Young, Williams, No. 3 Alabama romp over New Mexico St 59-3

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For 44 seconds, No. 3 Alabama actually was trailing New Mexico State.

It didn’t take long for Bryce Young, Jameson Williams and the Crimson Tide to change that situation dramatically.

Down 3-0 late in the first quarter, Young threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Williams and Alabama went on to romp 59-3.

“I really challenged the team this week,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I told them it was kind of Judgment Day for us. We’ve been a little inconsistent.

“We don’t look at the scoreboard. It shouldn’t affect how we play. An opponent is faceless. It’s all about how we play,” he said.

Young passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Williams, and completed 21 of 23 passes in just over a half for the Tide (9-1, No. 2 CFP). Alabama rattled off seven touchdowns in 20 minutes for a 49-3 halftime lead over the Aggies (1-9).

Young became the first Alabama quarterback to complete his first 13 passes in a game, playing only one drive into the second half when he lost a fumble in New Mexico State territory.

The Aggies just couldn’t keep up with the speedy Williams, who caught six passes for 158 yards. He had touchdowns of 50, 32 and 7 yards and had a fourth called back because he stepped out of bounds.

Brian Robinson Jr. ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns – including a 63-yarder – all in the first half.

Jonah Johnson completed 19 of 30 passes for 129 yards for New Mexico State, which was outgained 587-138. Will Anderson Jr. had two of the Tide’s seven sacks.

“Offensively we really played hard,” New Mexico State coach Doug Martin said. “We were just really overmatched up front. But as far as the attitude and effort that our players had out there on both sides of the ball, it was really what you’re looking for.”

The Tide responded quickly and emphatically after that early Aggies field goal. The defense pitched a shutout on the final 10 drives.

“When we got back to the sideline everybody just honed in and calmed down,” Alabama safety Malachie Moore said.

THE TAKEAWAY

New Mexico State: Actually took the lead almost 10 minutes in on Ethan Albertson’s career-long 50-yard field goal. There weren’t a bunch of highlights after that.

Alabama: Dominated when it got going and gave some backups, like quarterback Paul Tyson, significant playing time. Tyson, the great-grandson of former Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, saw probably the most action of his career and completed 6 of 8 passes for 43 yards..

BAMA INJURIES

Alabama had several players have to be helped off the field with injuries: punt returner/wide receiver JoJo Earle, backup tailback Roydell Williams and safety DeMarcco Hellams.

“We lost Roydell, probably for a good while,” Saban said. “And JoJo probably not quite as serious but probably going to be out for a while.”

Tailback Jace McClellan was already out for the season and five-star freshman signee Camarr Wheaton hasn’t played with a knee injury, leaving two scholarship tailbacks. Saban said Hellams came into the game with a thigh bruise and got hit in that spot again, but could have returned.

QUOTABLE

Saban pointed to other highly ranked teams losing, plus Florida’s scare against FCS Samford when asked about his team’s apparent slow start.

“You want me to be critical of my team because we had to punt once in the first quarter and they got a field goal?” Saban said. “I mean, I’m not going to do it.

“I’m not going to be critical of anything that our players did when we win 59-3.”

UP NEXT

New Mexico State stays in SEC country with a visit to Kentucky.

Alabama hosts SEC West opponent Arkansas.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”

Pac-12 looking stronger at top after early-season losses

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When Oregon got throttled by top-ranked Georgia and Utah lost at Florida, it appeared as though the Pac-12 was headed toward another College Football Playoff miss.

One week into the season and two of the conference’s top teams had already failed big early tests.

Flash forward three weeks and it seems the Pac-12 might be in good shape after all.

The Ducks and Utes bounced back with big wins and the top of the conference looks strong, with four teams in the top 15 for the first time since 2016.

It’s still early, but the Pac-12 is putting itself in position to get a team through to the CFP for the first time since Washington in 2016-17.

A look at how the top of the Pac-12 is stacking up headed into the first weekend of October:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The No. 6 Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) seem to have quickly returned to glory in their first season under Lincoln Riley. The former Oklahoma coach brought quarterback Caleb Williams with him to Southern California and they have thrived through the first four games.

Williams has thrown for 1,054 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 100 yards and two more scores rushing. USC’s defense has been opportunistic, leading the nation with 11 interceptions while tied for the lead with 14 takeaways.

The Trojans survived a scare against scrappy Oregon State over the weekend to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012. USC has to play at Utah on Oct. 15, but avoids Washington and Oregon this season.

UTAH

The 12th-ranked Utes opened the season with a tough road loss at The Swamp in Florida, but have won three straight lopsided games.

Outside of a costly interception late against the Gators, quarterback Cam Rising has been sharp, throwing for 954 yards and 10 TDs. Utah (3-1, 1-0) has a physical defense and is third in the FBS, allowing 132.8 yards passing per game.

The Utes also have a veteran team that won the Pac-12 championship last season. The bad news: tight end Brant Kuithe, their leading receiver, is out for the season with a knee injury.

Utah plays Oregon State this weekend and has tough games against USC and Oregon still on the schedule.

OREGON

The Ducks’ playoff chances took an immediate hit with a 49-3 loss to reigning national champion Georgia in their opener.

No. 13 Oregon (3-1, 1-0) bounced back with a decisive win over a good BYU team and outlasted previously undefeated Washington State 44-41 last week.

The Ducks were no match for the Bulldogs in any aspect – few teams are – but have averaged 51.6 points the past three games. Oregon’s biggest weakness is its pass defense. The Ducks are allowing 72.5% of passes to be completed, third worst in the country.

Oregon’s biggest tests left in the season will come in back to back games against Washington and Utah.

WASHINGTON

The Huskies have made a quick turnaround in their first season under coach Kalen DeBoer.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been superb now that he’s healthy, throwing for an FBS-best 1,388 yards and 12 TDs with one interception. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) picked up a solid home win against Michigan State and has 15 sacks this season, including eight against Stanford last week.

The Huskies play their first road game at undefeated UCLA on Saturday and have to face Oregon on Nov. 12.

UCLA

After winning at Colorado for the first time since 2014 last Saturday, the Bruins (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) have their longest winning streak since winning the first eight games in 2005.

UCLA had a hard time getting past South Alabama and opened its Pac-12 schedule with a win against the struggling Buffaloes.

The Bruins will find out how good they are over the next three weeks, a brutal stretch that includes home games against Washington and Utah before heading to Eugene to play the Ducks on Oct. 22.