Young gets 6 TDs, No. 1 Alabama routs Utah State, 55-0

Utah State vs Alabama
Getty Images
0 Comments

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Bryce Young‘s five touchdown passes were nothing all that new for Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner.

That 63-yard sprint down the left sideline and other big runs presented a seldom seen side of his game.

Young didn’t just throw for those touchdowns – all in the first half – he even ran for 100 yards and a score in No. 1 Alabama’s 55-0 opening victory over Utah State on Saturday night.

It was, he said, a “cool” and “interesting” experience.

“I just try to do whatever is best for this team, whatever the defense gives us,” Young said. “That’s definitely interesting. It definitely wasn’t something I was planning. For me, it’s just taking whatever the defense gives us.

“Today that was just what was available. It’s cool.”

The Crimson Tide began their quest for national title redemption with a not unexpected start-to-finish domination of the six-touchdown underdog Aggies (1-1). Less anticipated: Young’s runs.

Known primarily as a passer with a penchant for scrambling and buying time, Young flashed his running ability more than he ever did last season, including a 63-yarder down the left sideline.

He also spread the ball around to Alabama’s new set of playmakers, with two touchdown passes to both Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton and Traeshon Holden and some handoffs to Jahmyr Gibbs.

Young ran five times after netting zero yards thanks to sacks last season with a previous long run of 16 yards. He also completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards before exiting one drive into the second half following his TD run.

“I see Bryce do that on the regular, so it wasn’t really new to me,” Alabama safety Brian Branch said. “Just watching him be himself out there is truly amazing. Playing with a Heisman winner, I can’t describe it.”

Gibbs, a much talked about transfer from Georgia Tech, flashed his speed with a 58-yard run on the first play after the half. He finished with 93 yards on nine rushes.

His backup, Jase McClellan, caught a pair of TD passes.

Alabama outgained the Aggies 559-136 in total yards.

“It is what it is, and I’ve seen people in the SEC come here and get treated exactly the same way,” Utah State coach Blake Anderson said. “We’re not built that way. We’re a long ways from being able to play that game physically and match up. Maybe we’ll never be able to.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah State, which finished last season ranked, had won two straight games against Power 5 teams and started off strong with a 23-yard gain. Then the offense stalled and the defense was overwhelmed by Young & Co. The Aggies couldn’t turn a late blocked punt into points.

Alabama: Spent the offseason stewing over a loss to Georgia in the national championship game and came in as the favorite to win the national title, according to FanDuel sportsbook. Then Alabama did pretty much what it wanted to against a mismatched opponent. The Tide put some new playmakers on display after losing receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III and tailback Brian Robinson Jr.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama didn’t do anything to diminish its status as the team to beat, but No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Ohio State got the chance to make much bigger statements. The Bulldogs beat 11th-ranked Oregon 49-3. The Buckeyes topped No. 5 Notre Dame, 21-10.

SIDELINED Louisville transfer wide receiver Tyler Harrell had a walking boot on his right foot and didn’t dress for the game. Tight end Cameron Latu also missed the game with a knee injury.

CHANNELING SABAN

Saban emphasized it wasn’t a perfect performance and there’s plenty of room for improvement. His players echoed that sentiment.

“It was good, but we still have stuff to work on,” Branch said. “It’s not like we played a perfect game.”

Added Saban: “No disrespect to Utah State – their players played hard, they’ve got a good little team. But we’re going to play teams that are much more physical and aggressive and talented than what they are, so we’re going to have to do things correctly.”

UP NEXT

Utah State hosts Weber State on Sept. 10.

Alabama visits a Texas team led by former Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Georgia No. 1 in AP poll for second time, with Alabama No. 2

enna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS- Georgia is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, earning their second national title by beating Alabama on Monday night.

The Bulldogs received all 61 first-place votes to be a unanimous No. 1 for the ninth time this season. Georgia’s only other time finishing No. 1 was 1980.

The Tide finished No. 2, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the final rankings for the third time since 2011.

Michigan was No. 3, the Wolverines best final ranking since winning the national championship in 1997 and their first top-10 finish since 2006.

No. 4 Cincinnati, which became the first team from outside the Power Five conferences to reach the playoff, finished with its best final ranking.

As did No. 5 Baylor. The Bears previous best finish in the AP poll was No. 7 in 2014.

Ohio State was No. 6 and Oklahoma State finished seventh. The Cowboys had their best finish in the poll since they were third in 2011.

Notre Dame was eighth, Michigan State was ninth and Oklahoma was 10th, giving the Big 12 three top 10 teams.

For Michigan State, its the Spartans first top-10 finish since a string of three straight from 2013-15. The two Big Ten schools from the state of Michigan last both finished the season ranked in the top 10 in 1999.

Utah was No. 12, BYU was 19th and Utah State was No. 24, marking the first time the Beehive State has had all three of its major college football teams finish the season ranked.

Clemson finished 14th, snapping a string of six straight seasons in which the Tigers were no worse than fourth in the final Top 25.

Utah State routs No. 19 San Diego State, wins Mountain West Championship

mountain west championship
John Cordes/Getty Images
0 Comments

CARSON, Calif. — Brandon Bowling caught two touchdown passes from Logan Bonner during the decisive third quarter, and Utah State won its first Mountain West Conference title with a 46-13 rout of No. 19 San Diego State on Saturday.

Bonner passed for 318 yards and four TDs, while fellow Arkansas State transfer Bowling had eight catches for a career-high 154 yards. The Aggies (10-3) punctuated their inspiring turnaround under first-year coach Blake Anderson by blowing out the short-handed Aztecs (11-2) for their first win over an AP Top 25 opponent since 2015.

Utah State earned a berth in the inaugural LA Bowl on Dec. 18 at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams’ multibillion-dollar arena located about 12 miles northwest of the site of this victory at San Diego State’s temporary home. The Aggies are likely to face Oregon State.

Jordon Brookshire passed for 117 yards before getting replaced by Jalen Mayden for San Diego State, which had its four-game winning streak snapped in the school’s most lopsided loss since a 35-point defeat at Ohio State in September 2013.

Utah State’s 46 points were the most allowed in Aztecs coach Brady Hoke‘s two stints and four seasons at SDSU.

The Aztecs played without starting tight end Daniel Bellinger, two additional tight ends, receiver Tyrell Shavers and at roughly a dozen other backups due to what the school termed “a medical concern.” San Diego State has declined to explicitly confirm any COVID-19 issues this season, but the current problems prevented the Aztecs from holding a full practice all week.

Bonner and Bowling followed Anderson from Arkansas State to Utah State, which hadn’t won a league title since its final year in the WAC in 2012. This surprisingly one-sided victory is the latest remarkable feat the Aggies’ first season under a coach who moved across the country a year ago still mourning the death of his wife, Wendy, from breast cancer in 2019.

Bowling caught a 58-yard TD pass moments after halftime, and he added a toe-tapping 18-yard TD grab late in the period that essentially finished the mistake-prone Aztecs, whose sturdy defense faltered on the brink of their first conference title since 2016.

Derek Wright and Justin McGriff also caught TD passes from Bonner, who went 29 for 42. Utah State’s high-powered offense decisively won its matchup with San Diego State’s elite defense, which had allowed a conference-low 17.3 points per game this season before getting shredded by the Aggies.

Bellinger was the Aztecs’ second-leading receiver this season with a modest 29 catches in an offense that didn’t produce a 400-yard receiver. The backup absences also could have affected the Aztecs’ special teams mistakes, which included a punt that went off the back of Matt Araiza’s blockers and through the end zone for a safety in the third quarter.

Bowling put the Aggies up 21-3 less than two minutes after halftime when the Aztecs’ defense lost track of him running alone down the middle of their secondary. San Diego State’s Jordan Byrd muffed a punt later in the third quarter, and Bowling made his second TD grab shortly afterward.

THE TAKEAWAY

Utah State: What a finish for the Aggies, who sprinted past the frontrunners at the tape to win it all. Anderson took over a team that went 1-5 amid a tumultuous coaching change last season, but his group already exceeded all expectations by making the Aggies’ first conference title game since their inaugural year in the Mountain West in 2013.

San Diego State: The Aztecs had a massive letdown after a resilient season under Hoke, who produced the first 11-win season in the school’s 99 years of football competition. The COVID problems mostly didn’t affect their starters, which means no asterisk should be attached to this dispiriting loss.

UP NEXT

Utah State: The first Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Dec. 18, likely against Oregon State.

San Diego State: Most likely the Arizona Bowl or the Frisco Bowl.