COLUMBIA, Mo. — A lightning delay may have slowed Alabama down, but it didn’t keep it from staying atop the college football world.
Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined for 322 yards and five touchdowns, and the defense completely dominated Missouri’s injury-riddled offense Saturday in a 42-10 Southeastern Conference win.
With a steady downpour soaking the sellout crowd of 71,004, Lacy quieted most of it on the second snap, taking a simple stretch play off right tackle for a 73-yard touchdown.
“That was a well-blocked play and a great run by Eddie,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said.
“It was a punch to the gut,” Missouri wide receiver L’Damian Washington said. “You start out the game and momentum can go either way, you have the crowd on your side, and they took the momentum first.”
Lacy finished with 177 yards on 18 attempts, tacking on scoring runs of 3 yards and 1 yard before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with a bruised hand. He spearheaded Alabama’s season-high 390-yard rushing effort.
Yeldon contributed 144 yards on 18 carries, finding the end zone on rushes of 1 and 15 yards. The latter score, capped by his leap of more than five yards to break the plane of the goal line, was the last play before lightning struck within six miles of Faurot Field.
Before the Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0) could tack on the extra point for a 28-0 lead, referee Tom
Ritter sent both teams off the field for what turned out to be a 40-minute delay. The Tigers (3-4,
0-4) gave what remained of the audience a thrill when Marcus Murphy lugged the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for their only touchdown.
Missouri’s offense, missing starting quarterback James Franklin (left knee) and center Mitch
Morse (left knee), managed just nine first downs and 129 total yards. It rushed for just 3 yards on
Missouri redshirt freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser completed 12 of 29 passes for 126 yards and was under constant pressure, getting sacked three times and being hit on several other throws.
The Tigers frequently used five wide receivers or split their running backs out, but their line
simply wasn’t able to afford Berkstresser the protection required to generate a passing game against a stingy defense that has allowed just 45 points through six games.
“That’s the thing about putting five guys (in the pattern),” Saban said. “You’re asking five
linemen to hold out the pass rush. We were able to get pressure with four, and when we blitzed, we made some plays.”
The biggest came from Adrian Hubbard, who denied Missouri at least a field-goal attempt in the first half’s dying seconds with a blind-side sack of Berkstresser near the Alabama 20, forcing a fumble that C.J. Mosley recovered.
“It’s just a matter of going out there, no matter what the conditions, and doing your job,”
cornerback Dee Milliner said of the defense.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was his normal efficient self, completing 16 of 21 passes for 171 yards before leaving midway through the fourth quarter. McCarron limped off the field with
assistance after being sacked by Sheldon Richardson in the third quarter but didn’t miss a play.
Richardson, who said Georgia played “old-man football” before the Tigers’ SEC debut last month, snarled at a questioner who asked if he has seen any differences between the SEC and their old conference -– the Big 12.
“I’m tired of talking about it,” Richardson said. “I’d rather not answer any more questions about
Meanwhile, the Tide continue to provide all the answers to any questions.
“They were the better football team,” Richardson said.
Notes: Saban and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel agreed to shorten halftime to five minutes because of the weather delay. Except for a couple of players on each team that ran to the locker room when time expired, both teams stayed on the field during the brief break … This was the teams’ first meeting since 1976, when Alabama notched a 38-20 win. The series is now even at 2-2 … Murphy’s kick return was his fourth of the season, a Missouri season record. He has three punt returns for scores this year … The crowd thinned considerably after the delay, with perhaps 35,000 or so sticking around.