|Date of game: 9/6/2014
Recap: Alabama vs. Fla Atlantic
Tuscaloosa, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Sims threw for 214 yards with a pair of touchdowns and ran for a score, as second-ranked Alabama opened its home schedule Saturday with a 41-0 rout of Florida Atlantic.
The game was stopped with 7:53 remaining in the fourth quarter because of lightning and did not resume.
"I would have liked to go back out there and finish the game, and I know our players would have liked the same thing," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "I think the circumstances were such that we would have had to wait a significant amount of time to be able to go back out there because of the lightning and storms. I think everybody made a good decision to just end the game."
Sims started at quarterback for the second straight week and led the Crimson Tide to 21 points in the first quarter. He finished the contest 11-of-13 passing and added 14 rushing yards on three carries.
Jake Coker also saw plenty of time under center for Alabama (2-0), which was coming off a 33-23 win over West Virginia last week in Atlanta, and completed 15-of-24 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown.
Amari Cooper was the main target of both quarterbacks, tying a school record with 13 catches for a career-best 189 yards with a touchdown in the lopsided victory. The Tide outgained the Owls 620-145.
It was a rough opening two weeks for Florida Atlantic (0-2), which began the season last Saturday with a 55-7 loss at Nebraska. The Owls surrendered 784 yards against the Huskers.
Florida Atlantic played without quarterback Jaquez Johnson because of a shoulder injury he sustained last week. Greg Hankerson got the start and threw for 88 yards on 12-of-19 passing.
"We just got done playing against one of the best football teams in the country," said FAU coach Charlie Partridge. "The thing that excites me coming out of the game -- without seeing stats and things like that -- there are things we did early in the game poorly, but we did them better as the game went on."
Alabama took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards in seven plays for a 7-0 lead. Sims completed each of his three passes for 40 yards and finished the march with a 7-yard run.
The Crimson Tide also went 74 yards on their next possession, but needed just three plays to do it. Cooper, who started the first drive with a 20-yard run, caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage and used one block to race 52 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Sims completed each of his first five passes for 100 yards on the first two drives, then misfired on his next throw. However, the next three were all complete, including a 39-yard catch and run by Kenyan Drake for a score and 21-0 margin late in the first quarter.
Coker replaced Sims on the next series and led Alabama inside the FAU 10, but the Tide had to settle for a 22-yard Adam Griffith field goal early in the second quarter. The following possession ended in a touchdown, as Coker found Jalston Fowler with a 3-yard score to cap an 87-yard march that featured a pair of 3rd-and-10 conversions.
The Tide tried to tack on one more score in the closing seconds, marching inside the FAU 10, but Coker was sacked on third down as time expired.
Sims returned for the start of the second half and threw a 41-yard pass to Christion Jones on his first play. The Tide reached the FAU one, but T.J. Yeldon fumbled a handoff and the Owls recovered.
Florida Atlantic then had its first sustained march and drove to the Alabama 29 before a fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and the Tide responded with a 71-yard touchdown drive. Coker completed three passes, including a 40-yard strike to ArDarius Stewart that set up Drake's 3-yard TD run for a 38-0 lead.
Griffith kicked a 28-yard field goal early in the fourth before play was halted.
"Amari Cooper played an outstanding game again today," Saban added. "Our offense didn't punt all day, but we also didn't finish drives in the red area, which is something that we definitely need to continue to work on."Game Notes
D.J. Hall set the Alabama record with 13 catches against Tennessee in 2007 ...
The Crimson Tide racked up 204 yards on the ground among eight ball carriers,
led by Drake's 45 yards and 43 from Yeldon. Both had seven carries ... Alabama
won the only previous meeting with FAU, a 40-7 triumph at Bryant-Denny Stadium
two years ago ... The Crimson Tide will host Southern Miss next week before
starting the SEC season at home against Florida on Sept. 20 ... Florida
Atlantic will play its home opener next Saturday against Tulsa.