TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Watch video highlights of the relaxed victory of No. 1 Alabama over Mercer in a college football game on Saturday (11). Photo Gallery
Quarterback Bryce Young threw three touchdown passes and Jase McClellan scored three times in Alabama’s 48-14 rout of FCS Mercer and we expected this kind of performance from the defending champion, to be honest.
Despite being the overwhelming favorites, the Crimson Tide (2-0) started the game sluggishly on offense in what amounted to a warmup game before the Southeastern Conference opener at No. 13 Florida, but potentially more notably had star linebacker Will Anderson Jr. leave with an apparent right leg injury.
In the end, Young went 19 of 27 on completed passes for 227 yards after coming out slow in just his second game as Alabama’s starter. Freshman JoJo Earle had seven catches for 85 yards and also had a 29-yard punt return.
Mercer (1-1) quarterback Fred Payton did burn Alabama for two big plays to wide-open receivers in the second half, a 60-yard touchdown to Devron Harper, and a 22-yarder to Ty James in the third quarter.
“This was a good win. Proud of our players for the way they played some of the time,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We probably didn’t play to the standard that we like to play to.
“I mean really what we are trying to do is create the kind of habits that create consistency in performance so that you can stack performance and get better and better and better.
“I think some guys did that today, and I think some guys probably didn’t. I think it is probably attributed to how you prepare, how you practice, the things that you do because that’s when you create habits, that’s when playing fast. Practice fast, you play fast and good things happen.”