TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In a rare Thursday night game for Alabama, the No. 10 ranked Crimson Tide beat Georgia State Panthers 63-7 in front of a sold-out crowd of 101,821.
The Tide offense racked up 478 total yards (262 rushing, 216 passing) while the defense forced five turnovers, resulting in 35 Alabama points. Seven different Crimson Tide players scored touchdowns, led by junior wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished with two scores on the night to go along with seven catches for 86 yards. It was the first multiple score game of Jones' illustrious career.
Senior quarterback Greg McElroy finished a near perfect 12-of-13 for 159 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Mark Ingram totaled 102 yards of offense (86 rushing on 12 carries, 16 receiving on one reception) and a score. Freshman running back Eddie Lacy ran for 81 yards on 13 carries and a score as well for the Tide.
Additionally, C.J. Mosley became the first freshman linebacker in Alabama football history to have two interception returns for touchdowns in the same season following his 41-yard interception return for a touchdown at the outset of the second quarter. Moseley returned an interception 35 yards for a score earlier in the season in Alabama's 31-6 win over Florida.
"I was really pleased with the way our guys came out and played in this game today," UA head coach Nick Saban said. "We wanted to develop habits in this game that would help us in the future, and I was very pleased with the way we did that tonight. It was a short week so we had a different kind of preparation, but the intensity, the toughness and the effort in the way we played the game was the way we wanted to play. We wanted to try to play to a standard, and I was really pleased with the way we did that."
Alabama needed eight plays to cover 67 yards, resulting in a McElroy to Jones eight-yard touchdown pass to put the Tide up 7-0. On Georgia State's ensuing possession, junior safety Mark Barron notched his third interception of the year, picking off Panther quarterback Drew Little to give the ball back to Alabama.
Following the turnover, the Tide marched 71 yards in 11 plays, capping off the drive with a one-yard Ingram touchdown run to make it 14-0. After the Mosley interception return made it 21-0, the Tide needed just four plays to cover 72 yards on its next offensive possession, as McElroy found Jones for the second time to push the lead to 28-0.
Alabama would increase the score to 42-0 over the next two minutes courtesy of a pair of big special teams plays. On the ensuing Georgia State possession following the Jones touchdown catch, senior linebacker Chavis Williams blocked Bo Schlechter's punt and junior wideout Brandon Gibson recovered the ball and returned it 22 yards for an Alabama touchdown.
On the following kickoff, Alabama freshman kicker Cade Foster stripped GSU's Albert Wilson of the ball, forcing a fumble that Gibson ultimately recovered. Four plays later, Lacy rumbled into the end zone from three yards out to make it 42-0.
Three different Alabama players would score touchdowns in the second half as the Crimson Tide emptied its bench following halftime. Junior tight end Chris Underwood scored the first touchdown of his career, a seven-yard reception from freshman quarterback A.J McCarron, on the Tide's first possession of the second half.
Junior running back Demetrius Goode got in on the action as well, with a one-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that made the score 56-7. Freshman Jalston Fowler closed out the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter that pushed the Alabama lead to 63-7. It was Fowler's first career touchdown.
"I thought our players showed maturity in the way they handled this short week," Saban said. "I was pleased with the support that our fans gave us in coming out. It was exciting to be able to get so many guys the opportunity to play."
The Alabama defense did not allow a touchdown at home for the fourth time this year as Georgia State's only points came on a second-quarter kickoff return. Three players led the Tide with four tackles apiece as 32 different Alabama players saw action on defense. The Tide allowed just 165 yards and seven first downs to the Panthers, while forcing five turnovers (four interceptions, one fumble). Junior linebacker Chris Jordan and freshman cornerback DeMarcus Milliner each had their first career interceptions for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide hosts Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Friday, Nov. 26. The game is set for a 1:30 (CST) kickoff and will be televised by CBS.