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Posts of category  "Alabama"

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On a magical Friday night on the north side of Chicago, medical the World Series will arrive at Wrigley Field for the first time in the lifetime of everyone from Kyle Schwarber to David Ross, from Albert Almora to Joe Maddon, from Eddie Vedder to Bill Murray.

The last time, before this night, was Oct. 10, 1945. That was 25,950 days ago. That was 622,800 hours ago. That was a dozen presidents ago.

 

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Trailing 14-13 early in the third quarter, No. 1 Alabama reeled off the game’s final 20 points en route to a 33-14 win over No. 6 Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon. Nick Saban is the fourth Alabama head coach to win 20 games in a row.

Read the complete Alabama-Texas A&M recap

Pregame: The sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies return to Tuscaloosa Saturday to face the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in a match up of the Southeastern Conference’s last unbeaten teams.

 

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The rich got richer in the college football world Sunday, advice when the Alabama Crimson Tide landed a commitment from 4-star tight end prospect Major Tennison.

Ryan Bartow of 247 Sports reported the news and shared Tennison’s evaluation of the Alabama program: “They are the champs. They get great players and make them better. For me to be so highly regarded for them is hard to explain and a blessing. That’s a high honor. I feel like a lot of my hard work, discount blood, sweat and tears are paying off and coming to light.”

 

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Alabama rolls, Jalen Hurts emerges as the Crimson Tide's future

ARLINGTON, Texas – The look on Nick Saban’s face could have burned a village or melted a soul.

True freshman Jalen Hurts, a second after taking his first college snap, had fumbled the ball. Running the option with sophomore running back Damien Harris, Hurts didn’t let go of the ball in time and it bounded away. USC promptly recovered and Hurts felt the Saban stare.

“I’m pretty sure it was one of the ones I got before,” said junior wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, who talked to Hurts on the sideline after the fumble.

“You just turn your head and keep walking.”

Yet Hurts’ time under the fiery stare would be short lived.

Saban trotted Hurts out for the next series, the one after that and then one more until finally – at least it seemed like finally – the true freshman rolled right, planted at the 49-yard-line and uncorked a strike to Stewart.

It would be the first touchdown in what turned out to be a 38-0 Alabama run on the scoreboard in a 52-6 victory over No. 20 USC.

“I thought he settled in and did a nice job,” Saban, effusive as always, said of Hurts.

Despite the trio of drives that went for a total of 29 yards with Hurts in command and Alabama’s goose egg on the scoreboard, Saban stuck with the freshman. He could have audibled back to Blake Barnett, the redshirt freshman who started the game, or switched to experienced junior Cooper Bateman. Instead, Saban left the true freshman on the field.

As it turns out, Saban planned to all along. He said prior to the game either Barnett or Bateman would start. But he always intended to play Hurts on the third drive, and it appears the script for his time on the field was long.

“I never said Jalen Hurts wasn’t going to play,” Saban said. “It was the plan all along to figure out which one of those guys would start the game and manage best, and Jalen Hurts was going to have a role.

“We had a special plan for him.”

It appears, even if you have to read the subtext of Saban calling his other two signal callers “game mangers,” he’s identified the quarterback of the future in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama true freshmen aren’t allowed to talk to the media, but teammates were quite impressed by Hurts’ effort.

“Jalen is a very good athlete,” said junior center Bradley Bozeman. “He makes plays. It’s part of being here.”

“I see a lot of poise in him, maturity and focus,” said sophomore defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Hurts, ranked as the No. 3 dual-threat QB in the 2016 class per the 247Sports Composite, hails from Channelview, Texas and seemed to feel right at home in the Lonestar State. His numbers reflected that as he finished the night 6-of-11 passing for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, while rushing for 36 yards and another two scores.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound signal caller is a true dual-threat, providing an element that lifts the Crimson Tide offense from explosive to simply disruptive.

“He adds a dimension with his athleticism and his ability to run that I think is very effective,” Saban said. “I think that actually opened up the running game.”

After rushing for just 10 yards in the first quarter – Hurts saw two plays in the first frame – Alabama rushed for 232 yards the rest of the way.

There were times, however, when the true freshman played like, well, a true freshman.

Hurts’ fumble drew Saban’s ire, as will a third-quarter interception where Hurts attempted to throw a back shoulder fade to the right sideline, which USC corner Iman Marshal easily undercut after Hurts telegraphed the throw.

He also struggled with other things like identifying coverages and decision making.

You know, freshman things.

Those are fair criticisms of Hurts, but Saban’s willingness to stick with Hurts overshadows all of those issues.

Hurts, likely the first Alabama true freshman quarterback to start (at least next week) since at least the mid-70s (research is still ongoing, per Alabama Athletics), is the exception for both the Crimson Tide program and Saban, arguably the best coach in college football history. So there has to be a good reason for that right?

Saban, remarkably chatty and a little haughty about quarterbacks (yay media jokes!), isn’t willing to provide answers for the future just yet.

But the numbers certainly seem to indicate Saban’s reasoning.

While Hurts had control of the offense (from the end of the first quarter until the 7:10 mark of the third) Alabama outscored USC 38-0 and outgained the Trojans 240-55. He might not have been the only reason for Alabama’s outburst, but he certainly proved to be the catalyst.

“I think Jalen, each series that he played, got more comfortable,” Saban said.

Other than the freshman wrinkle in the quarterback battle, things were per usual for Alabama.

 

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