Alabama's Blake Sims dodges a blitz from Georgia State's Tarris Batiste during Alabama's 45-3 victory Saturday. | Joy Harris
Alabama's Blake Sims dodges a blitz from Georgia State's Tarris Batiste during Alabama's 45-3 victory Saturday. | Joy Harris

Archived Story

Sims gets plenty of work during rout of Georgia State

Published 10:42am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Joy Harris
Special to the Enquirer

TUSCALOOSA – The University of Alabama was able to let less experienced players have substantial time on the field Saturday during their 45-3 blowout victory over the Georgia State University Panthers.

Second string quarterback Blake Sims was put in the game as early as the second quarter, leaving starting quarterback AJ McCarron with only 26 minutes of playing time. Head coach Nick Saban said this was the first time Sims had been able to call his own plays, which gave him valuable experience.

“Blake has made a significant improvement as a quarterback,” Saban said. “This is probably the first time that he has really played where we really allowed him to sort of run the offense. And when we put him in there today I said, ‘Look, I don’t want to run any quarterback runs. He needs to run the offense just like he has to play.’ And I thought he did a really good job.”

Sims spoke on how grateful he was to the coaches and his teammates to be put in that influential position during Saturday’s game.

“I am so blessed coach gave me the opportunity today to get out there and do well,” Sims said. “I feel like the coaches, AJ and the other quarterbacks help keep me calm. We all believe and trust in each other. They keep reminding me to focus on the next play, the next call. I’m just blessed because many guys don’t get this opportunity.”

Defensive players who experienced more playing time than usual were Jonathan Allen, Dillon Lee, Reuben Foster, Xzavier Dickson, John Fulton, Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams and Geno Smith. Offensive players with increased time on the field included Kellen Williams, Grant Hill, Jalston Fowler, Dee Hart and Chris Black.

Four true freshman started the game, with Cole Mazza at long snapper, O.J. Howard at tight end, A’Shawn Robinson on the defensive line and Eddie Jackson at defensive back. This was Mazza’s first start of his career at Alabama.

Junior offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio praised the newer players for their performance Saturday.

“The offensive line played great,” Kouandjio said. “Some younger guys got some experience, and we can move forward from there. Most everyone played well for the most part. I have full faith and confidence in the guys who line up next to me, the coaches and in myself. It’s different with new guys, but they are getting in there and getting experience.”

Despite the young talent on the field, the Tide was able to swiftly gain control of the game. UA made 31 first downs and scored on seven of their 10 drives. Six of those scoring drives were touchdowns.

During his short playing time, McCarron broke former UA quarterback Ken Stabler’s school record for highest completion percentage with 93.75 percent. McCarron also tied the school record for most completions in a row at 12, not missing a single pass in the first quarter and going 15-16 overall.

Saturday’s game brought the Homecoming celebration to an end, crowning Bella Wesley UA’s 2013 Homecoming Queen at halftime. Next week the Crimson Tide will face the University of Kentucky in Lexington at 6 p.m.

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