(1) Alabama - 52, (20) USC - 6
September 3, 2016
ARLINGTON, Texas - True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts
accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing)
while receiver ArDarius Stewart and running back Damien
Harris had career-best performances, supplementing a
suffocating performance by the Crimson Tide defense to
lead the No. 1 ranked University of Alabama football team
to a 52-6 victory over the 20th-ranked University of
Southern California Trojans before a crowd of 81,359 on
Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Damien Harris breaks free for a 73 yard gain against USC.
Photo Credit - USA Today
The 46-point margin of victory is the largest Alabama
winning margin over a top-20 ranked opponent since a 35-0
win at sixth-ranked Florida in 1991, and is the
second-largest victory margin over a top 20 team in Crimson
Tide history following only a 55-point win (61-6) over
Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl (1952 season). The largest
Alabama victory margin ever against a ranked team was a
59-0 win over No. 21 Texas A&M in 2014.
Making his collegiate debut in a substitute role, Hurts
entered the game on Alabama's third offensive possession
and the Tide offense began to find its rhythm and identity
as he settled in. Hurts was an efficient 6-of-11 for 118
yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Harris
rushed for 138 yards on nine carries in his first career
start at running back, including runs of 73 and 46 yards.
Stewart had four catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns,
including a career-long 71-yarder, with all of his
career-best totals coming in the first half of action.
Defensively, Alabama was stifling after allowing a scoring
drive to open the game. The Tide was dominant at the line
of scrimmage, holding the Trojans to 64 yards rushing on 30
attempts, an average of 2.1 yards per rush. Redshirt
freshman cornerback Anthony Averette recorded a team-best
eight total tackles, including seven solos. Additionally,
cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick had six tackles and broke up
two passes, defensive end Jonathan Allen had two quarterback
sacks and the team broke up seven passes, had nine tackles
for loss and three sacks. Sophomore cornerback Marlon
Humphrey returned an interception for a touchdown in the
Overall, the Tide gained 465 yards (242 passing and 223
rushing), picked up 15 first downs, and averaged 7.4 yards
per play. USC totaled 194 yards (130 passing and 64
rushing), along with converting 11 first downs and
averaging 2.9 yards per play.
Other than an opening drive that resulted in a USC field
goal, the opening stages of the game was dominated by the
defenses of both teams. Field position eventually made a
difference for the Tide after a slow start offensively.
The Trojans broke on top early after receiving the opening
kickoff. On the game's second play from scrimmage, USC
quarterback Max Browne passed deep for wide receiver
Darreus Rogers for a 36-yard gain to the Tide 33-yard line.
Three plays later, from the Tide 29, USC kicker Matt
Boermeester connected on a 47-yard field goal to give the
Trojans a 3-0 lead with 12:28 left in the first quarter.
Through the first quarter, USC outgained Alabama 78-12 in
total yards as Browne completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for
68 yards. But the Trojans' statistical dominance yielded
only a 3-0 lead.
Hurts entered the game at quarterback for Alabama on the
Tide's third possession of the game, coming in for starter
Blake Barnett. In the second quarter Alabama took
possession at the USC 36 after a Trojan punt and a personal
foul penalty by USC set up the Tide in excellent field
position. On third-and-13 at the Trojan 39, Hurts hit
Stewart for a 39-yard touchdown strike. Adam Griffith's
conversion kick was good and Alabama gained a 7-3 lead
with 7:46 left in the second quarter.
The Tide offense began to find a rhythm with Hurts at
quarterback as the game progressed. The Tide started a
possession from its own 25 with 6:25 left in the first
half. Harris gained 11 yards on a run on the first play
to the Tide 36. After a keeper by Hurts gained three yards,
Harris used a jump-cut to avoid congestion near the line
of scrimmage and ran through an attempted tackle to break
free on a 46-yard run to the USC 15. Three plays gained
four yards and, from the USC 11, Griffith entered to try
a 29-yard field goal that was good. With 3:26 left in the
second quarter, Alabama led, 10-3.
On the ensuing kickoff, Adoree Jackson returned the kick
to the USC 20 but a personal foul penalty on the Trojans'
Jabari Ruffin moved the ball back to the USC 10. Ruffin,
who kicked Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick when Fitzpatrick
was on the ground after the play, was ejected from the
game. After a running play gained two yards, Browne's pass
was deflected into Humphrey's arms who then returned the
ball 18 yards for a touchdown. Griffith's conversion kick
was good and Alabama led, 17-3, with 2:37 left in the
Alabama compiled a 130-14 advantage in total offense in
the second quarter while outrushing the Trojans 82 to
minus-4 in the period and scoring 17 unanswered points
to take a 17-3 halftime lead. After completing eight of
11 passes in the first quarter, USC's Browne managed only
two completions in 10 attempts with one interception
against the Tide defense in the second period.
The Tide quickly extended the lead on the opening
possession of the second half. After a touchback on the
kickoff, Alabama started at its 20. A rush by Joshua
Jacobs gained five yards on first down. Hurts lost a
yard on a keeper on second down. Facing third-and-six
at the Tide 29, USC's defense chose to send a cornerback
and a safety blitzing toward Hurts. Hurts recognized the
tactic, which left Stewart uncovered. Hurts quickly threw
to Stewart who caught the pass and raced 71 yards untouched
for a touchdown. The play marked the longest reception of
Stewart's Alabama career and gave him a career-high 113
receiving yards in the game. Griffith's extra-point attempt
was good, giving Alabama a 24-3 lead over USC with 13:43
remaining in the third quarter.
USC was forced to punt on the ensuing possession. From punt
formation, USC punter Chris Tilbey dropped the snap and
fell on the loose ball at the Trojan 13 with 12:47 left
in the third period. Running back Bo Scarborough ran for
a yard on first down, then Hurts kept around right end
for eight yards on second down to the USC 4. A two-yard
run by Scarborough gave the Tide a first down at the USC
2, but a false start penalty moved the ball back to the
Trojan 7. On first down, Hurts kept on a zone read play
and ran at left tackle for seven yards and the touchdown.
Griffith's kick was good and Alabama led, 31-3, with 10:55
left in the third period.
The Tide built on the lead two possessions later, moving
85 yards in three plays to a touchdown. A 73-yard run by
Harris to the USC 6 keyed the march that ended hurts Hurts
running a quarterback sweep around right end for six yards
and a touchdown. Griffith's conversion kick gave the Tide
a 38-3 lead with 5:53 left in the third quarter. The
Trojans responded with their best offensive push since
the opening quarter, moving 56 yards in eight plays to a
41-yard field goal by Boermeester that made the score
Alabama 38, USC 6, with 2:34 left in the third period.
Blake Barnett returned at quarterback late in the third
quarter and led the Tide on another scoring drive. This
march moved 65 yards in nine plays and was highlighted by
a 40-yard pass from Barnett to tight end O.J. Howard to
the USC 8 on the final play of the third quarter. Four
plays later, Scarborough took a fourth-down rush two yards
for a touchdown to give the Tide a 45-6 lead following
Griffith's kick with 13:11 left in the game. On the Tide's
next drive, Barnett moved Alabama 67 yards in four plays
and capped the march with an impressive 45-yard touchdown
pass to receiver Gahrig Dieter with 9:25 left. Griffith's
kick moved the Alabama lead to 52-6.
Alabama continues its season Saturday, September 10, with
the 2016 home opener as the Crimson Tide hosts Western
Kentucky (1-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Central
Time at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised