TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Top-ranked Alabama pounded Mississippi State 51-3 on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 SEC) used a career day from freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, and another stingy performance from its defense to bounce the Bulldogs inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama’s dominating defense
After a while, you start to feel bad for the opposing team, particularly the quarterback. It felt like Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was hit every single time he dropped back to pass.
Alabama only sacked Fitzgerald twice, but the Crimson Tide was credited with 11 quarterback hurries.
Fitzgerald completed 10-of-33 passes for 145 yards and an interception. He had a passer rating of 61.2.
Saturday marked the second straight game Alabama hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown.
Stewart stands out
It’s been a while since one of Alabama’s receivers had a big game.
The passing game didn’t do much against LSU outside of a 52-yard bomb from Jalen Hurts to ArDarius Stewart.
On Saturday, Stewart made more explosive plays for the Tide’s offense. Stewart ripped off a 67-yard reception touchdown early in the second quarter. Stewart took a short pop-pass from Hurts and used his speed to do the rest.
Stewart finished the day with 156 yards and 3 touchdowns on 8 receptions.
ArDarius Stewart hit the hole…
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 12, 2016
Hurts’ career day
First, Hurts made some sloppy plays. He threw an interception and had a fumble that was a result of being loose with the ball. Hurts has thrown an interception in five straight games.
Still, Hurts had a career day in terms of total yards. Hurts, who’s day was done in the third quarter, finished the afternoon 28-of-37 for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns, all of which are career highs. Hurts added 100 rushing yards and a score on the ground.
Jalen Hurts: 28-of-37, 347 yards, 4 TDs. 11 carries, 100 rushing yards, TD.
ArDarius Stewart: 8 catches, 156 yards, 3 TDs.
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) November 12, 2016
Hurts is 56 yards away from the single-season quarterback rushing record of 791, set by Steadman Shealy in 1979.
Hurts totaled 333 yards (244 passing, 89 rushing) of offense and 3 total touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing) in the first half.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said the Crimson Tide is going to have to take the good with the bad as they continue to grow with Hurts. He did a lot more good than bad on Saturday.
Things took a turn for the worse for Mississippi State soon after the opening kick.
No one outside of Starkville seriously thought the Bulldogs had a chance of winning this game.
The contest was over at halftime as the Tide’s defense overwhelmed the Bulldogs’ offense.
Alabama lead 30-0 at the half. Mississippi State didn’t play bad. The Bulldogs just didn’t have any answers for what Alabama was doing.
What it means
Alabama is two wins away from finishing the regular season undefeated for the third time during the Saban era (2008, 2009).
Alabama is going to beat Chattanooga next week, so the last remaining test for the Crimson Tide is the Iron Bowl.
The winner of the Iron Bowl will win the SEC West and earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3 in Atlanta.
Alabama hosts Chattanooga next Saturday for its Iron Bowl tune-up in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.