Alabama Wins Citrus Bowl 35-16
Alabama defeated Michigan 35-16 in the VRBO Citrus Bowl today at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Florida. The Crimson Tide entered the locker room at halftime trailing 16-14 and proceeded to score 21 second half points while shutting out Michigan’s offense to win the bowl game. Alabama improved its record to 11-2 on the season, making nine straight 11-win seasons for the University of Alabama.
Former Alabama wide receivers coach, and current Michigan offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis came out with a strong game plan to open the game mixing up the run and the pass and keeping the ball away from the potent Crimson Tide offense. Gattis’s offense outgained Alabama 286 yards to 205 in the first half, Michigan also had possession of the ball for nearly 20 minutes to Alabama’s 10 minutes. The Crimson Tide defense held strong in its own end forcing Michigan into three first half field goals despite poor tackling and inadequate gap integrity defending the running game. Michigan’s running back tandem of Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins combined for 135 yards rushing in the first half but were held to just 30 yards in the second half.
Jerry Juedy was named Citrus Bowl MVP as he hauled in six catches for 204 yards and a touchdown, including an 85 yard reception for a score on Alabama’s first play from scrimmage. Najee Harris carried the load for the Tide out of the backfield, amassing 24 carries, 136 yards and two touchdowns. It will likely be the final game for both offensive standouts. Harris was heavily recruited out of high school by both Michigan and Alabama before choosing the Tide, he stood out on final drive milking the clock and ultimately scoring his second touchdown with little time left in the game.
Mac Jones played an efficient game in his fourth start of the season, throwing 16/25 passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his first play 85 yard score, Jones threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith and a 20 yard touchdown to Miller Forristall. The Crimson Tide ended the day with 480 yards of total offense. Unfortunately Henry Ruggs III was forced out of the game after diving for an incomplete pass in the second half and was placed into the concussion protocol.
Alabama will now go into the offseason with positive momentum and all eyes will turn to the draft eligible underclassmen. Decisions for Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood, Najee Harris and Xavier McKinney will come soon as the deadline to declare their intentions is January 20th. Dylan Moses has already stated he will return to Tuscaloosa for his senior year after missing his entire junior year to a torn ACL. Stay tuned to Tide100.9 fm and the Tide1009 app for all your news about the Alabama Crimson Tide.