So far, it has been more questions than answers about this Alabama team. That isn't a criticism. It is true for a lot of teams, and only to be expected at this point. You can call this stretch what you want - prologue, or exhibition season, or a 3-0 start. But whatever you call it, it is over - and the real answers will have to start coming soon.
When the number two team in the nation takes on a winless team from the Sun Belt Conference, there are going to be areas of disappointment. Bama didn’t get much work on punting, kickoff returns, and goal line defense. But that doesn’t mean Alabama doesn’t have plenty to work on.
All or nothing. Big play or field goal. Sure, Alabama took care of North Texas 41-0 Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium, but it didn’t earn style points in the final tune-up before SEC play.
With a top-gun defense and a solid-and-sometimes-fantastic running game, the Crimson Tide needs somebody at quarterback who can handle things. That’s all. Just handle things. That’s what McCarron has done well in second-ranked Alabama’s first three games this season, including Saturday’s 41-0 home win over North Texas.
It’s pretty obvious McCarron has distanced himself more from Sims in running the offensive show than most figured would be the case three weeks into the season. That’s not a knock on Sims, but instead a compliment to McCarron for taking charge when given the opportunity.
AJ McCarron has quickly become a precision quarterback, especially on short routes. With the talented receivers on the other end of those passes, and with the talented running back corps that has already shown to be one of the country's best, the Tide should have no problems scoring on any team — except maybe LSU, which contends with Bama for the SEC's best defensive unit.
McCarron, who has started all three games, appeared to cement his place as the No. 1 quarterback completing 15-of-21 passes for 190 yards. Sims, who only played in the final two minutes at Penn State, looked more comfortable in his second game in front of 101,821 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama coach Nick Saban sounded less than impressed with the offense’s first-half execution, however, particularly when the offensive starters were lifted – or moved positions. For instance, left tackle Barrett Jones played at four of the five different spots on the offensive line in the first half. He saw action at center, right tackle and left guard as true freshman Kouandjio continued his crash course as a backup left tackle.
WHAT ALABAMA WON: A healthy portion of rest for the starters, and only a week before the Tide open their SEC schedule against highly dangerous Arkansas. And maybe just that extra ounce of preparation and confidence for McCarron as he gets ready for the biggest game of his young career.
The No. 2 Alabama football team dominated North Texas on both sides of the football Saturday night en route to a 41-0 victory before 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide totaled 586 yards on offense as junior running back Trent Richardson and sophomore running back Eddie Lacy both notched new career-high rushing marks.
In its illustrious history, Alabama (3-0) never has had two players rush for more than 150 yards in the same game until Saturday. Richardson and Lacy were the 12th Alabama tandem to eclipse 100 yards on the ground in the same game.
The University of Alabama got its breakthrough rushing performance of the young season Saturday night in a 41-0 win over North Texas as the Crimson Tide offense recorded a season-high 347 rushing yards. Running backs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy broke four touchdown runs - two each - of at least 43 yards as the Alabama ground game took command in the second half.
The special teams, on the other hand, didn't earn high praise from head coach Nick Saban. In a tune-up game for next week's test against Arkansas, all the special teams got some extra work in, but Saban wasn't happy with how many times he had to run the field-goal unit out onto the field, or how that unit performed.
Alabama's predictable power was overwhelming. What mattered most was the Crimson Tide earned a 41-0 victory including its first shutout in two years. The last one was a 45-0 win against Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2009.
What concerned Saban was the fact that North Texas recorded seven tackles behind the line for 26 yards in losses. Four of those were sacks. The Tide sometimes stalled, having to settle for four field-goal attempts, of which it made only two.
Alabama (3-0) shut down UNT’s running game, bottled up the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards in Brelan Chancellor and made life generally miserable for the Mean Green. UNT (0-3) finished with just 169 yards of total offense — its lowest total since finishing with 95 yards in its 2006 season-opener against Texas.
Alabama went on to score two touchdowns and two field goals in the first half. For the game, the Tide scored on only three-of-five red zone chances.
Alabama's physical, aggressive defense set the tone against a team that is now 1-42 against ranked opponents and is off to its fourth 0-3 start in five years. North Texas had 25 yards and one first down in the opening half and only crossed midfield twice. Leading rusher Lance Dunbar gained 16 yards on 17 carries.
The Alabama defense played a near perfect game. The Tide held the Mean Green to a total of 169 yards on 62 plays. Those numbers average out to less than three yards a play. Alabama put constant pressure on North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson and never let him get into a rhythm. Thompson finished the game 11-of-22 with only 80 yards.
No. 2 Alabama's rushing attack proved too much for the Mean Green Saturday night as the Crimson Tide defeated North Texas 41-0 in front of 101,821 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.