College Football around Alabama: Breakthrough Weekend
Only a few regular season games remain in the 2017 season, but for teams around the Yellowhammer State, there is still a lot on the line.
All seven of the state’s FBS and FCS teams picked up critical wins including Auburn’s humiliation of Georgia.
In addition to Auburn and Alabama’s wins in SEC play, several teams are positioning themselves for postseason runs in the FCS or Division II playoff scenes.
Auburn’s Domination of No. 1 Georgia
Before Saturday’s big game inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Georgia Bulldogs were riding high off a 9-0 start and appeared to have an inside track to nab one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff.
Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers quickly silenced that discussion as they manhandled top ranked Georgia 40-17.
After surrendering 70 yards on Georgia’s opening touchdown drive, Auburn allowed just 160 total yards for the rest of the game.
A big reason for their success came at the line of scrimmage as Georgia rushed for 46 yards while Auburn racked up 237 yards on the ground. Kerryon Johnson led all rushers with 167 yards on 32 carries while Jarrett Stidham lit up the scoreboard for four total touchdowns including three through the air.
Troy’s Record Setting Day at Coastal Carolina
The Troy Trojans sailed past the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 42-17 from Conway, South Carolina.
Freshman kick returner Marcus Jones tied an NCAA record with two kickoff returns for touchdowns. Jones returned the game’s opening kickoff 91 yards while taking his second return of the game 87 yards for a score. He became the 24th player in NCAA history to returns two kickoffs for a touchdown in a single game.
Senior running back Jordan Chunn also became the program’s all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns thanks to his 8-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
The victory keeps Troy in a three-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt Conference along with Georgia State and Appalachian State.
Jacksonville State Wins their Fourth Consecutive OVC Title
No. 2 Jacksonville State added one more piece of hardware to the trophy case as they slipped past UT-Martin 14-7 in their final road game of the regular season.
With the win, the Gamecocks clinch a share of the OVC title and have now won a conference title in each of the last four seasons.
Running back Roc Thomas accounted for both of JSU’s touchdowns but it was the defense that carried the Gamecocks to the win.
Senior defensive end Darius Jackson took home OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors as he recorded five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble in the win.
As a team, Jacksonville State limited UT-Martin to 176 total yards including 48 on the ground.
Samford Blows Out ETSU
No. 14 Samford took care of ETSU 42-7 on Homecoming.
The Bulldogs shot out to 14-0 lead after one quarter of play and took a 35-7 advantage going into halftime.
The Samford defense held ETSU to 211 total yards while forcing four ETSU turnovers including a 28-yard pick six from junior linebacker Christian Stark.
Quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
UWA Receives First Round Bye in Division II Playoffs
No. 21 West Alabama wrapped up the regular season with a 29-26 win over North Greenville.
UWA’s defense caused five turnovers by North Greenville while quarterback Harry Satterwhite threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns.
The Tigers go into the Division II Playoffs with a 9-2 overall record and will have a first round bye as the top seed out of Super Region Two. The playoff appearance is the programs first appearance since 2012.
In addition to West Alabama and Delta State, West Georgia and West Florida will also make postseason appearances out of the Gulf South Conference.
UWA will play the winner of Bowie State vs. Delta State on November 25.
UNA Plays Final Game in Division II
The North Alabama Lions closed out their history in Division II with a 16-7 win over Mississippi College.
The Lions scored their first and only touchdown of the game in the first quarter thanks to Matt Markham’s 29-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Dre Hall.
Placekicker scored the team’s final nine points on field goals from 29, 32 and 37 yards.
#2 Alabama 31 #16 Mississippi State 24
#10 Auburn 40 #1 Georgia 17
Troy 42 Coastal Carolina 17
UAB 24 UTSA 19
South Alabama 24 Arkansas State 19
Jacksonville State 14 UT-Martin 7
Samford 42 ETSU 7
West Alabama 29 North Greenville 26
North Alabama 16 Mississippi College 7
Grambling State 24 Alabama State 7
Jackson State 10 Alabama A&M 7
Tuskegee 13 Fort Valley State 6
(SIAC Championship Game)
Huntingdon 27 LaGrange 17
Faulkner 49 Edward Waters 3
Centre 42 Birmingham Southern 17