TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It wasn’t pretty, but No. 1 Alabama defeated Chattanooga 31-3 on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Crimson Tide’s defense was dominant as usual, but the Tide’s offense looked sluggish for much of the night.
Hurts to Ridley
One of the few bright spots from this game was Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and star receiver Calvin Ridley getting on the same page.
Hurts hit Ridley on the opening play of the game for a 23-yard gain. The two would connect seven times on the day, including a 47-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
— Chat Tide (@ChatTide) November 20, 2016
Ridley beat his man by a couple of steps, and Hurts hit him in stride for the score.
Ridley finished the day with 7 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. Hurts wound up 15 of 21 for 136 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hurts also ran for 68 yards.
Hurts now is Alabama’s single-season record holder for rushing yards by a quarterback.
Please don’t overreact to this game
The Alabama football coaching staff purposely puts the offense in tough situations in these types of games every year. No disrespect to Chattanooga at all, but this was nothing more than a glorified scrimmage given the way Alabama ran its offense.
The Crimson Tide wanted to work on the passing game. That was clear from the start. No Alabama running back had more than 13 carries. Crimson Tide running back Bo Scarbrough (knee) did not play, even though he has been cleared by the medical staff.
This was the classic “teaching moment” game for Saban and the staff. Alabama will be locked in for the Iron Bowl.
What it means
Alabama is one win away from finishing the regular season undefeated for the third time during the Nick Saban era (2008, 2009).
With other teams around the country struggling, its hard to envision a scenario where Alabama doesn’t make and win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game for the second straight year.
Alabama football: What’s next
Alabama hosts Auburn next Saturday for the Iron Bowl in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
The matchup will be the 81st meeting overall between the Tide and Tigers, with Alabama owning the 44-35-1 advantage in the series. Most recently, Alabama earned a 29-13 victory at Auburn to clinch the SEC Western Division title and close out the 2015 regular season.
Two years ago in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama defeated Auburn 55-44 in the highest scoring Iron Bowl ever.
Alabama has already clinched the SEC West, so no matter what happens in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide will be in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3.
Florida defeated LSU earlier Saturday to set up another matchup between the Gators and Crimson Tide in Atlanta.