TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Milroe launched a 56-yard bomb to Jermaine Burton on Alabama’s first play.
There was no nonconference letdown for the Crimson Tide.
Milroe passed for 197 yards and three touchdowns before sitting out the second half of No. 8 Alabama's 66-10 rout of Chattanooga on Saturday. The Tide (10-1, No. 8 CFP) won their ninth straight game but got a breather from Southeastern Conference opponents against the Mocs (7-4), an FCS team.
“The biggest thing is you can't take your foot off the gas,” Milroe said. "You've got to keep going. The feedback on the sidelines was really good. Offense, defense, special teams. Everyone was clicking. Everyone was communicating, and that allowed us to keep stacking good plays.”
Milroe led Alabama to a 38-7 halftime advantage to continue his own personal hot streak, including 13 total touchdowns in the past three games. He completed his first 10 passes, with throws of 56 and 44 yards to Burton, and finished 13 of 16. Burton caught three passes for 105 yards, all by halftime, after sitting out the Kentucky game with an illness.
It was the most points Alabama scored since a 66-3 win over Western Carolina in 2019.
With Auburn awaiting and after a string of SEC games, coach Nick Saban said “these are the kind of games that you really want to maintain your intensity.”
“I’d say about 98% of the time we had the right intensity,” Saban said.
Chattanooga’s starting quarterback, Chase Artopoeus, was ruled out Friday with an upper body injury. Replacement Luke Schomburg, a redshirt freshman who had attempted only six passes, was 10 of 21 for 107 yards with an interception. Gino Appleberry ran 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown.
“There ain't a lot to say. We got our butts kicked,” Mocs coach Rusty Wright said. “That's a good football team out there. That's probably the hottest football team in the country right now.”
Alabama freshman safety Caleb Downs scored on an 85-yard punt return in the third quarter. Downs broke loose with a spin move after fielding the ball and took his first punt return of the season the distance.
Alabama backup quarterback Ty Simpson got his most significant action since the South Florida game, when Milroe was benched and Tyler Buchner started. Simpson had his best and worst play all at once. He raced down the left sideline for an apparent 79-yard touchdown on a scramble but had to settle for 78 yards after replay officials determined Simpson flipped the ball out just before crossing the goal line.
“I mean, do I have to comment on that?” Saban said. “Every coach says cross the goal line and hand the ball to the official.”
Chattanooga: The Mocs were outgained 234-13 in the first quarter but generated a couple of big plays to pull closer on the stat sheet. They were still outgained 574-233.
Alabama: Took care of business in the type of game where that isn't always easy. Ran for 315 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 9.5 yards per rush.
Alabama linebacker Chris Braswell, one of the Southeastern Conference's top pass rushers, was ejected for targeting in the first quarter after a hit on Schomburg.
REICHARD'S RECORD PURSUIT
Will Reichard kicked a school-record eighth 50-yard field goal in his home finale and is closing in on the all-time NCAA scoring record. Reichard scored 12 points to raise his career total to 521. He's chasing former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds (530 points) and No. 2 scorer former Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon (522).
“I don't know of anybody that's had a more productive career relative to what their role is,” Saban said.
Chattanooga awaits word on whether it made the FCS playoffs.
Alabama visits Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football