Alabama Dominates in its Conference Opener
No. 2 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) had no problem on Saturday night against the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2, 0-1). The Crimson Tide defeated Vanderbilt 55-3 behind a strong effort from quarterback Bryce Young.
"We're getting closer to playing the way we'd like to play. The challenge is getting greater as we go," said Alabama football head coach Nick Saban.
Young had a spectacular first half for Alabama and went 25-of-36 for 385 yards in the game. Young surpassed his season-high in passing yards before the second quarter had ended.
Alabama had plenty to be proud of on the receiving end. Twelve different receivers had catches, with Ja'Corey Brooks and Jermaine Burton leading the way with 117 and 94 yards respectively.
"Ja'Corey is someone who's always ready," said Young. "He was doing a great job getting open. [He's] a really smart player. Really instinctual."
Brooks was targeted four times on Alabama's first scoring drive by Young and hauled in 68 yards and the score to put the Crimson Tide ahead 7-0.
Brooks had two receiving touchdowns and six catches. Young also found Traeshon Holden and Jahmyr Gibbs for first-half touchdowns, and Alabama led 31-3 at the half behind Young's 316 passing yards.
Alabama did suffer at least one injury in the winning effort. Defensive end Byron Young left the game in the third quarter with a lower-body injury. He was seen returning to the field in the fourth quarter on crutches. Saban said after the game that he had a sprained ankle.
Alabama held Vanderbilt to just 129 total yards and three points. Alabama transfer Joseph Bullovas scored the only points for the Commodores with a first quarter field goal. Alabama's defense has only allowed two touchdowns total this year.
"I think we took a really big step," said Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr.
Henry To'oTo'o and Deontae Lawson led the way for Alabama's defense with six total tackles each. Anderson had five total tackles and led the team with two and a half sacks.
"Will's a good player," said Saban. "He makes a lot of plays. He makes sacks. He plays hard. He prepares well. He's a great leader on the team. I'll talk about him for as long as you want to talk about him."
Freshman quarterback AJ Swann got the start at quarterback for Vanderbilt. He went 13-of-26 for 115 yards. The Alabama defense made him uncomfortable all game as they recorded three pressures and five sacks.
Freshman running back Jamarion Miller got in the game late for Alabama. The Tyler, Texas native had nine carries for 63 yards and scored his first two touchdowns in his Crimson Tide career.
Jase McClellan led the ground game for Alabama. The junior had 11 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown as Alabama continued its versatility on the ground utilizing seven different rushers for 228 yards total.
Alabama will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas next week to take on the No. 10 Razorbacks (3-1, 0-1). Arkansas is coming off a 23-21 loss to Texas A&M.