No. 8 Alabama (10-1, 7-0 SEC) did what the No. 8 team in the nation should do to an inferior opponent on Saturday, beating Chattanooga 66-10 on Senior Day.
The Crimson Tide made quick work of the Mocs, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. By getting off to a big lead early, Alabama was able to let the starters get extra rest and let the younger guys gain some quality playing time.
Alabama’s win on Saturday gives them an NCAA-best 16th consecutive season with at least 10 wins.
Here are some key takeaways from Senior Day.
Burton Shines On Senior Day
On Senior Day, Jermaine Burton led all receivers with 105 receiving yards on three catches. Jalen Milroe found Burton for a 56-yard catch on Alabama’s first play of the game. Three plays later, Milroe hit Burton in the endzone for a 5-yard touchdown. On Alabama’s second drive of the game, Milroe once again found Burton on a deep ball, this time for 44 yards. Burton wasted no time Saturday as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark just five minutes into the game.
Bama Finds a New Punt Returner
Last year, Kool-Aid McKinstry was one of the best punt returners in the nation, but this season has been a different story. On Saturday, McKinstry made a mistake by fielding a punt inside his own five and fumbled the ball. Alabama luckily made the recovery. This mistake was enough for Nick Saban to make the switch to freshman Caleb Downs. Downs took the opportunity and capitalized by returning a punt 85 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Reichard Takes Big Step Towards Record
Going into the game Saturday, kicker Will Reichard was just 22 points away from becoming the all-time NCAA points record holder. While 22 points seemed like an unattainable goal in one game, Reichard tried his best to prove everyone wrong. Reichard finished with 12 points by way of nine extra points and a 50-yard field goal, putting him just 10 points away from the NCAA record.
Young Running Backs Show Flashes of the Future
After building a big lead, Alabama was able to let some of the young guys get some playing time. Sophomore Jam Miller led all running backs with 77 yards rushing. Freshman Justice Haynes was also impressive, rushing for 42 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. Richard Young, another freshman running back, was also able to rush for a touchdown. Alabama’s future at running back seems to be in good hands.
Offensive Line Holds Up Again
The Alabama offensive line has been a work in progress all season long. Last week at Kentucky, the line had their first clean game allowing zero sacks. Alabama carried the momentum over to Saturday, putting up another good performance by allowing just one sack. The offensive line also did an excellent job blocking in the run game as the Crimson Tide rushed for over 300 yards.
Alabama will finish the regular season November 25 on the road at Auburn with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT.
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