TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa both threw 3 touchdown passes as top-ranked Alabama dominated Mercer from start to finish in a 56-0 victory Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Hurts completed all 7 of his pass attempts for 180 yards and Tagovailoa was 7 for 11 for 85 yards. The Crimson Tide (11-0) limited the Bears to 161 total yards in what amounted to a tuneup for next Saturday’s Iron Bowl matchup against rival Auburn that will decided which team from the SEC West represents the conference in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Atlanta.
The Iron Bowl on Nov. 25 at Auburn will serve as a winner-take-all contest for the SEC West. If Alabama wins that one, it must then take care of business against Georgia on Dec. 2 in the SEC Championship Game.
Not to look ahead, but Alabama’s path to the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive year is clear: Win and you’re in.
Alabama-Mercer recap, score
- That’s it in Tuscaloosa. That was just what Nick Saban wanted — an easy win that prepped his team for next week’s huge game against Auburn.
- Tagovailoa continued to lead the charge as the fourth quarter begin. Five seconds into the final period, Tagovailoa threw a fade pass to receiver Derek Kief for a 13-yard touchdown to make it 56-0.
Third quarter (Alabama 49, Mercer 0)
- Alabama played plenty of backups in the second half, but the offense kept rolling for the most part. Late in the third quarter, backup quarter Tua Tagovailoa found senior Cam Sims for an eight-yard touchdown pass. It was an impressive play as Sims had to drag his toes in the back of the endzone to make it 42-0.
- A little over a minute later, Alabama found the endzone again as freshman Brian Robinson high-stepped in for a six-yard rushing touchdown to make it 49-0.
HALFTIME: Alabama 35, Mercer 0
Alabama 35, Mercer 0 (2Q, 10:39): Hurts day was done early after that drive. Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa stepped in and continued to move the offense.
Tagovailoa found tight end Hale Hentges for an easy four-yard touchdown. The score was set up by a big run from Bo Scarbrough.
Alabama 28, Mercer 0 (2Q, 13:26): Alabama’s defense stepped in and forced an interception as safety under cut a route for the takeaway.
That set up Hurts’ third passing touchdown of the day. Hurts hit Jacobs with a shovel pass for the seven-yard score to make it 28-0 early in the second.
Alabama 21, Mercer 0 (2Q, 14:49): On Alabama’s third offensive possession, Hurts found a streaking Ridley for a 66-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Alabama 14, Mercer 0 (1Q, 6:35): After Mercer missed a field goal on its first possession, Hurts and Alabama’s offense went back to work.
Hurts lofted a perfect pass to running back Josh Jacobs for 38 yards. That set up a three-yard touchdown run from freshman running back Najee Harris to make it 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Alabama 7, Mercer 0 (1Q, 11:27): It didn’t take long for Alabama’s offense to strike. On its opening drive, Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts marched Alabama down the field for a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
During the possession, Hurts had completions of 12 and 25 yards to Calvin Ridley before finding tight end Irv Smith Jr. for the eight-yard score. It was Smith’s third touchdown reception of the season.
Alabama football-Mercer football game time, details
- Time: Noon ET (11 a.m. CT)
- Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
- Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
What TV channel is Alabama-Mercer on?
The SEC Network is televising the game.
How can I watch Alabama-Mercer online?
You can stream the game on the WATCHESPN app.
How can I listen to Alabama-Mercer on the radio?
You can listen to the Alabama broadcast on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Chris Stewart on the call.
- Alabama has played 84 games as the nation’s No. 1 team since the inception of the AP poll in 1936. In those games, Alabama has a 73-11 (.869) record.
- Alabama left guard Ross Pierschbacher (ankle) has been officially ruled out of the game on Saturday.
- Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) is day-to-day. Fitzpatrick was not spotted during the viewing period of practice on Tuesday.
Alabama-Mercer series history
Alabama leads the series 2-0, including a 20-0 victory the last time the schools met in 1940.