TUSCALOOSA—A small letdown would occur for Alabama against UT-Chattanooga, but the Crimson Tide found a way to improve in the second half and earn a 31-3 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
True freshman Jalen Hurts moved to third place in school history for touchdowns in a single season (30), as he accounted for three against the Mocs. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 136 yards, while totaling 68 yards rushing on 16 carries. His output on the ground pushed him to 804 yards this season, surpassing former Tide quarterback Steadman Shealy (1979, 791 yards) for most in school history.
After getting just five carries in the first half, running back Damien Harris went to work in the final 30 minutes. He had 91 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Calvin Ridley led the team with seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. His 47-yard grab in the first quarter put the Tide on the scoreboard, and was his seventh touchdown catch this year. Gehrig Dieter recorded his first multi-touchdown game as an Alabama receiver, and first scoring opportunity since week one against USC. He brought in two 1-yard scoring receptions from Hurts, moving him to three touchdowns.
On defense, Ronnie Harrison led the squad with 11 total tackles.
Dalvin Tomlinson anchored the defensive line with eight stops, while Jonathan Allen and Tony Brown each had six tackles. Reuben Foster re-aggravated a previous injury in the first half, but returned to pick up five tackles.
As a whole, Alabama’s defense limited Chattanooga to 184 total yards (70 rushing) and no touchdowns. The Mocs converted just two third downs on 13 attempts, while the Tide forced four fumbles (recovered two).
Coach Nick Saban wasn’t pleased with the overall effort, but during his post-game presser, he told the media that he loved the energy shown in the second half.
“We played with a lot of grit and toughness,” Saban said.
“We knew that it would be a challenge for us this late in the season to get our guys to play at a high level. We wanted to build on the momentum and get everyone’s confidence to be where it would be good for next week.”
Saban mentioned the play of Alabama’s defense holding Chattanooga to three points, but said the offense needs to develop more consistency in the passing game.
“We were late on some throws,” he said.
“We took shots early. Hit on one and missed on others. The protection wasn’t very good. We broke down in the pocket a couple of times when he had people open, so I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Pretty or not, Saban and the Tide earned its 11th win of the season.