No. 1 Alabama blows out Kent State 48-0


Senior safety Nate Holley tackles an Alabama ballcarrier as junior defensive back Jerrell Foster looks on. Kent State’s Flashes played the Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. The Flashes lost 48-0.

Henry Palattella

Going into this Saturday’s matchup, all the talk was about how Alabama coach Nick Saban should use this game to establish his passing game.

Well, he did that and then some. True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 164 yards and a touchdown, and running back Joshua Jacobs ran for two touchdowns to help lead the Crimson Tide (4-0) over Kent State 48-0 (1-3.)

“Disappointed in the performance” Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said after the game. “I thought that we would actually play better. There were a lot of times that we gave them plays because we were undisciplined. We’ve got to make sure that we work (on those plays) this week and then get ready for Akron.”

Alabama’s offense dismantled the Flashes defense all afternoon, and Hurts was a key part of that. Hurts added 54 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

“I think (Hurts) is electric,” Haynes said after the game. “I think he does a really good job. They have dynamic wideouts so I think it makes it easier for him a little bit. He can just throw it up to those guys and (they) make plays. But then again what do you do (when you) sit there and try to double those guys and then they’re pulling it (with Hurts) and running the football.”

Hurts was not the only member of the Crimson Tide who hurt Kent on the ground, Joshua Jacobs led Alabama on the ground with 97 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jacobs—who came into todays game as the number three running back on Alabama’s depth chart – got a majority of the work in the backfield as Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough both suffered injuries in the first half. Harris came into today’s game leading the Crimson Tide in rushing.

“(Alabama) is a great football team,” Haynes said after the game. “They’re disciplined, they don’t beat themselves. I’m sure (Nick Saban) will find things they have to get better at, I’m sure he’ll nitpick (the game) like crazy like he does. That’s why they’re a championship team.”

Hurts was relieved by Blake Barnett (4-7, 55 yards and a touchdown) and Jacobs was relieved by Jalen Hunt (54 yards a touchdown.) O.J. Howard led the Crimson Tide with 60 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Minkah Fitzpatrick recorded one and a half sacks and one and a half tackles for loss. Reuben Foster led Alabama with seven total tackles.

Nate Holley led the Flashes with 14 total tackles, one of which was a sack.

Injuries struck on the Kent State side as well, as starting quarterback Mylik Mitchell hurt his hand late in the second quarter after being sacked. Mitchell was 2-7 for 10 yards before the injury. He was relived by George Bollas, threw for 71 yards through the air and added 26 yards on the ground. Bollas came within inches of scoring a touchdown, but his knee hit the ground before he dove for the pylon.

“George played a lot of football for us last year,” Haynes said. “So it’s good that he came in a did some things. We’ll see how long he goes this week (as the starter), but you got to get ready and start next week.”

Bollas was relieved in the games’ waning moments by Colin Reardon. Reardon—who started at quarterback for Kent the past three years—spent the offseason transitioning to play wide receiver. Reardon rushed for two yards and completed the only pass he threw.

Freshman Justin Rankin led the Flashes with 52 yards on the ground, 47 of which came on one run. Will Matthews led Kent in receiving with 43 yards on two catches. He was the only player on Kent to catch more than one pass.

Reardon and Bollas could both end up spending a lot of time behind center in the next couple games. Justin Agner started the season at quarterback but hurt himself against Penn State and has not played since, and Haynes described Mitchell’s condition as “not good.”

“We’ve lost two quarterbacks (this year),” Haynes said. “You hope (playing against Penn State and Alabama) helps you. Unfortunately, you take a risk of getting guys hurt, and we’ve got a lot of guys hurt in those two games.”

Henry Palattella is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].