Bama runs wild in SEC opener

De­fense also ex­cels as Tide post 677-78 edge in total of­fense.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL -

NASHVILLE, TENN. — Damien Har­ris ran for a ca­reer-high 151 yards and three touch­downs, Bo Scar­brough added two TDs, and top-ranked Alabama routed Van­der­bilt 59-0 Satur­day in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence opener for both teams.

Alabama (4-0) has won 19 straight over SEC East teams. Bet­ter yet, the Crim­son Tide haven’t lost to Van­der­bilt since 1984 or in Nashville since 1969. Both streaks were as­sured at the end of the first quar­ter with Alabama up 21-0 after the sec­ond of Har­ris’ TDs.

Coach Nick Sa­ban said the Crim­son Tide fi­nally re­sponded to his chal­lenge to dom­i­nate an op­po­nent for a full 60 min­utes.

“Un­til we learn how to do that, which I think we did to­day, I don’t think you’ll ever get the re­spect you de­serve,” Sa­ban said. “I think they earned a lot of re­spect to­day.”

Van­der­bilt (3-1) came in as one of the five re­main­ing un­de­feated teams in the SEC and with the na­tion’s stingi­est de­fense in points, total yards and against the pass. The Com­modores had al­lowed just 13 points com­bined through three games, yet they proved no match against Alabama’s dom­i­nat­ing ground game.

“We ran into a buzz saw,” Van­der­bilt coach Derek Ma­son said.

Har­ris topped his sea­son’s best by the end of the first quar­ter and needed only 12 car­ries for his big day, thanks to a 61-yarder in the first quar­ter. Scar­brough ran 11 times for 79 yards, with TD runs of 6 and 2 yards. Brian Robin­son added a 17-yard TD run in the fourth quar­ter for a 59-0 lead.

The Crim­son Tide sim­ply smoth­ered Van­der­bilt, al­low­ing just 49 yards in the first half. Alabama ran 48 of­fen­sive plays in that span. Alabama fin­ished with a 677-78 edge in total of­fense.

Alabama got lineback­ers Rashaan Evans and An­fer­nee Jen­nings back after they missed the past two games with in­juries.

Jen­nings forced a fum­ble re­cov­ered by Da’Shawn Hand for the sec­ond turnover by the Tide de­fense in the first quar­ter. Ron­nie Har­ri­son in­ter­cepted a tipped pass that ended Van­der­bilt’s open­ing drive.

The Tide showed their de­fen­sive woes in a 41-23 win over Colorado State last week were a mere blip, forc­ing two turnovers within the first 12 min­utes. Alabama looked much more crisp, play­ing well enough to maybe lure back a few more first-place votes in the polling.

As dis­heart­en­ing as this loss was for the Com­modores, Alabama has been do­ing this to ev­ery­body in the East­ern Di­vi­sion and most of the con­fer­ence.

The Com­modores now have to re­group quickly with the SEC sched­ule only get­ting started, but this was their most lop­sided de­feat since a 66-3 loss to then-No. 2 Alabama in 1979. It was the third-worst loss in school his­tory.

Alabama hosts Mis­sis­sippi next Satur­day, and Van­der­bilt visits No. 20 Florida.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.