(1) Alabama - 54, (15) Florida - 16
December 3, 2016
ATLANTA, Ga. - The No. 1 ranked University of Alabama football
team earned a 54-16 victory over the 15th-ranked Florida Gators
to win the 2016 Southeastern Conference Championship Saturday
afternoon in the Georgia Dome in front of 74,362 fans.
Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (10) is awarded the MVP trophy
during the celebration postgame in the Alabama vs. Florida SEC
Championship football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, at the
Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Alabama won 54-16 to take the 2016
Photo Credit - Vasha Huntfirstname.lastname@example.org
The victory earned Alabama its 26th SEC title and its seventh
SEC Championship Game win in the 25-year history of the title
game. The Crimson Tide has emerged victorious in its last five
consecutive SEC Championship Game appearances. Today's game
marked the ninth championship game meeting between Alabama and
Florida, including the first in 1992. The Tide now leads in
those matchups, 5-4. Alabama head coach Nick Saban improved to
7-1 in the SEC title game, going 5-1 with the Tide and 2-0 at
Alabama scored in all phases of the game, including an
interception and a blocked punt, both of which were returned
for touchdowns. The Tide's 54 points was the most against
Florida in the history of the series, bettering the previous
mark of 49 in 1926. The Crimson Tide defense held the Gators
to 0 rushing yards on 30 attempts, the fewest rushing yards
the Gators have gained against Alabama, with previous low of
15 coming in 2011 and again in 2015.
The Tide gained 234 yards on the ground and 138 through the air
for a total of 372 yards of total offense on 58 plays. With 0
net yards on the ground, the Gators gained 261 passing yards.
The Gators' 261 yards of total offense came on 69 plays. It
took a while for Alabama's offense to get going but by the third
quarter it was nearly unstoppable. Alabama's last touchdown of
the third quarter and first of the fourth quarter covered a
combined 189 yards on 22 plays and took 10:50 off the clock.
Alabama's freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts, was 11-of-20
passing for 138 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore running back
Bo Scarbrough led all rushers with 91 yards and two touchdowns
on 11 carries. Running backs Josh Jacobs (a freshman) and Derrick
Gore (a sophomore) also scored rushing touchdowns. Alabama had
three players with more than 40 yards receiving, including wide
receivers Calvin Ridley (a sophomore who had four catches for 43
yards) and ArDarius Stewart (a junior who tallied three catches
for 42 yards). Alabama's senior tight end O.J. Howard had two
catches for 41 yards on the day.
Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster earned Most Valuable Player
honors by turning in 11 tackles, including nine solo stops, two
quarterback sacks and two tackles for loss to lead the Crimson
Tide defense. Sophomore defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick,
junior defensive back Tony Brown and junior linebacker Shaun
Dion Hamilton all had interceptions on the day, with Fitzpatrick
taking his back for a touchdown.
Alabama won the coin toss to start the game and chose to defer
its option to the second half. Florida's Mark Thompson took the
kick at his own 15-yard line and returned it 21 yards to the
Gator 36. From there, Florida converted three consecutive third
down plays into first downs, including a conversion that covered
17 yards on an Austin Appleby to Antonio Callaway pass that
reached the 50-yard line. On the second third down conversion,
it was Appleby to Callaway once again for 24 yards to the
Alabama five-yard line. On the next play Callaway made a
finger-tip catch in the end zone for the first score of the
game. It was the first touchdown given up by Alabama since
October 22, a span of more than four full games. In fact, it
was the first offensive snap by an opposing team from inside
the Tide 10-yard line since that date.
After a three-and-out by the Alabama offense on its first drive,
Florida got the ball back on its 41-yard line. On the first
play, Appleby's pass across the middle was intercepted by
Hamilton, who returned it 40 yards to the Gator 12. Unable to
move the ball, Alabama came away with a 31-yard field goal by
Adam Griffith to narrow the Gator lead to 7-3.
Florida started its next drive on its own 25-yard line. After
picking up 12 yards and a first down on its first two plays of
the drive, Appleby followed up a 10-yard Gator penalty with
another interception, with Fitzpatrick grabbing the interception
and returning it 44 yards for a touchdown. It was Alabama's 13th
non-offensive score of the season. Griffith came on for the
extra point, which was good, making the score Alabama 10,
Florida 7, with 5:06 left in the first quarter.
Back-to-back blocked kicks resulted in a touchdown for Alabama
and a defensive extra point for the Gators. After Florida picked
up a first down on another third-down conversion, Alabama's
defense stiffened and forced the Gators' first punt of the game
which was blocked by the Tide's Derrick Gore and scooped up by
Jacobs who raced into the end zone for a touchdown. The ensuing
extra-point attempt was blocked and returned by David Reese for
a two-point defensive conversion. That exchanged gave Alabama a
16-9 lead with 1:38 left in the first quarter.
Florida finished the first quarter with a three-and-out, with a
punt coming on the first play of the second quarter.
While the Alabama offense took only six snaps in the first
quarter, but the defense turned in a pair of interceptions with
the first resulting in a field goal and the second resulting in
a touchdown, while the Tide special teams returned a blocked
punt for a touchdown. All of that gave Alabama at 16-9 lead
after the first period.
Townsend's booming punt opened the second quarter, going 62
yards after another three-and-out by the Gators. Trevon Diggs
took the punt at the Tide 10 and returned it 47 yards to the
Gator 43 where he was forced out of bounds by Townsend. From
there, Alabama moved the ball to the Florida seven-yard line
as Scarbrough gained 30 yards on three rushes and Stewart picked
up six more yards on a Hurts pass. Griffith entered to kick a
25-yard goal that was good and Alabama led, 26-9, with 6:20 left
in the half.
On the next drive, Alabama picked off the Gators for the third
time in the first half, when Brown grabbed the ball on the Tide
38. From there, Jacobs gained 15 yards on a pair of carries to
start the drive followed by a 32-yard catch and run by Howard
to the Florida 15. Another pass from Hurts to Howard took the
ball to the Gator six before Jacobs finished the drive with a
six-yard touchdown run. Griffith's extra point attempt was true
and Alabama increased its lead to 33-9 with 3:42 left in the
The Gators mounted their first extended drive since the game's
opening possession, marching 92 yards for a touchdown. Appleby
completed a 22-yard pass to tight end DeAndre Goolsby and a
17-yard toss to Callaway before Goolsby took an Appleby pass
25 yards up the right sideline into the end zone. Pinerio's
extra point kick was good and, with 19 seconds left in the half,
Alabama's lead was cut to 33-16 heading into the locker room.
Hurts was 8-for-16 passing for 112 yards and a touchdown in the
opening half. Jacobs led the Tide on the ground with 34 yards
and a touchdown on five attempts. Ridley was the top receiver
with three catches for 43 yards. The Tide defense had three
interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
For the Gators, Appleby was 17-of-26 passing for 184 yards and
two touchdowns along with three interceptions. Jordan Scarlett
was the Gators' top rusher in the first half with 18 yards on
eight carries. Both Goolsby and Callaway caught touchdown passes
in the first half for Florida. Both had four catches with Goolsby
tallying 66 yards and Callaway 63.
Alabama's opened the second half with a three-and-out. Taking
over on its own 34-yard line, Florida mounted another extended
drive with Appleby moving the Gators down the field with a
series of intermediate passes before a screen pass to running
back Lemical Perine picked up 32 yards to the Alabama two-yard
line, setting Florida up with a first and goal. Alabama's
defense stiffened and the Gators went for it on fourth down.
An errant pass by a pressured Appleby to Goolsby gave Alabama
back the ball on the Tide two.
Harris started Alabama's next drive with runs of nine and 23
yards, getting Alabama out of the shadow of its own end zone
to the Tide 34. Hurts then completed a 34-yard pass to Stewart
to the Florida 44. Tide running back Bo Scarbrough then went to
work, finishing the 98-yard drive with runs of 34 and two yards,
the last one for a touchdown. Griffith made the point-after
attempt and the Tide lead swelled to 40-16 with 3:25 left in
the third quarter.
That Gators were forced into another three-and-out, giving
Alabama the ball on its own nine-yard line after a 60-yard
punt and an illegal block penalty during the punt on the Tide.
Alabama ended the third quarter with three consecutive rushes
for 19 yards to the Alabama 28-yard line.
The Crimson Tide offense opened the fourth quarter with seven
consecutive running plays, marching to the Florida 20-yard line,
highlighted by a 21-yard pickup by Harris. A five-yard screen
pass from Hurts to Stewart moved the ball inside the red zone.
Two more rushes by the Tide gained two yards before a personal
foul penalty on the Gators moved the ball to first and goal at
the Gator seven. Scarbrough took the ball the rest of the way on
two rushes, including a one-yard plunge up the middle for a
touchdown. Griffith's extra point was true and Alabama led,
47-16, with 9:15 left in the game.
Back-to-back sacks of Appleby brought Florida's next drive to a
close. Diggs returned a 42-yard Townsend punt 36 yards to the
Florida 21-yard line. Gore took the ball into the end zone on
four consecutive carries, including a 10-yarder up the middle
for a touchdown. Placekicker Andy Pappanastos came on for the
extra point, which was good, moving the Alabama lead to 54-16.
Florida finished the game with the ball, covering 20 yards on
six plays before time ran out, sealing Alabama's' third
consecutive SEC title.
Alabama's 13-0 record marked the third time in the Crimson
Tide's illustrious history that an Alabama team has had a
13-0 mark. The other times were at the conclusion of the
1992 national title season and through 13 games of the Tide's
2009 national title year, a team that finished 14-0. With the
victory over the Gators, Alabama has won three consecutive SEC
titles for the third time in its history and the first time
since 1977-78-79. Alabama's other SEC title streaks include
winning five straight (1971-72-73-74-75) and three straight
With the victory over the 15th-ranked Gators, Alabama has
defeated 15 consecutive ranked opponents dating back to a loss
to Ole Miss in September of 2015. Alabama's all-time record
against ranked opponents is 153-124-7 (.551). The Tide is
124-75-3 (.621) as a ranked team playing a ranked opponent.
Alabama is 12-8-0 (.600) against Florida when the Gators are
The victory improved Alabama's record against Florida to 25-14-0
(.641) all-time, accounting for a vacated victory in 2005. The
actual, on-field series record is 26-14-0 (.650) in favor of the
Crimson Tide. Alabama has won the last six meetings in the series
dating back to a 31-20 loss in the 2008 SEC Championship Game.
Since Nick Saban took over as Alabama's head coach in 2007, the
Tide has won six of seven against the Gators, including the last
six consecutive. Saturday's game was televised by CBS and the
Tide is 69-43-1 (.621) all-time in games televised by CBS.
Alabama now awaits Sunday's announcement of the College Football
Playoff (CFP) pairings, scheduled to be televised by ESPN
beginning at 11:30 a.m. Central Time (CT). At that time, pairings
for the CFP semi-final games at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will be announced. Later on Sunday,
beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT, ESPN will televise the unveilings of
matchups in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual,
the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Capital One Orange Bowl and the
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.