Crimson Tide Drowns Governors in Penultimate Regular Season Game
Alabama downed the Austin Peay Governors 34-0 in a quietly dominant performance at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Sloppy play was abundant for the Tide in the sparsely attended game, but the team was able to do enough to win by five scores and shut out their opponent.
The offense was able to put up over 500 yards which were fairly evenly split between the air and ground. The defense forced three turnovers to match the three that went to Austin Peay and only gave up 206 yards.
Despite the slow start and early struggles with turnovers, Alabama proved to be the indisputably better team on the field in all facets of the game.
Things started rough for the Tide. After taking the opening kickoff out of the end zone, Alabama started their first possession on its own 8-yard line. Despite the field position, the offense drove the ball all the way to the other end zone in 13 plays, leaning heavily on Jase McClellan, who had a proper breakout game, and capped the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown run.
After Austin Peay went three and out on its first possession, the ensuing punt hit Kendrick Law on his back and was recovered by a Governors specialist to help Austin Peay maintain possession.
Austin Peay's fast-paced offense moved down to the Alabama 3-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. On the next drive, Alabama turned the ball over for a second time. Isaiah Bond hauled in a reception from Bryce Young, but Austin Peay's Demetries Ford was able to rip the ball away from him before he hit the ground.
The Governors drove down the field but came away scoreless again, this time after missing a 25-yard field goal attempt.
Running the football was proving time and again to be the answer for Alabama as it eclipsed 100 rushing yards in just the first quarter.
Alabama's next score came from Jermaine Burton, who had his first 100-yard game as a member of the Crimson Tide. Burton hauled in a 4-yard pass from Young to make the score 14-0 halfway through the second quarter.
On Austin Peay's next possession, Koll-Aid McKinstry recorded his first interception of the season, giving Alabama the ball back at the Governors' 45-yard line. Eight snaps later, Will Reichard further extended his record for most points in school history by putting the ball through the uprights, making the score 17-0.
McClellan finished the first half with 136 yards rushing and a touchdown. Roydell Williams finished with 35.
Austin Peay finished the first half with admirable offensive production, albeit without scoring. The Governors were able to gain 129 yards in the opening two quarters.
The second half scoring mirrored that of the first with touchdowns from McClellan and Burton and a field goal from Reichard.
McClellan's second touchdown came on Alabama's second possession of the half. He finished off the drive with two runs, including the score, after Young was able to hit a wide open Burton to advance the ball 50 yards to the Austin Peay 15.
The Tide defense made another big stop on Austin Peay's ensuing possession. The defense produced a three and out. The Governor's then attempted to convert a fourth and four from their own 39 yard line, but fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Damon Payne, Jr. at the Austin Peay 29.
On the Alabama possession that followed the ordeal, Reichard hit his second field goal, this one from 30 yards out.
Alabama's next drive resulted in its final score of the day, a 10-yard strike from Young to Burton to make the game 34-0.
Jalen Milroe went in with the first team players after that and drove the ball all the way to the Austin Peay 28 before throwing an interception. Ty Simpson came in for mop-up duty with the second team for the final drive of the day and completed both of his passes, including one to Tyler Harrell.
Nick Saban was asked in his post game press conference why he chose to keep his starters in for so long against an FCS opponent.
"We're trying to develop our team. I want Jalen Milroe to be able to play in the game with good players, so he played one drive with that group, and then we put the second team in," said Saban.
McClellan finished the game with 156 yards and two touchdowns on 17 attempts.
"I'm just showing what I'm capable of," said McClellan. "I'm feeling healthy now. During the season I was getting back from injury, first time playing football in a while. So, I'm feeling good now."
Saban also provided updates on some key injuries. Tyler Steen left the game with a twisted ankle and will be day-to-day. Jahmyr Gibbs is set to return to practice this coming week, along with Eli Ricks and Cameron Latu. Ricks has cleared concussion protocol at this point.
The Tide will conclude its regular season next week at home in the Iron Bowl. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CST.