TUSCALOOSA — The No. 1-ranked Alabama football team posted a dominant performance in its final home game of the 2017 season, accumulating 530 yards of total offense in a 56-0 shutout over Mercer Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
With the win, the top-ranked Crimson Tide remains undefeated at 11-0 while the Bears fall to 5-6 on the year.
Alabama’s 530 yards of offense were split evenly with 265 through the air and on the ground, averaging 8.8 yards per play. The Tide’s quarterbacks were a combined 14-18 with six touchdowns while the running back corps accounted for a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts was 7-7 passing for 180 yards and three touchdowns, which moves him to fifth on Alabama’s career touchdown passes list with 37 in his 26-game UA career. One of Hurts’ three touchdowns went to junior receiver Calvin Ridley, who finished the day with a team-leading 103 yards on three catches. The touchdown catch moves him to third on the UA career touchdown receptions list with 17 and his 2,672 career receiving yards ranks fourth.
On the defensive side of the ball, freshman linebacker Dylan Mosesled the team with a career-best 11 tackles, four for loss, and added his first career interception at the end of the first half. In total, Tide defenders held the Bears’ offense to 161 total yards and stopped them on 11 of Mercer’s 16 third-down conversion attempts.
Alabama scored on the opening drive of the game when Hurts connected with sophomore tight end Irv Smith Jr. for an eight-yard touchdown pass. The point after attempt from senior JK Scott made it 7-0. Following a missed field goal on Mercer’s ensuing drive, the Tide made it a two-score game with a 38-yard pass to sophomore Josh Jacobs setting up freshman running back Najee Harris for a three-yard touchdown run.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Hurts floated a deep pass to Ridley down the sideline for a 66-yard touchdown, increasing the UA lead to 21-0 following Scott’s PAT. Senior defensive back Hootie Jones intercepted the Bears’ first pass on the next drive to quickly put the Tide offense back on the field and the resulting two-play drive ended with a Hurts’ seven-yard shovel pass to Jacobs for a touchdown, moving Alabama ahead 28-0 after the PAT. A 44-yard run from junior running back Bo Scarbrough on the Tide’s next possession put Alabama at the goal line and freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Hale Hentges. The successful point after from Scott swelled the lead to 35-0. With time winding down in the first half, a Crimson Tide turnover allowed Mercer to recover the ball at midfield but Alabama regained possession soon after with an interception from Moses. The first half ended with the score still 35-0.
The first score of the second half came at the 4:18 mark in the third quarter when Tagovailoa found senior receiver Cam Sims in the back corner of the end zone for the eight-yard touchdown pass and the point after from Scott made it 42-0. A deflected pass at the line on Mercer’s next drive turned into an interception for sophomore defensive back Deionte Thompson and freshman running back Brian Robinson Jr. went up the middle for the six-yard touchdown to put the Tide ahead 49-0.
Starting the fourth quarter in the red zone, Tagovailoa threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Derek Kief, who made the diving catch as the lead increased to 56-0 following Scott’s PAT. That would prove to be the final score of the game, as the Tide held on for the shutout.
Next week, Alabama resumes Southeastern Conference play on the road against Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.