TUSCALOOSA – Alabama’s sloppy play combined with University of Tennessee- Chattanooga (UTC) enthusiasm made for a grinder of a game, with the Tide coming out on top 31-3.
The UTC Mocs were the first and only team to tack on points in the first quarter, netting just a 47-yard field goal by Henrique Ribeiro with 5:22 left in the quarter. Alabama made an effort to come back, however, the lack of completions and depleted backfield didn’t leave the Tide many options, as they trailed after the first.
Jalen Hurts got it going with his arm strength as he aired out a 47-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley on a seven-play 75-yard drive to take a 7-3 lead. Following a muffed punt return by the Mocs, Bama took over at UTC’s 9-yard line. Four plays later Hurts connected with Gehrig Dieter for a 1-yard TD pass, upping the Tide’s lead to 14-3 heading into the half.
“I am a little embarrassed by the way we played this half. I don’t think we played very well on offense. We are getting rid of the ball too slow, we aren’t pass protecting well and we aren’t running the ball with any consistency,” said Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.
“Defensively, we haven’t stopped them like we should. We have to play better. We are just not playing well,” Saban finished.
Alabama came out a bit more aggressive on both sides of the ball but it wasn’t until late in the third quarter when the Tide’s Damien Harris had a 25-yard run in for the easy touchdown, completing a four-play drive netting 43 yards.
The Tide extended their lead to 24-3 at the start of the fourth quarter with a chip shot field goal. As UTC made an attempt to get off their side of the field, Alabama forced a fumble, recovering it with less than five minutes left in the game. Hurts hits Deiter for his second TD catch of the evening, giving the Tide a blowout at the end of the game, with a score of 31-3.
Alabama stays at home next Saturday as the Tide hosts longtime instate foe Auburn University for the annual Iron Bowl.
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