The only thing that could stop Alabama in Columbia Saturday was a bolt of lightning. Even that merely delayed the inevitable. It looked as though Bama was playing in the shallow end, Missouri foundering in the deep end before a weather delay. After the lightning, the Tigers got a spark, but the Crimson Tide washed out the Tigers, 42-10.
The weather map was showing shifts in the storm that spread through Missouri throughout the morning. As it turned out, Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium was in rain from before the kickoff. Midway through the second quarter a lightning strike within six miles forced a mandatory stop to the game. Alabama was leading 27-0 as the 38-minute delay came between Bama’s fourth touchdown and the extra point try.
The Crimson Tide, ranked first in the nation, ran its record to 6-0 and 3-0 in SEC games. Missouri, new to the SEC this year, is still looking for its first conference win in four tries and is now 3-4.
Alabama stays in the SEC and also continues on the road next week when Bama goes to Tennessee. A game time and television coverage will be announced later.
Alabama had two tailbacks who rushed for over 100 yards and the Crimson Tide defense held Missouri to only three yards rushing and 129 total yards. Eddie Lacy rushed for a career high 176 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts and freshman T.J. Yeldon had a career high 144 yards and two touchdowns on 18 runs. Bama had 362 yards rushing and quarterback A.J. McCarron passed for 171 yards on 16 of 21 attempts with no interceptions. Alabama had 533 total yards.
Freshman Amari Cooper got his first start and had four receptions for 41 yards. Kenny Bell had two catches for 46 yards.
Bama had 68 plays and averaged 7.8 yards per play. Missouri had 57 plays and averaged 2.3 yards per play.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley led the Bama defense with 12 tackles, a sack for nine yards, and a fumble recovery.
Bama had 21 first downs to 9 for Missouri. The Tide had an uncharacteristically bad day from a penalties standpoint drawing seven flags for 62 yards. Missouri had two penalties for nine yards. Neither team was particularly good on third downs, Bama 2-9, Missouri 2-15. Alabama had a 13-minute time of possession advantage, 36:29 to 23:31.
Two big plays in the kicking game for each side resulted in a win for Alabama, the Tide getting two touchdowns, Missouri only one. The Tide got a blocked punt by Landon Collins and a shanked punt from the Tigers that led to touchdowns. Missouri scored its touchdown on a kickoff return, but after Bama botched a snap catch in a punting situation, the Alabama defense kept the Tigers off the board.
Alabama also scored touchdowns after interceptions by Vinnie Sunseri and HaHa Clinton-Dix.
It didn’t take Bama long to start roaring against the Tigers. On the first series of the game, Eddie Lacy capped a two-play, 75-yard drive with a 73-yard run. Lacy started at right end, cut back to the middle, juked the last possible tackler, and raced home. Only 45 seconds had elapsed when Jeremy Shelley kicked it to 7-0.
The defense set up the next Crimson Tide score. Missouri was having to play without starting quarterback James Franklin, out with a knee injury. Back-up quarterback Corbin Berkstresser didn’t deserve the interception when a pass popped out of his receiver’s hands. Bama safety Vinnie Sunseri tipped it up a little higher, then picked it off at midfield.
The 50-play drive started well with a flea flicker, Lacy taking the handoff, giving a lateral back to quarterback AJ McCarron, and McCarron connecting with Kenny Bell at the Missouri six. Two plays later Lacy went behind the latest Bama jumbo package, nose tackle Jesse Williams at fullback, for the score and a 14-0 lead with 6:07 to play in the first quarter.
Special teams got the Tide its next big break. Freshman safety Landon Collins blocked a Missouri punt, setting Alabama up at the Missouri 18. It took T.J. Yeldon three runs to get the touchdown. He went 16 on first down and took it over on second and goal for a 21-0 lead with 1:42 left in the first quarter.
A nice Christion Jones punt return to midfield had the Tide in good shape as the second quarter started, but on a third-and-three play from the Missouri 18 McCarron had to scramble and fumbled the ball away when he was hit. It was the first time this season Bama had been in the Red Zone (inside the opponent 20) and failed to score.
The Tide defense held, however, forcing a punt that gave Bama starting position near midfield again. This time the Tide cashed.
A short McCarron pass to Christion Jones ended up a 20-yard gain thanks to nifty running after the catch. Yeldon then went 19 yards to the Tigers 15. After a nine-yard Yeldon run and a holding call against the Tide, Yeldon took it 16 yards, finishing with a spectacular dive from the four-yard line along the sideline to get the ball into the end zone.
The weather delay came between the touchdown that made it 27-0 and Shelley’s extra point kick that made it 28-0. There was 8:40 to play in the second quarter when play was resumed.
Sixteen seconds after Shelley’s kick, the kickoff of Cade Foster had been returned 98 yards by Missouri’s Marcus Murphy. Andrew Baggett kicked the extra point and Bama’s lead had been cut to 28-7.
The Tigers had a chance to gain some real momentum just before an abbreviated halftime when Tide punter Cody Mandell let a snap go through his hands. But with the Tigers inside the Bama 10 with less than a minute until the end of the second quarter, Bama linebacker Adrian Hubbard blitzed and caused a fumble, leaving it 28-7 at intermission.
Missouri got the first points of the second half with a nice drive that finally got stopped at the Tide 23. Baggett kicked a 40-yard field goal to pull the Tigers to within 28-10 with 11:50 to play in the third quarter.
Things were ominous when McCarron was sacked on a third down play and suffered an injury to his knee (later described as only a bruise). McCarron, however, was able to return to the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, Missouri suffered a shanked punt and the Tide started at the Tigers 41. After a holding call, Lacy had a couple of runs for 13 yards and McCarron connected with Cooper to just short of the first down marker at the 31. Bama went for it with a Lacy run for six yards. He followed that with a run of 13. On a third-and-seven play at the Missouri 9, McCarron rifled a pass to Cooper at the two. Two plays later Lacy went in for his third touchdown and a 35-10 lead.
In the fourth quarter, a Missouri drive was stopped when Dee Milliner tipped a pass and HaHa Clinton-Dix picked it off at the Alabama 39 and returned it to the 46.
Blake Sims took over at quarterback and had the big play of the seven-play drive. A 36-yard run to the Missouri 11. Bama’s third tailback, freshman Kenyan Drake, had a 10-yard run to the one, then took it in for the touchdown two plays later. That finished the scoring at 42-10.
An unfortunate injury in the final minute resulted in Missouri tight end Eric Waters being taken from the field on a stretcher.