Alabama offense makes quick work of Mercer in big winBy Matthew Speakman | 11/18/2017 3:21pm
Calvin Ridley had three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Alabama’s offense made light work of Mercer in a 56-0 win. The Crimson Tide scored touchdowns on its first five possessions.
Leading the way was quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Hurts was a perfect seven for seven for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Ridley had his second-straight 100-yard game, finishing with three catches for 103 yards and touchdown.
“I think Jalen was pretty efficient in what he did,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. ‘I think Calvin made a couple of big plays. It’s great to see him continue to move up.”
Alabama’s offense was about as efficient as it could be in the win. The Crimson Tide scored six passing touchdowns, which is the second-most in school history. The biggest play of the day came early in the second quarter. Hurts dropped back and fooled Mercer’s defense with a big pump fake.
After the fake, Ridley ran downfield and was wide open. He caught a deep pass for a 66-yard touchdown. This was another example of the connection that Hurts and Ridley have developed over the last two years.
“It’s definitely gotten better,” Ridley said. “Jalen has definitely gotten so much better. You know, I’ve gotten better. The connection is doing good. We do the same things in practice, make the same throws.”
With his performance, Ridley passed former Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones to move up to third all-time in career receiving yards for Alabama.
“Everybody comes in wanting to do great things,” Ridley said. “I didn’t see myself doing stuff like this, but I’m happy that I am.”
Outside of Hurts and Ridley, running back Josh Jacobs made big plays for Alabama for the second-straight week. Jacobs had 41 yards on six carries, but also finished with 45 yards on two catches. His biggest play came on a 38-yard pass from Hurts to get Alabama inside the five.
Jacobs’ teammates all agree that he gives them the energy they need when he comes in the game.
“Every time he comes in, he’s that spark plug,” wide receiver Cam Sims said. “When he come in, just know that he’s going to make something happen.”
Sims, himself, had a meaningful touchdown. On senior day, he caught only the second touchdown of his career. It came on a fade route from Tua Tagovailoa. Sims prides himself on making difficult catches.
This one was one of his finest, and he knew he was going to catch it no matter who was in his way.
“I was like, ‘Man I’m catching this ball,’” Sims said. “I don't care who was in front of me. It could've been like a 7-foot dude. I was still going catch that. I had to.”
Alabama took care of business and now it’s on to the team’s biggest game of the season. Alabama will face Auburn in what serves as a winner-take-all game for the SEC west.
“I wanted our players to play to a standard, try to create momentum as we move along in the season,” Saban said.