TUSCALOOSA Ala.– The first game of Southeastern Conference play leaned a little more than Alabama’s way. The 2nd-ranked Crimson Tide (4-0) crushed the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2) 55-3 on Saturday night.
Bryce Young passed for 385 yards and four touchdowns and the team outgained Vanderbilt by a whopping 499 yards.
It seemed to happen quickly, with Alabama finding the end zone less than halfway through the first quarter. Young hit Ja’Corey Brooks for a 21-yard score, his first of two on the night. Vanderbilt mounted a sustained drive and almost responded in kind but had to settle for a field goal off the leg of former Crimson Tide player Joseph Bulovas.
The second drive was all Brooks. Young connected with him four straight times for 68 yards and a score.
Those points were the first ones Alabama gave up to Vanderbilt since 2007. There would not be any more.
The Crimson Tide scored 14 in the first quarter, 17 in the second, 10 in the third, and 14 in the fourth. In addition to Young’s four touchdown passes, the rushing attack combined for another three. Jase McClellan had one and Jamarion Miller had two.
Brooks led the game in receiving with 117 yards to go with the two scores. McClellan put up a team-leading 78 rushing yards. Young completed 25 of 36 attempts.
The Alabama defense had five sacks, led by Will Anderson’s two and a half. This went along with 56 total tackles and eight tackles for loss.
On special teams, Will Reichard, who relieved Bulovas of his duties in crimson, converted on both his field goal tries, from 40 yards and 21 yards.
Head coach Nick Saban was happy with his team’s performance in the conference opener.
“I think [we’re] getting closer to playing the way we’d like to play,” Saban said. “I think the team played really well. I think the team sort of bought in to everybody trying to play to a standard. I think this was probably the closest we’ve come to that so far this year. The key to the drill is can we continue to build on it.”
Young said playing clean football was important.
“We have the keys to our week, play turnover free, take care of the ball as a unit. And me specifically, obviously, handle the ball every play, [that’s] something I pride myself in.”
Alabama will travel next, facing its first road conference opponent in Arkansas. Kickoff in Fayetteville will be at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.