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Report: Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Bo Scarbrough rolling into NFL

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As it turns out, the gang won’t all be back together when Alabama shoots for back-to-back championships.

While neither the football program nor the players have confirmed it, al.com, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Bo Scarbrough are leaving for the April NFL draft.  Alabama’s policy has been to hold a press conference to announce the NFL decisions of its draft-eligible players; that event is expected to happen at some point this week as the deadline for early entry is Monday, Jan. 15.

Ridley is expected to be one of the first, if not the first, receivers taken in the upcoming draft and is viewed as a first-round lock.  Scarbrough is part of a deep stable of four- and five-star backs, so his apparent decision to move on is far from surprising.

Ridley led the Crimson Tide in receiving each of the past two seasons.  In UA’s run to the 2017 national title, he was easily the Tide’s leading receiver with 63 catches and 967 yards; Scarbrough was next-closest in receptions with 17, Jerry Jeudy in yards with 264.  Ridley’s five touchdown catches were second to Henry Ruggs‘ six.

In three seasons, Ridley totaled 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns on 224 catches in what was a run-heavy offense.

Scarbrough was third on the Tide in rushing each of the past two seasons, including 596 this past year.  All told, he’ll finish his collegiate career with 1,512 yards and 20 touchdowns.

UPDATED 1:24 p.m. ET: So, of course, almost as soon as I hit “PUBLISH” on this post, Ridley confirmed via Twitter that he is leaving Tuscaloosa early.

Tua Tagovailoa lights a spark, Jake Fromm answers

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Alabama made a quick change at quarterback to start the second half, and after Tua Tagovailoa got his feet wet on his first series, he provided the much-needed offensive spark for Alabama on his second drive. Unfortunately for Alabama, Jake Fromm continued to thrive on third and long with a big answer.

Tagovailoa came up with a crazy run to pick up a first down that was soon followed by Alabama’s first score of the night.

The pass into the end zone was to Henry Ruggs III, his third catch of the night. Suddenly, Alabama had some life.

Feeding off the energy of Alabama’s first points of the game, the Crimson Tide were flying on Georgia’s ensuing possession and forced Georgia into a 3rd and 11. Fromm took a deep shot to a streaking Mecole Hardman, and Hardman did not disappoint on an 80-yard bomb for a touchdown to regain a 13-point advantage. The play was reviewed to make sure Hardman did not step out of bounds. Like Sony Michel’s big run in the first half, the review upheld the call on the field, and Georgia celebrated a 20-7 lead.

Tagovailoa was picked off on Alabama’s next possession, setting Georgia up to put a stranglehold on the Tide midway through the third quarter, but Fromm was just picked off on a tipped ball, giving the ball back to Tagovailoa and the Tide. Buckle up. Things are getting fun.

No. 1 Alabama matches series record with 11th straight win over Tennessee

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Tennessee wasn’t beaten by a cavalcade of big plays, special teams touchdowns and turnovers. Instead it was just a play-after-play-after-play destruction by the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide, resulting in a 45-7 Alabama win that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The Tide jumped to a 21-0 halftime lead thanks to a pair of 1-yard leaps by Bo Scarborough and an 11-yard dash by Damien Harris, and Jalen Hurts got in on the action with a 14-yard strike to Irv Smith, Jr., swelling the lead to 28-0 to open the second half.

Tennessee got on the board shortly thereafter, when Daniel Bituli stepped in front of a Tua Tagovailoa pass and raced it 97 yards for a touchdown. In typical Tennessee fashion, though, the score was immediately tainted by this:

Tagovailoa atoned for his pick-six with a 23-yard scoring dash at the 12:59 mark of the fourth quarter.

Tennessee (3-4, 0-4 SEC) moved in position to record its first offensive touchdown of the game — scratch that, its first offensive touchdown in a month — with a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line, but a run to the 1-yard line was negated by a false start penalty and Jarrett Guarantano was intercepted by Mack Wilson, who returned the ball to the Alabama 23-yard line. The interception extended Alabama’s streak of consecutive games with at least one takeaway to 35. Tennessee’s last offensive touchdown came with 25 seconds left in the second quarter of the Vols’ 17-13 defeat of Massachusetts on Sept. 23.

Tagovailoa capitalized on the turnover with a 60-yard snatch-and-dash connection to fellow freshman Henry Ruggs III at the 4:49 mark of the fourth quarter.

In a game that amounted to a televised practice for Alabama, the Tide used two quarterbacks, seven ball-carriers and eight pass-catchers. Hurts was 13-of-21 for 198 yards and a touchdown, and Tagovailoa hit 9-of-12 throws for 134 yards with a score and a pick. Harris led all runners with 13 carries for 72 yards, and Calvin Ridley hauled in eight grabs for a game-high 82 yards. Overall, Alabama ran the ball 53 times for 272 yards and four touchdowns, gained 35 first downs and averaged 7.02 yards on its 86 snaps.

Guarantano’s second start was one to forget. Immediately. He completed 9-of-16 passes for 44 yards with an interception and was credited with minus-12 rushing yards on 11 carries. As a team, Tennessee amassed 108 yards of total offense with seven first downs and converted 1-of-12 third down opportunities. The Vols ran only 46 offensive plays and averaged 2.35 yards on those plays.

The result marked Alabama’s 11th straight win in the series — beginning with Nick Saban‘s first season — and matched the record winning streak in a rivalry that dates back to 1901, matching Alabama’s 11 straight victories from 1971-81. Alabama is 32-14-1 against Tennessee since 1971.

Speaking of streaks, the win pushed Alabama to 8-0 on the year and 5-0 in the SEC, giving the Tide 31 straight regular-season wins and 22 consecutive victories against the SEC.

No upset alert needed for Alabama as they are rolling over Arkansas at halftime

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It’s been a weekend full of upsets around college football, could No. 1 Alabama also be in the mix to suffer an improbable defeat?

No, not really.

At least it seems that way given the way the Crimson Tide were rolling over Arkansas, taking a  24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime over their SEC West rivals during a two quarter run that they controlled throughout.

Running back Damien Harris kicked things off at homecoming for Alabama, doing just what he did last week against Texas A&M by taking the first snap 75-yards to the end zone for another remarkable touchdown run. He finished the half with just five carries and 94 yards, scoring again before the first quarter was over to lead the offense. Jalen Hurts didn’t have to do much given such a strong running game, throwing for 94 yards with his arm and rushing for another 24 and a touchdown using his legs.

The score could have been even worse for the Hogs had Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III not fumbled two punt returns, the latter of which was recovered by Ryder Lucas just outside the red zone (though Arkansas had to put themselves). Ruggs was eventually replaced as the returner by Trevon Diggs but, you guessed it, he fumbled too before recovering in the one area that Nick Saban will absolutely light into his team about.

Razorbacks signal-caller Cole Kelly made his first start in place of Austin Allen but probably would wish his older counterpart was under center given the amount of pressure he faced from that Bama front seven. He threw for 103 yards and was sacked twice, but the lack of a running game (0.7 yds/carry) is the real issue for the team if they want to even keep this one close as the second half rolls around.

We’ve seen a bunch of upsets already this week in the sport but the top team in the country is certainly taking care of business to avoid becoming the next victim based on what we’ve seen in Tuscaloosa so far.

Alabama WR Henry Ruggs is second commit to announce decision in cemetery

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It almost goes without saying that top high school talent in the state of Alabama is likely to go to one of two schools; Alabama or Auburn. The Crimson Tide added to a high-profile class Wednesday morning with the addition of four-star wide receiver Henry Ruggs from Montgomery, Alabama.

Rivals ranked Ruggs as the 19th best receiver in the nation and the fifth top recruit from the state of Alabama. Despite the location, Alabama was actually a little slow to get in the recruiting game for Ruggs, but when Alabama comes knocking it does not take long to pick up steam on the recruiting efforts. Ruggs reportedly chose Alabama over Florida State when it came time to make the final decision.

For Alabama, Ruggs is the second commitment in as many days to announce his decision by a grave. Defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis announced his decision by the grave of his friend, Tyrell Cameron. Ruggs did the same by the grave of his friend, Roderic Scott, in a commitment video.

Alabama is well on its way to securing one of the top classes in the country and has a very good shot at being crowned recruiting national champions once again.