McClellan has career day, No. 8 Bama tops Austin Peay 34-0

Nov 18, 2022, 10:19 PM | Updated: Nov 19, 2022, 1:43 pm
Alabama defensive back Brian Branch (14) celebrates his interception with defensive lineman Jaheim ...

Alabama defensive back Brian Branch (14) celebrates his interception with defensive lineman Jaheim Oatis (91) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Austin Peay, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

              Alabama defensive back Brian Branch (14) celebrates his interception with defensive lineman Jaheim Oatis (91) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Austin Peay, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) departs the field after a 34-0 win over Austin Peay at an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Alabama head coach Nick Saban takes issue with Alabama wide receiver/running back Emmanuel Henderson Jr. (24) after he left the end zone on a kickoff during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Austin Peay, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) scores a touchdown on a reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Austin Peay, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Austin Peay defensive back Cedarius Doss (13) deflects a pass meant for Alabama wide receiver Ja'Corey Brooks (7) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) celebrates with wide receiver Traeshon Holden (11) after Burton's touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Austin Peay, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
            
              Alabama running back Jase McClellan (2) runs the ball against Austin Peay during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — No. 8 Alabama got breakout performances from Jase McClellan and Jermaine Burton in an otherwise lackluster offensive performance against an overmatched FCS team.

McClellan rushed for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns and Burton caught a pair of scoring passes from Bryce Young during a 34-0 win over Austin Peay on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (9-2, No. 8 CFP) took awhile to get going against Austin Peay (7-4) in a Bryant-Denny Stadium that wasn’t much more than half full.

But McClellan and Burton had their biggest games for the Tide, which had already been knocked out of Southeastern Conference contention but was coming off a win over No. 14 Mississippi.

“All in all, we wanted to build on the momentum of how we came back and played at the end of last week’s game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “And obviously I thought that’s something we did a good job of today.”

Burton posted his first 100-yard receiving game since transferring from Georgia, with seven catches for 128 yards. McClellan subbed for injured star Jahmyr Gibbs (ankle) and scored on runs of 1 and 9 yards.

McClellan, whose 2021 season was limited to five games because of injury, was coming off an 84-yard performance against the Rebels, when Gibbs went down.

“I’ve always thought he was a really good player,” Saban said. “I think y’all are just starting to figure it out.”

For much of the game the Tide was about as listless as the crowd, until a 50-yarder from Young to Burton provided a spark. McClellan rushed it in two plays later for his second score of the game, and the defense recovered a fumble on the next possession to set up an Alabama field goal.

Young was 18 of 24 for 221 yards and played into the fourth quarter. The Tide was also without tight end Cameron Latu (ankle) and cornerback Eli Ricks, who Saban said has cleared concussion protocol.

Mike DiLiello passed for 147 yards for Austin Peay, but was intercepted twice. Drae McCray had 12 catches for 92 yards.

The Governors had their opportunities in the first half thanks to the Tide’s two first-quarter turnovers but could not take advantage either time, including a fourth-down stop in the red zone. Maddux Trujillo missed a short field goal for Austin Peay after Alabama’s second fumble.

“We know that we competed with these guys,” Governors coach Scotty Walden said. “If you watch the whole game, you saw a team compete to win. We didn’t come here to keep it close. We came here to win the game.”

Alabama got its second shutout of the season and first since an opening 55-0 win over Utah State.

THE TAKEAWAY

Austin Peay: The FCS playoff hopefuls couldn’t get much going offensively, but did well enough defensively to keep it from becoming an embarrassingly one-sided game.

Alabama: It wasn’t the typical wire-to-wire domination for a Tide team against an FCS opponent, especially in the passing game. Alabama led just 7-0 more than halfway through the second quarter but wound up outgaining the Governors 527-206.

FORCING TURNOVERS

Alabama has struggled all year to force turnovers but had three against the Governors. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Brian Branch each had an interception, and Damon Payne Jr. recovered a fumble on a trick-play attempt.

“Three’s our goal every single game, so to be able to reach that number was huge for us,” Tide linebacker Henry To’oTo’o said.

FINAL PITCH

Walden is hoping playoff selection committee members saw the whole game, not just the final score.

“If you’re a committee member and you’re watching that game, I don’t know how you couldn’t want us in,” he said. “We’ve got the resumé for it. It’s not just talk, it’s the resumé.”

UP NEXT

Austin Peay hopes to receive an invite to the FCS playoffs.

Alabama hosts rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero (5) looks to get around Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday, left, during ...
Associated Press

Paolo’s Diary: Magic rookie says he’s doing much learning

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Orlando Magic rookie and No. 1 overall draft pick Paolo Banchero is doing a periodic diary with The Associated Press this season to chronicle his first year in the NBA. This is his second installment, the first since the regular season started. The Magic are an NBA-worst 5-20 through the first 25 […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer m...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Quarterfinalists bid for title

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After non-stop soccer for the past two weeks, the World Cup is taking a small break. There will be two days of rest before the quarterfinals start in Qatar with at least one surprising team still in contention to win soccer’s biggest prize. Morocco produced the latest upset in a tournament […]
1 day ago
Spain's players react after the penalty shootout at the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between ...
Associated Press

Young Spain squad and its ‘tiki-taka’ stumble at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Spain lost to Morocco 3-0 in a penalty shootout in the round of 16 at the World Cup on Tuesday, failing to make it to the quarterfinals for the third straight time since winning its last world title in South Africa in 2010. La Roja also lost in a shootout in […]
1 day ago
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo walks during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Portugal a...
Associated Press

Ronaldo loses Portugal spot to sully World Cup journey

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — So, the dream is still alive for Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer’s most prolific modern-day scorer might yet, at the age of 37 and probably playing in his last World Cup, claim the one major title to elude him in a career like no other. It didn’t quite feel that way, though, as […]
1 day ago
Switzerland's midfielder Granit Xhaka, right, and Switzerland's midfielder Denis Zakaria, left, rea...
Associated Press

Switzerland falls again to first World Cup knockout punch

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Switzerland exited the World Cup at the round of 16 stage, just as it usually does in the modern era. A 6-1 rout by Portugal on Tuesday left little space for feeling that progress was made, even if the squad was hit by a bout of sickness in Qatar. Switzerland’s quest […]
1 day ago
Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui is thrown in the air at the end of the World Cup round of 16 so...
Associated Press

The next World Cup will jump to 48 teams. Is bigger better?

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The next World Cup will be the biggest ever after world soccer body FIFA took the leap from a 32-team field to 48 teams in 2026. It means more of soccer’s so-called “little teams” that didn’t make it to Qatar will be given a chance of a lifetime when the tournament […]
1 day ago
McClellan has career day, No. 8 Bama tops Austin Peay 34-0