NCAA Game Summary - Kent State at Alabama|
(Saturday, September 3rd)
Final Score: (2) Alabama 48, Kent State 7
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Trent Richardson ran for three touchdowns
and A.J. McCarron threw for 226 yards with a score, as second-ranked Alabama
opened the 2011 season with a 48-7 victory over Kent State at Bryant-Denny
Marquis Maze had eight catches for 118 yards with a touchdown and added 135
return yards for the Crimson Tide (1-0), who have won 10 straight season
openers and will take a step up in competition next week with a visit to Penn
State. Alabama followed up its national championship season of 2009 with a
mark of 10-3 last year, including a Capital One Bowl victory.
The Tide lost their three top offensive players from last year, as running
back Mark Ingram, wide receiver Julio Jones and quarterback Greg McElroy all
moved to the NFL.
McCarron, a sophomore, and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims battled all spring
and summer for the quarterback job. McCarron got the starting nod and
completed 14-of-23 passes with a pair of interceptions, while Sims saw plenty
of action in the rout and was also picked off twice while connecting on half
of his 14 throws.
Richardson ran for just 37 yards on 13 carries, while Eddie Lacy chipped in 58
yards on eight attempts. Lacy also had three catches for 76 yards as the Tide
rolled up 482 yards of total offense.
"It's always good to get a win under your belt," said Alabama head coach Nick
Saban. "There were a lot of things that we did well today. We ran a lot of
good plays, and we had a lot of players get experience. That experience also
brings a lot of learning opportunities for our young guys that play critical
positions. We have a lot to learn and a lot of things we can improve on."
Keith Spencer threw for 99 yards while completing 20-of-47 passes with a
touchdown and an interception for Kent State (0-1), Saban's alma mater. The
Golden Flashes, who were 5-7 last year, fell to 0-10 all-time against SEC
Kent State managed just 90 yards of offense, including minus-nine on the
"Well that was obviously not the way we wanted to start out," said new Kent
State head coach Darrell Hazell. "I'm frustrated that we didn't execute
offensively. We had a lot of guys playing hard and we got some turnovers on
defense, but we need to pay close attention to film next week and make some
McCarron's first series under center started at the Kent State 36 thanks to a
27-yard punt return by Maze and it took eight plays for the Tide to find the
end zone. Richardson did most of the work with five carries and scored from a
yard away for a 7-0 lead just under five minutes into the game.
Alabama got the ball back after another punt and McCarron quickly made it
14-0. He hit Lacy with a screen for 48 yards and threw a perfect pass on a
post route to Maze for a 24-yard score to cap a four-play, 74-yard drive.
Sims got his chance late in the first quarter, starting from the Kent State 34
after another good punt return by Maze. He completed one pass for 10 yards
after Lacy broke off a 20-yard run on the first play, and Richardson finished
the four-play set with a nine-yard touchdown run for a 21-0 cushion in the
final minute of the period.
After a couple of unsuccessful possessions for Sims, McCarron went back into
the contest late in the second quarter and threw an interception. His next
series ended with a 36-yard field goal for Jeremy Shelley with 1:35 left in
the half. Cade Foster had a chance to extend the Alabama lead on the final
play of the half, but missed a 53-yard field goal try.
Sims started the second half for the Tide and was picked off on each of his
first two possessions. The second pick was returned 37 yards by Norman Wolfe
to the Alabama three-yard line and Keith hit tight end Justin Thompson in the
end zone to put the Golden Flashes on the board with just over nine minutes
left in the third quarter.
McCarron was back for the next Alabama series and directed a 76-yard drive for
a score. He completed four passes for 65 yards, including a 16-yard toss to
Richardson that set up the back's one-yard plunge for a 31-7 lead.
Lacy scored on a one-yard run late in the third and Jalston Fowler scampered
49 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth before Shelley connected from 32
yards away late to account for the final margin.
"When you play with young players at quarterback, there's a lot of things that
can happen," Saban said about his young signal-callers. "AJ, having a little
more poise, having played a little bit more, probably played with a little
more poise today, but we have a lot of confidence in Phillip and in most cases
he plays extremely well. I think he learned a lot out there today and I think
he will be a very good player for us here."
Fowler finished with 69 yards rushing on four carries...Alabama improved to
5-1 all-time against schools from the Mid-American Conference, losing only to
Northern Illinois in 2003...Kent State will play its home opener next Saturday
09/03 17:20:36 ET