TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts amassed a career-best 156 rushing yards to go along with two scores on the ground and one through the air as the top-ranked University of Alabama football team dominated Fresno State, 41-10, in the Crimson Tide’s 2017 home opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Hurts’ career day on the ground marked his fourth 100-yard rushing game at Alabama. The Houston native’s previous career high came last season on Sept. 17 against Ole Miss when he compiled 146 rushing yards in a 48-43 victory.
Hurts also went 14-of-18 for 128 yards and a touchdown through the air to lead the Tide offense. With 231 yards of total offense in the first half, Hurts surpassed 4,000 yards of total offense in his Alabama career. Freshman Najee Harris led all running backs with 70 yards on 13 carries in the win.
The Crimson Tide (2-0) outgained the Bulldogs (1-1) in total offense, 497-274, including 305-58 on the ground.
Sophomore defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and junior defensive back Ronnie Harrison led the Alabama defense with a team-high eight tackles apiece while redshirt senior defensive back Anthony Averett compiled four tackles to go along with an interception.
Alabama only needed two plays to score the first touchdown of the game after returning Fresno State’s opening kickoff to the UA 27-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Hurts threw a screen pass to senior wide receiver Cam Sims for an 18-yard gain. Hurts followed that with a 55-yard touchdown scamper on the next play, outracing three Fresno State defenders into the end zone to give the Tide a 7-0 lead over the Bulldogs with 14:21 left in the opening quarter.
After a Fresno State three-and-out, Alabama started its second drive of the game on its own 38-yard line. Facing a third-and-10, Hurts accelerated up the middle for a 17-yard gain to keep the Tide drive alive. With the ball on the Fresno State 25, junior running back Bo Scarbrough converted a fourth-and-one to once again give the Tide a fresh set of downs. On the following play, Hurts found a wide-open junior tight end Hale Hentges down the seam for a 23-yard touchdown pass, putting the Tide up 14-0 with 8:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Fresno State responded by going 70 yards on nine plays to set up a 27-yard field goal, making it 14-3 Alabama with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
The Tide answered right back with a scoring drive of its own, marching 75 yards on 11 plays, capped by Hurts second rushing touchdown of the game, giving Alabama a 21-3 lead with 14:25 left in the first half.
Following back-to-back Bulldog punts, the Crimson Tide drove the ball down the field with ease, using six plays and amassing 77 yards in just 2:29, finishing the drive with a five-yard touchdown run by junior running back Damien Harris. Alabama held a 28-3 lead over Fresno State at the half.
The two teams traded punts to begin the second half, before the Tide gained 53 yards on 11 plays, to set up senior place kicker Andy Pappanastos for a 24-yard field goal, extending the Alabama lead to 31-3 with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter. During that drive, Hurts went over 3,000 career passing yards.
In the fourth quarter, with the Bulldogs controlling the ball at their own 20-yard line, Averett, picked off a Fresno State pass at the 34-yard line and returned it 30 yards to the UA 4-yard line. The interception led to a Pappanastos 22-yard field goal, pushing the Tide lead to 34-3 with 7:08 left in the game.
Late in the contest, Fresno State used a 26-yard touchdown pass to cut the Alabama lead to 34-10 with 6:06 remaining in the contest.
The Tide offense responded with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leading Alabama down the field covering 75 yards in eight plays, capping the drive with 16-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. It was the first Crimson Tide touchdown for both Tagovailoa and Ruggs. Alabama’s 41-10 lead held up over the final 2:41 of the game.
Alabama returns to action Saturday, Sept. 16, with its second home game in a row, against Colorado State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. CT with the game airing live on either ESPN or ESPN2.