The bad news: Alabama’s offense slept through most of the first half. The Tide scored 10 offensive points in their first two frames and rushed for all of 13 yards on 16 carries.
The good news: When you’re Alabama, your offense can take a whole half off and your defense will still spot you a 14-point lead.
Top-ranked Alabama turned a lackluster 17-3 halftime edge into a 38-10 romp over Western Kentucky Saturday in Tuscaloosa, a clear step down from last week’s 52-6 opening blowout of USC but more than enough to continue the Tide’s status as the top team in the country.
True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts earned his first official career win, hitting 23-of-36 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 19 yards on the ground. His first scoring strike came to Calvin Ridley on a four-yard toss with no time left in the first quarter, staking the Tide to a 10-3 edge on a drive started when Alabama intercepted a wide receiver reverse pass. Another interception gave Alabama its second touchdown as safety Eddie Jackson did the deed himself from 55 yards out.
Hurts’s second scoring throw, an 8-yarder to ArDarius Stewart, ended any reasonable hope of an upset for the Hilltoppers with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Alabama tacked on a pair of fourth quarter scores in the forms of short runs by Bo Scarbrough and B.J. Emmons. On the whole, though, Alabama struggled to rush the ball against the WKU front. The Tide notched just 116 yards and 3.1 yards per carry as a team; Damien Harris led the bunch with 45 yards on 11 carries. None of Alabama’s 37 credited rushes went longer than 13 yards.
Western Kentucky, for its part, failed to accomplish anything on offense. Starter Mike White was pulled after hitting 10-of-24 passes for 135 yards with a pick-six, and the entire team registered 23 yards on 22 carries. Backups Tyler Ferguson and Drew Eckels did some nice things in relief; Ferguson hit seven of his 10 passes for 55 yards, and Eckels connected on 2-of-3 passes for 26 yards and a garbage time touchdown toss to Lucky Jackson with 46 ticks remaining.
Western Kentucky (1-1) continues non-conference play at Miami (Ohio) next week, while Alabama (2-0) opens SEC play at Ole Miss.
Stanford will be without one of their top weapons ahead of a Pac-12 showdown with Washington.
Cardinal head coach David Shaw announced on Monday that receiver Francis Owusu suffered a concussion last week against UCLA and he will miss the team’s upcoming game on Friday in Seattle.
“He’s doing much better,” Shaw told ESPN. “If it was up to him, he’d play next week, but that’s not up to him.”
Owusu took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive back Tahaan Goodman late in Saturday’s comeback win over UCLA. The play was reviewed but not considered targeting by Pac-12 referees, something that Shaw told reporters he would ask conference officials about.
“I know that Francis Owusu was not technically a ‘defenseless player,'” said Shaw. “But knowing the era we’re in — where we’re in the mode of trying to make this game safer, trying to take helmet hits out of the game, and trying to protect the players who play this wonderful, physical sport — in the spirit of where we are in the football world right now, you should throw a flag. It should be penalty. The initial contact was helmet-to-helmet.”
Owusu has just two catches for 15 yards on the season but the senior is one of the Cardinal’s veteran options at receiver. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who caught the game-winner at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and Jay Tyler are expected to fill Owusu’s shoes in the offense.
No. 7 Stanford takes on No. 10 Washington in a battle of Pac-12 unbeatens that could be for a spot in the conference title game and the College Football Playoff. If nothing else, the game should determine who wins the Pac-12 North in 2016.
Ed Orgeron’s first order of business after being handed the interim head coaching title at LSU?
Suspending a starter.
The school announced on Monday that defensive end Davon Godchaux was suspended indefinitely after being arrested over the weekend as the result of an incident with his girlfriend.
NOLA.com reported that Godchaux was booked Monday morning by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office on charges of false imprisonment and domestic abuse battery/child endangerment. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond.
Godchaux is accused of getting into an altercation with his girlfriend and preventing her from leaving their apartment with their 10-month old child.
The defensive end has been responsible for two sacks on the season and 20 tackles over four games. Frank Herron is expected to take Godchaux’s place on the Tigers’ first-team defense.
One athletic director is making a rare intra-conference move to take the same position at a rival school.
As first reported by USA Today, Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin is set to be announced as the new athletic director at Florida on Tuesday.
The move ends a lengthy search by the Gators to replace longtime AD Jeremy Foley, who officially retires at the end of the week but is remaining at the school to help fundraise.
The Florida athletic director’s job is considered to be one of the most plum in all of college sports. That may be the biggest reason why Stricklin, who graduated from Mississippi State in 1992, would make the rare move to leave his alma mater for another position in the SEC. He has been in charge of the Bulldogs since 2010 and also made stops at Tulane, Baylor and Kentucky before coming back to Starkville.
Stricklin is well-regarded in most circles for his moves to upgrade MSU facilities during his time as athletic director. The Gators recently announced plans for over $100 million in capital improvements so you can bet that the school’s new athletic director will hit the ground running starting on Saturday.
Les Miles has barely been out of a job for 24 hours and already the rumors have begun connecting other head coaches to his old job at LSU.
Not surprisingly, one of the most prominent names being mentioned is former Tigers assistant and current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
“I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact] and I’m not talking about it,” Fisher told reporters on Monday. “We’re talking about North Carolina.”
The 12th-ranked Seminoles play the Tar Heels on Saturday.
Fisher spent seven years at LSU and was the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban during the 2003 national championship season in Baton Rouge. He recently won a national championship at Florida State in 2013 and has 71-15 career record. Many have labeled Fisher one of the Tigers’ top targets in their coaching search but he is far from the only prominent name that has been mentioned recently for the job.
Houston coach Tom Herman, who has seemingly heard his name come up for every major coaching opening the past 18 months, also denied being contacted by the school. A report had surfaced shortly after Miles was fired saying that said school representatives had already made contact with the Cougars coach.
“I can say unequivocally nobody has contacted me,” Herman said after practice, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I can spend my time getting upset and going on radio shows and tweeting things out and all that stuff, but at the end of the day it’s not going to stop. I just let them do and say whatever they want to say.”
Stanford head coach David Shaw also issued a strong denial about him potentially leaving the Farm for LSU as well.
With such a big time job opening up this early in the year, you can expect plenty of these types of reports linking somebody with LSU and then a prompt denial from said coach. It seems like it’s going to be a long season for the Tigers on the field and an even longer for those following the team’s coaching search.
It’s probably safe to say the only person who won’t deny any interest in the job or being contacted about the opening is LSU’s current interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon.