ArDarius Stewart

Getty Images

Alabama trio officially rolls early from Crimson Tide to NFL draft

3 Comments

Not surprisingly, Alabama is losing handful of underclassmen to the NFL — albeit a smaller handful than some had projected.

At the schools annual press conference for junior NFL announcements, a trio of Crimson Tide football players — cornerback Marlon Humphrey, offensive tackle Cam Robinson, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (pictured) — confirmed that they will be leaving Tuscaloosa and make themselves available for the April NFL draft.

Robinson has been an All-American the past two seasons after earning Freshman All-American as a true freshman in 2014.  He was a consensus All-American this season.  Humphrey was also a Freshman All-American his redshirt season in 2015 before joining Robinson this season as an All-American.

This season, Stewart led the Tide in receiving yards (864), receiving touchdowns (eight) and yards per catch (16).  His 54 receptions were second on the national title runners-up.  The 6-1, 204-pound receiver finishes his ‘Bama career with 129 catches, 1,713 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Both Robinson and Humphrey were given first-round grades from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee.  Stewart received an “other” grade.

There was some good news on the early-entry front as defensive backs Anthony Averett and Tony Brown, who both had considered leaving early, ultimately decided to return to Tuscaloosa for another season.

CFT Previews & Predictions: Alabama-Clemson Tale of the Tape

9 Comments

WHO
No. 1 Alabama (14-0) vs. No. 2 Clemson (13-1)

WHAT
The College Football Playoff championship game, presented by AT&T

WHEN
8:00 p.m. ET

WHERE
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

HEAD COACHES
Alabama’s Nick Saban (114-18 in 10 seasons with the Crimson Tide, 205-60-1 overall; five national championships)
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (88-28 in nine seasons with the Tigers)

STATISTICAL LEADERS
Alabama
Passing: Jalen Hurts, 227-351 (64.7%), 2,249 yards, 22 touchdowns, nine interceptions
Rushing: Damien Harris, 1,013 yards; Hurts, 12 touchdowns
Receiving: Calvin Ridley, 67 receptions; ArDarius Stewart, 852 yards, eight touchdowns
Punt returns: Trevon Diggs, 10 yards per on 13 returns; Eddie Jackson (injured, won’t play), 23 yards per on 11 returns, two touchdowns
Kick returns: Diggs. 23.7 yards per on seven returns
Punting: J.K. Scott, 47.4 yards per, 20 of 54 inside 20
Kicking: Adam Griffith, 20-27 field goals, long of 48; 62-63 extra points
Tackles: Reuben Foster, 103
Tackles for loss: Ryan Anderson, 17
Sacks: Jonathan Allen, 9.5
QB Hits: Allen, 15
Interceptions: Minkah Fitzpatrick, six
Passes breakups: Anthony Averett, 14

Clemson
Passing: Deshaun Watson, 352-523 (67.3%), 4,173 yards, 38 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Rushing: Wayne Gallman, 1,087 yards, 16 touchdowns
Receiving: Mike Williams, 90 receptions, 1,267 yards, 10 touchdowns
Punt returns: Ray-Ray McCloud, 8.4 per on 21 returns
Kick returns: Artavis Scott, 22.9 per on 20 returns
Punting: Andy Teasdall, 38 yards per, 21 of 53 inside 20
Kicking: Greg Huegel, 14-19 field goals, long of 48; 66-68 extra points
Tackles: Ben Boulware, 121
Tackles for loss: Carlos Watkins, 12.5
Sacks: Watkins, 10.5
Interceptions: Jadar Johnson, five
Passes breakups: Cordrea Tankersley, 10

STATISTICAL MATCHUPS
Alabama’s 11th-ranked rush offense (246.7 ypg) vs. Clemson’s 19th-ranked run defense (123.1 ypg)
CU’s 62nd-ranked rush offense (175.4 ypg) vs. UA’s top-ranked run defense (62 ypg)
UA’s 81st-ranked pass offense (214.2 yp) vs. CU’s 17th-ranked pass defense (183.8 ypg)
CU’s 7th-ranked pass offense (327.8 ypg) vs. UA’s 14th-ranked pass defense (182 ypg)
UA’s 15th-ranked scoring offense (39.4 ppg) vs. CU’s 7th-ranked scoring defense (17.1 ppg)
CU’s 13th-ranked scoring offense (39.5 ppg) vs. UA’s top-ranked scoring defense (11.4 ppg)

COMMON OPPONENTS
Auburn
Clemson won 19-13 in Auburn Sept. 3, Alabama won 30-12 in Tuscaloosa Nov. 26.

LOSSES
Alabama: N/A
Clemson: 43-42 to No. 23 Pittsburgh (8-5) in Clemson Nov. 12

PORTFOLIO
Wins vs. bowl teams: Alabama 12, Clemson 10
Wins vs. current CFP Top 25 teams: UA 6, CU 5
Wins in true road games: UA 4, CU 5
Wins by 10-plus points: UA 13, CU 7

THE BOVADA.LV LINE
Clemson, +6 (opened +6½)
Over/under, 51

THE PREDICTIONS
Zach Barnett
Here’s one thing I know: Tide-Tigers II won’t be as high scoring as the last time around. Alabama — both offense and defense — won’t allow it. And here’s what I think: I think Alabama is just too far ahead of the rest of the country that even a marked deficit at quarterback can’t overcome the Tide’s advantages elsewhere. The defense is too good, the rest of the offense is too good, and Bo Scarborough is too, well, Bo Scarborough.
Alabama 21, Clemson 17

Bryan Fisher
I think this year’s rematch should be just as close of a game as last season’s version, with Alabama squeaking out another close victory over Clemson in slightly lower scoring fashion. Turnovers will play a huge role in this one and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Crimson Tide’s defense finds the end zone at least once to make up for what should be a grind-it-out type of night for their offense. The Tigers defense plays heroically throughout, but ultimately it’s Nick Saban holding up the trophy in the end.
Alabama 31, Clemson 27

Kevin McGuire
The biggest question mark for this game is just what to expect from Alabama’s offense given the bizarre staff shakeup that forced Lane Kiffin on his way to his new job and inserted Steve Sarkisian to call plays, which has never particularly been his strong suit. But who am I to question Nick Saban? It all comes back to winning the rematch though, where Clemson is coming off an impressive shelling of Ohio State and looks like a true threat to Alabama, especially if the Tide is a mixed bag of ineptitude on offense with a freshman quarterback. But Deshaun Watson will have to play the same kind of game he did a year ago, and I’m not so sure that will be possible. Fool Alabama once, it happens. Do it twice in a row? I’m not as confident that is possible.
Alabama 26, Clemson 24

John Taylor
I’m truly torn on this one.  On the one hand you have a Brent Venables-coached Clemson defense that shut out Ohio State and its veteran quarterback, J.T. Barrett, going up against a true freshman quarterback in Alabama’s Jalen Hurts — and with a new playcaller no less. On the other, you have an Alabama defense that, in addition to being ranked No. 1 in myriad statistical categories, is in the Top 15 nationally in interceptions with 16 — six of which were returned for touchdowns — matched up with a quarterback in Deshaun Watson whose 17 picks this season are tied for second at the FBS level.  In the end I’m going to go against the grain and with Venables and Watson denying Nick Saban his Bear Bryant-tying title.  Hell, The Nicktator says (winkwink nudgenudgeClemson’s the best team; who am I to argue with the greatest college coach of this generation?
Clemson 27, Alabama 23

No. 1 Alabama cruises to third straight Iron Bowl triumph over No. 13 Auburn

AP
1 Comment

In a game that seemed like a close matchup in ranking only, No. 1 Alabama cruised to a 30-12 victory over No. 13 Auburn, giving the Tide their third straight Iron Bowl victory and sending the club into the College Football Playoff regardless of next week’s outcome in the SEC Championship.

Two Jalen Hurts interceptions and a big punt return allowed Auburn to stay within 13-9 at the half despite trailing 14-1 in first downs, but a clean second half from the Tide’s talented freshman quarterback allowed Alabama to cruise to a comfortable victory. A 4-yard scoring dash by Hurts put Alabama up 20-9 at the 9:58 mark of the third quarter, and his 38-yard strike to ArDarius Stewart on Alabama’s next possession put the game out of reach at 27-9.

Coupled with a first half scoring strike to Damien Harris, Hurts finished the game connecting on 27-of-36 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 12 times for 37 yards and a score. Bo Scarborough led all runners with 17 carries for 90 yards, and Harris added nine carries for 47 yards. Stewart hauled in 10 receptions for 127 yards and a score.

In the end, the only drama of the game proved to be whether Alabama could complete the entire month of November without allowing a touchdown. And they did. Four Daniel Carlson field goals were Auburn’s only dents on the scoreboard, and Alabama will enter next week’s SEC title game having not allowed an opponent to cross the goal line since the third quarter of the Texas A&M game back on Oct. 22.

Playing without starting quarterback Sean White, Auburn struggled to create any offense against Alabama’s suffocating front. Jeremy Johnson earned the start and completed 4-of-13 passes for 34 yards. John Franklin III finished the game and hit 2-of-4 passes for 85 yards, but even his 55-yard strike to Eli Stove did not result in a touchdown. Nominally productive running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson combined to rush 20 times for 56 yards.

Overall, Alabama out-gained Auburn 501-182 and won the first downs battle 26-7.

Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) will now begin preparations to meet Florida in the SEC Championship while Auburn (8-4, 5-3 SEC) awaits its bowl destination.

Alabama holds slight lead in tight, sloppy Iron Bowl

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alabama has blown out Auburn in the box score, but poor special teams and two Jalen Hurts interceptions have allowed the Tide to own only a 13-9 lead at the break in Tuscaloosa.

Hurts has been responsible for nearly all the points through one half. He’s completed 18-of-25 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown, but two interceptions have kept the Tigers in the game despite the Tide owning a 263-34 yardage edge and 14-1 advantage in first downs.

Auburn posted its first two field goals without achieving a first down either time. The first came on the Tigers’ first possession of the game, when Stephen Roberts returned a J.K. Scott punt 58 yards to stake Auburn at the Alabama 21-yard line. Three plays later, Daniel Carlson converted a 42-yard field goal.

Carlson’s second field goal came after Daniel Thomas intercepted Hurts at the Alabama 41. Auburn gained only six yards over their next three plays, and Carlson’s 52-yarder pulled the Tigers within 10-6 with 13:38 left in the half. After Thomas again intercepted Hurts, returning the ball back to the Alabama 41, Auburn mounted a drive of 19 yards to set up a 39-yard Carlson field goal with 3:30 remaining.

Alabama’s scores have come on a 29-yard Adam Griffith field goal and a 17-yard strike from Hurts to Damien Harris.

Jeremy Johnson earned the start at quarterback for Auburn with Sean White nursing a shoulder injury; he’s completed 3-of-9 passes for seven yards. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway have combined to rush nine times for 30 yards.

Harris leads all runners with seven carries for 39 yards, while Hurts has added eight rushes for 23 yards. ArDarius Stewart has caught eight passes for 83 yards.

Auburn will receive to open the second half.

Jalen Hurts scores five TDs as No. 1 Alabama dominates Mississippi State

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2 Comments

There are a few teams capable of giving No. 1 Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC) a decent contest in the SEC. Texas A&M and LSU were two, and Auburn may be another. As was put on display on Saturday afternoon, Mississippi State (4-6, 2-4 SEC) was not anywhere close to being up to the task, even a week after upsetting Texas A&M. Alabama moved a little bit closer to the SEC West Division championship with a decisive 51-3 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts continued to have the kind of game that merits at least a little bit of Heisman Trophy consideration by passing for 347 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 100 yards and another touchdown in the win. This was the first 300-yard passing game and three-touchdown game for Hurts through the air. ArDarius Stewart was on the receiving end of three of those touchdown passes, with 156 yards in the box score. Alabama’s defense was once again dominant as well. Mississippi State didn’t manage to put three points on the board until after Alabama had a 30-0 lead at halftime.

Alabama won’t have a bye week next week, but they might as well. TheCrimson Tide will host FCS Chattanooga for the typical late-season cupcake mismatch that is common among SEC schools. The game will serve as nothing more than a final tune-up for the Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn the following week. If Auburn wins on the road against Georgia this afternoon, the Iron Bowl will determine the champion of the SEC West and send the winner to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

Alabama will have the SEC West wrapped up today if Auburn should happen to lose at Georgia.

Mississippi State is now walking on thin ice when it comes to bowl eligibility.Dan Mullen needs to win both of his remaining games, against Arkansas at home and at Ole Miss, to meet the six-win bowl minimum. It is a possibility Ole Miss may be in a win-or-stay-home situation in the regular season finale as well.