(Saturday, September 12th)
Final Score: (4) Alabama 40, FIU 14
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Trent Richardson ran for 118 yards and two scores on 15 carries, leading the fourth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to a 40-14 win over the Florida International Golden Panthers.
Greg McElroy threw for 241 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-24 efficiency for Alabama (2-0), which bested Virginia Tech in its season opener last week. Terry Grant and Mark Ingram each recorded a rushing touchdown, while Mike McCoy made five receptions for 100 yards and a score.
"I think we did a good job the entire game offensively, and I think we controlled the line of scrimmage and ran the ball effectively," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "Greg did a very good job of taking what they gave him. He was accurate and made good decisions."
FIU held a 14-13 lead in the second quarter, but the Crimson Tide responded with 27 unanswered points, outgaining their opponents, 516-214. The Panthers were held to just one yard rushing, while Alabama racked up 275 yards on the ground in the win.
Paul McCall completed 16-of-32 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown for FIU (0-1), which had five victories last season after going 1-23 over the prior two campaigns. Greg Ellingson caught five balls for 92 yards and a touchdown in defeat, while T.Y. Hilton returned a kickoff for a score.
"It's nice to put up points against a defense like that," McCall said. "We hung with them for three quarters of the game, but that's not going to do it. You don't get too many chances to play the fourth-ranked team in the nation and get shots like we got tonight. They are a good team, and they showed why they are ranked No. 4 in the country by the way they were able to finish tonight."
Alabama got out to a quick 10-0 lead. Leigh Tiffin capped off the game's opening drive with a 23-yard field goal, and the Tide took their next drive 80 yards in just seven plays.
McElroy found McCoy three times in the set for a total of 45 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown reception with 3:25 remaining in the period.
FIU answered quickly, though, as Hilton returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to make it a 10-7 game.
Tiffin made a 29-yard field goal to begin the second quarter and extend Alabama's advantage to six, but the Golden Panthers responded to go in front.
After the kickoff went out of bounds, FIU started at its own 40. Facing 2nd- and-17 from their own 49, the Panthers moved to the Tide's 36 on a pass interference penalty.
Three plays later, on 3rd-and-5, McCall found Hilton for 25 yards down to the six-yard line. After getting pushed back to the nine, FIU scored on McCall's touchdown pass to Ellingson for a 14-13 lead with 10 1/2 minutes until halftime.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Alabama went back in front for good, 20-14, on Ingram's two-yard touchdown run to cap a five-play drive that took just over two minutes. The Tide took the six-point edge to halftime.
The hosts extended the lead in the third, as Richardson rushed for a nine-yard score to cap a seven-play, 50-yard drive and make it 26-14 heading into the fourth after the extra point failed.
Alabama put the game away early in the fourth on a Richardson 35-yard rushing touchdown, and a Grant 42-yard scamper later in the quarter accounted for the final margin.
Alabama leads the all-time series, 2-0...FIU went 7-for-18 on third down opportunities, while Alabama was 3-for-10...The Panthers committed only one turnover, while the Tide did not turn the ball over in the contest...Crimson Tide wide receiver Julio Jones left the game in the first quarter with a bruised knee and did not return.
09/13 01:32:38 ET