(1) Alabama - 56, Mercer - 0
November 18, 2017
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 1-ranked Alabama football team posted a dominant
performance in its final home game of the 2017 season, accumulating 530 yards
of total offense in a 56-0 shutout over Mercer Saturday afternoon at
Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs (49) stops Mercer running back
Tee Mitchell (28) during the first half of the Alabama vs. Mercer football
game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Photo Credit - Vasha Huntfirstname.lastname@example.org
With the win, the top-ranked Crimson Tide remains undefeated at 11-0 while
the Bears fall to 5-6 on the year.
Alabama's 530 yards of offense were split evenly with 265 through the air
and on the ground, averaging 8.8 yards per play. The Tide's quarterbacks
were a combined 14-18 with six touchdowns while the running back corps
accounted for a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts was 7-7 passing for 180 yards and three
touchdowns, which moves him to fifth on Alabama's career touchdown passes
list with 37 in his 26-game UA career. One of Hurts' three touchdowns went
to junior receiver Calvin Ridley, who finished the day with a team-leading
103 yards on three catches. The touchdown catch moves him to third on the
UA career touchdown receptions list with 17 and his 2,672 career receiving
yards ranks fourth.
On the defensive side of the ball, freshman linebacker Dylan Moses led the
team with a career-best 11 tackles, four for loss, and added his first
career interception at the end of the first half. In total, Tide defenders
held the Bears' offense to 161 total yards and stopped them on 11 of Mercer's
16 third-down conversion attempts.
Alabama scored on the opening drive of the game when Hurts connected with
sophomore tight end Irv Smith Jr. for an eight-yard touchdown pass. The point
after attempt from senior JK Scott made it 7-0. Following a missed field
goal on Mercer's ensuing drive, the Tide made it a two-score game with a
38-yard pass to sophomore Josh Jacobs setting up freshman running back
Najee Harris for a three-yard touchdown run.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Hurts floated a deep pass to
Ridley down the sideline for a 66-yard touchdown, increasing the UA lead
to 21-0 following Scott's PAT. Senior defensive back Hootie Jones intercepted
the Bears' first pass on the next drive to quickly put the Tide offense
back on the field and the resulting two-play drive ended with a Hurts'
seven-yard shovel pass to Jacobs for a touchdown, moving Alabama ahead
28-0 after the PAT. A 44-yard run from junior running back Bo Scarbrough on
the Tide's next possession put Alabama at the goal line and freshman
quarterback Tua Tagovailoa capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass
to junior tight end Hale Hentges. The successful point after from Scott
swelled the lead to 35-0. With time winding down in the first half, a
Crimson Tide turnover allowed Mercer to recover the ball at midfield but
Alabama regained possession soon after with an interception from Moses.
The first half ended with the score still 35-0.
The first score of the second half came at the 4:18 mark in the third quarter
when Tagovailoa found senior receiver Cam Sims in the back corner of the end
zone for the eight-yard touchdown pass and the point after from Scott made
it 42-0. A deflected pass at the line on Mercer's next drive turned into an
interception for sophomore defensive back Deionte Thompson and freshman
running back Brian Robinson Jr. went up the middle for the six-yard touchdown
to put the Tide ahead 49-0.
Starting the fourth quarter in the red zone, Tagovailoa threw a 13-yard
touchdown pass to junior receiver Derek Kief, who made the diving catch
as the lead increased to 56-0 following Scott's PAT. That would prove to
be the final score of the game, as the Tide held on for the shutout.
Next week, Alabama resumes Southeastern Conference play on the road against
Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
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