coming into this week- broke down against the mighty FCS Mocs. Alabama’s offense headed into the locker room with only 145 total yards, six first downs and 14 points.
“I don’t know that I should tell you that [what I said to the team during halftime],” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t know that I can tell you that, but I can tell you part of it. I said ‘Do you believe me now’ Because I’ve been telling them all week.”
Alabama’s offense eventually stumbled its way to a 31-3 victory on Saturday, but Saban’s speech didn’t seem to have the impact he would have liked. The offense managed to stay on the field for six plays that moved the ball 19 yards.
Despite the missteps there were bright spots. Quarterback Jalen Hurts connected with wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the end zone on a 47-yard bomb that he hurled on the second play in the second quarter.
Hurts finished the day 15-of-21 for 136 passing yards and three touchdowns.
“They [UTC] do a great job of reading the quarterback’s’ eyes,” Saban said. “… A couple of times we had throws that we didn’t throw. We were afraid to pull the trigger, but there’s lessons to be learned and we can get better from it.”
As usual Hurts also managed to move the chains with his feet. His 68 rushing yards (on 16 attempts) was enough to get Hurts in the record books.
He now holds the single-season record for rushing by an Alabama quarterback. The previous record was held by Steadman Shealy who rushed for 791 yards in 1979.
Hurts performance in the passing game likely suffered due to the absence of his favorite target, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, who missed the game due to a suspension handed down by the coaching staff. Stewart’s return will help, but the offense is running out of time to learn how to pass the ball down the field.
The Crimson Tide should play ranked opponents for the rest of the season beginning with the Auburn Tigers next week.
With Stewart out, Gehrig Dieter managed to find the end zone for the first time since Alabama took on USC in week one. He finished with three receptions for a total of one yard and two touchdowns.
“I feel like everyone in the country kind of watches that game growing up,” Dieter said. “I always watched it growing up, and it’s exciting that I have the chance to play in it. It’s pretty exciting, as a team, what we’ve been doing this year, so we will come out next game and have an intensity about us.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports