College Football around Alabama: Third Saturday in October
Another edition of “The Third Saturday in October” has passed with Nick Saban tying Paul “Bear” Bryant’s streak of 11 consecutive wins over Tennessee thanks to the Crimson Tide’s 45-7 victory.
In addition to Alabama’s demolition of Tennessee, the third Saturday in October proved to be a good one for teams around the Yellowhammer State.
Auburn Rebounds in Fayetteville
After blowing a 20-0 lead in their 27-23 loss at LSU, Gus Malzhan’s Auburn Tigers bounced back in a big way with a 52-20 roasting of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The running game carried Auburn with three players rushing for more than 60 yards with Kamryn Pettway leading the Tigers with 90 yards on 11 carries along with three scores.
Unlike their trip to Baton Rouge, the Tigers pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring Arkansas 28-7.
The Auburn defense harassed Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley sacking him six times and recording three fumble recoveries.
Troy and South Alabama Roll
Both Troy and South Alabama picked up wins in Sun Belt Conference play Saturday.
South Alabama followed up their 19-8 road win at Troy with a 33-23 win on Homecoming over Louisiana-Monroe. Junior quarterback Dallas Davis threw for 317 yards along with three touchdowns and one interception in the win. Junior wide receiver Sam Harris also had a big day hauling in eight receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown.
The Troy Trojans took home a 34-10 road win at Georgia State. Following a first quarter field goal by Georgia State’s Brandon Wright, Trojans signal caller Brandon Silver ignited the offense with two first half touchdowns. Silver finished the game with 335 passing yards, two scores and an interception.
Photo Finishes Continue for UAB
Close calls have become the theme of the 2017 season for UAB. After pulling out narrow wins over Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee, Charlotte stole an overtime game from UAB via a successful two-point conversion attempt.
After a Hasaan Klugh one-yard scoring run, Klugh found Chris Montgomery for the winning points. UAB built a 17-0 lead into the third quarter but Charlotte scored the final 17 points in regulation before winning in overtime.
Including Saturday’s loss, the Blazers have seen five of their seven games decided by seven points or less this season.
Huge Road Wins for Samford and Jacksonville State
In one of the most impressive wins across the country in the FCS division, No. 14 Samford Bulldogs left Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a 24-21 upset of No. 5 Wofford.
Junior quarterback Devlin Hodges completed 37 of 54 passes for 427 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Redshirt freshman placekicker Jordan Weaver provided the winning points with a 27-yard field goal while senior cornerback Omari Williams sealed the win with an interception in the end zone with six seconds to go in the game.
No. 3 Jacksonville State also earned a critical 30-14 win at Eastern Illinois.
With the lead in the OVC on the line, the Gamecocks fought back from a 14-6 deficit by outscoring Eastern Illinois 24-0 over the final 37:05 of the game.
Jacksonville State held Eastern Illinois to 28 rushing yards and 15 first downs for the game
UWA and UNA Fall on the Road
Both West Alabama and North Alabama dropped narrow road decisions Saturday.
No. 18 West Alabama fell in the final seconds 41-39 at Florida Tech. The Tigers shot out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but Florida Tech snatched the momentum over the next two quarters to take a 27-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Throughout a back-and-forth fourth quarter, UWA lit the scoreboard for 22 points in the final 15 minutes of play including a go-ahead 36-yard field goal from sophomore placekicker Colin Douglas. Florida Tech responded with the winning touchdown on an 11-yard scramble from quarterback Mark Cato.
North Alabama headed west for a non-conference tilt against No. 9 Central Washington and fell 17-10.
The Lions struggled offensively recording just 178 yards but had a chance to win thanks to opportunistic defense.
UNA forced four turnovers in the game including redshirt freshman defensive back Dwain Smith’s 72-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the second quarter.