Nov 13, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) prior to the game against the New Mexico State Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Alabama gets 5 TDs from Bryce Young in blowout win

Bryce Young passed for five touchdowns and Jameson Williams caught three as second-ranked Alabama rolled to a 59-3 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday afternoon in nonconference action at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries for the Crimson Tide (9-1). Young became the first Alabama quarterback to open a game with 13 straight completions and he finished 21 of 23 for 270 yards.

Williams had six receptions for 158 yards and had touchdowns of 50, 32 and 7 yards. He fell two yards shy of the career-best 160 he had against LSU last week.

Alabama outgained the Aggies 587 to 138 while notching its fourth consecutive victory. The Crimson Tide had a 247-9 edge in rushing yardage.

Jonah Johnson completed 19 of 30 passes for 129 yards for New Mexico State (1-9), which fell for the sixth straight game. The Aggies lost by 20 or more points for the fifth time this season.

New Mexico State’s lone points came on Ethan Albertson’s career-long 50-yard field goal with 5:35 left in the first quarter before Alabama ran off 59 unanswered points.

The Crimson Tide got on the scoreboard 44 seconds later when Young connected with Williams on a 50-yard scoring pass. Alabama made it 14-3 when Young hit Cameron Latu on a 12-yard touchdown throw with 14 seconds remaining in the quarter.

A blocked punt by Christian Leary set up the next Alabama score. Jaylen Moody recovered it and returned it 20 yards to the Aggies’ 4-yard line. Three plays later, Robinson scored from the 1 with 13:15 left in the half.

Young tossed a 32-yard scoring pass to Williams to make it 28-3 with 11:25 left. Just 3 1/2 minutes later, Robinson broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown run.

Young threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Williams with 5:28 left in the half and later connected with Jahleel Billingsley on a 5-yarder to make it 49-3 with 15 seconds left in the half.

Trey Sanders added a 5-yard scoring run in the opening minute of the final stanza and Jack Martin booted a 24-yard field goal.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban looks on during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban, No. 2 Alabama not taking NMSU lightly

Second-ranked Alabama takes a break from the rigors of Southeastern Conference play on Saturday, but coach Nick Saban is adamant it doesn’t equate to a needed breather.

Saban is bullish on this rationale despite the fact the Crimson Tide (8-1) will be hosting one of the worst programs in the nation, New Mexico State (1-8).

“I think that your opponent should be faceless in terms of what you want to try to accomplish and what you want to try to do in terms of individually improving and getting better and individually and collectively as a team getting better,” Saban said. “I think we certainly need to do that. We’re not where we want to be, so it shouldn’t be like … this is a good break for us.”

Alabama remained in the No. 2 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings despite a lackluster 20-14 win over LSU last weekend.

Saban isn’t worrying about the rankings, as he couldn’t wait to make New Mexico State sound like a carbon copy of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Yes, the same New Mexico State squad that lost 35-13 to Utah State last week for its fourth setback by 20 or more points this season.

“I think New Mexico State is a dangerous team because they’re one of these teams that are going to pass the ball,” Saban said. “They’re one of the Top 25 passing teams (23rd at 278.4 yards per game) in the country. Their quarterback’s efficient. They’ve got good skill guys. They’ve got a pretty good runner.

“They play a lot of pressure-type stuff on defense, which we’re going to have to do a good job against. But again, I think the focus needs to be on what we need to do individually and collectively as a group so that we get things right moving into this week.”

Aggies quarterback Jonah Johnson has passed for 1,975 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He knows the Crimson Tide rate as a huge test for his club.

“You cannot afford to make mistakes against a team the caliber of Alabama,” Johnson said, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. “Offensively, we can’t afford to turn the football over. We can’t afford the costly penalties and we can’t afford blown assignments.

“Moving the football against Alabama is already hard enough when you are not shooting yourself in the foot.”

The Aggies average 23.1 points per game and allow 38.1, with the latter figure ranking fourth worst in the country.

New Mexico State scored the first 10 points and led 13-7 at halftime against Utah State before getting outscored 28-0 in the second half.

“We really could not play much better than that in the first half on both sides,” New Mexico State coach Doug Martin said. “There’s a talent gap with us right now and other teams, and that’s obvious. You’ve got to be able to get players here that can compete for 60 minutes. Our guys wear out after a while, both mentally and physically.”

That doesn’t sound like a good formula for dealing with an Alabama squad that averages 43 points per game and allows 19.9.

Quarterback Bryce Young has been solid with 2,755 yards and 28 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

On defense, linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has been superb and has 10.5 sacks among his national-best 19.5 tackles for loss.

Anderson recorded a career-best 12 tackles and had 1.5 sacks among four stops for loss against LSU.

“The guy had an outstanding game for us,” Saban said. “He has played extremely well all year and certainly didn’t disappoint anybody in this game.”

–Field Level Media

New Mexico Lottery to Offer Game Tied to Sports

The New Mexico Lottery Board on Tuesday voted to approve a game linked with the outcome of sporting events, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The game will mark the second venture for an entity in New Mexico to offer sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May. Just last month, the tribal-owned Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, with USBookmaking as its operator, launched a sportsbook. 

Though details of the new lottery game were not made public, it’s likely it will involve parlay wagering, similar to Delaware’s sports lottery. In such a game, players must select the winners of at least three sports events and select each one correctly in order to win.

The driving force behind developing a sports-related lottery game is to generate more money for education, which the lottery funds. Lottery CEO David Barden told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the new game could produce $30 million a year, with $9 million to be directed to the lottery’s college tuition assistance program.


Read more New Mexico Lottery to Offer Game Tied to Sports on SportsHandle.