Hurts, Stewart Shine as No. 1 Alabama Crushes Mississippi State
Jalen Hurts and ArDarius Stewart set career records as No. 1 Alabama steamrolls Mississippi State for Nick Saban’s 40th win with a top-ranked Tide team.
Jalen Hurts passed for career highs of 347 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards in less than three quarters in No. 1 Alabama’s 51-3 rout of Mississippi State on Saturday.
The freshman quarterback’s prolific performance wiped out any concerns that the Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) would have a letdown after a bruising win at No. 19 LSU. Instead, Hurts turned in his best game and the defense denied Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4) the end zone on nine trips across midfield.
The Bulldogs had been riding high after an upset of No. 10 Texas A&M, but didn’t muster a threat in this one.
Hurts completed 28 of 37 passes and rushed for a fifth touchdown before being replaced by Cooper Bateman late in the third quarter. The career performance was marred by an interception and fumble, but the Tide’s dominating defense made sure the miscues didn’t matter too much.
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ArDarius Stewart was the biggest beneficiary of the passing revival, scoring three touchdowns. Stewart gained 156 yards on eight catches, including a 67-yard sprint on a jet sweep.
Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald couldn’t solve Alabama’s defense after two huge games. He completed 10 of 33 passes for 145 with an interception. Fitzgerald was also held to 15 rushing yards after topping 900 total yards combined against Texas A&M and Samford.
No. 1 Alabama outgained the Bulldogs 615-274 in total yards and has won nine straight meetings.
Hurts and the Tide got the passing game going against the league’s worst pass defense. Hurts hadn’t reached 200 yards passing in the previous three games, but might have emerged from this one with a shot at some Heisman Trophy votes. The defense went seven straight quarters without allowing a point.
Saban joined Ohio State’s Woody Hayes and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden in a tie for the most wins with a top-ranked team by any coach. He’s 40-5, matching Bowden. Hayes went 40-4-1 with No. 1 teams.
Alabama hosts FCS team Chattanooga in an Iron Bowl tuneup, with the contest airing on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, the SEC office announced on Monday afternoon. A final decision on the carrier will be determined following the games of Nov. 12.
The Crimson Tide and Mocs will meet for the 13th time in series history, with Alabama holding a 12-0 advantage, including a 7-0 mark in Tuscaloosa. Saban is 2-0 all-time against Chattanooga, with both victories coming as the head coach of the Tide. Alabama defeated Chattanooga, 49-0, in the most recent meeting between the two schools in Tuscaloosa in 2013.