Dominant 2nd half leads Alabama to 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl

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Dominant 2nd half leads Alabama to 35-16 win over Michigan in the Citrus Bowl

Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones (10) is able to get a pass away.

Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones (10) is able to get a pass away.

Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones (10) is able to get a pass away.

Alabama Quarterback Mac Jones (10) is able to get a pass away.

Nate Marrero, Sports Editor

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After trailing 16-14 at halftime, the Alabama Crimson Tide outscored the Michigan Wolverines 21-0 en route to a 35-16 win in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. 

“We’re very pleased with the way we played in the game, especially in the second half,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “It seemed it took us a little while to get our legs under us, but we played much better in the second half…I’m especially proud of this team, for the adversity that they had to overcome this year, the perseverance that they showed, and the grit that they showed in coming out and playing the way they did in the second half of this game.”

Jerry Jeudy was named the games MVP after he caught six passes for 204 yards and one touchdown – which was an 85-yard reception on Alabama’s (11-2, 6-2) first offensive play of the game. 

“It’s really a team effort, really,” Jeudy said of winning MVP. “Everything, starting from the O-line to the quarterback, to the play calling, we just executed very well and I just did what I had to do when my name was called.”

“They pretty much played eight-flip coverage, so that’s kind of what we wanted them to do,” Mac Jones said of what he saw on the 85-yard touchdown. “We motioned the tight end in and we got a one-on-one with Jerry. So that’s kind of how it played out in practice. So it was just a perfect look. I knew Jerry was going to beat the guy and the line was going to block the guy, so [we were] really just all in.”

Jones completed 16 of his 25 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns. 

Devonta Smith and Miller Forristall each had one touchdown reception as well; and Najee Harris shouldered a heavy workload, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. 

Anfernee Jennings and Xavier Mckinney led the Crimson Tide with 10 tackles. Josh Jobe and Shyheim Carter each had one interception. 

Michigan’s (9-4, 6-3) rushing attack played a huge role in getting them a lead at halftime but was stymied from then on. After rushing for 135 yards in the 1st half, they ran for just 27 yards in the 2nd half. Zach Charbonnet had 13 carries for 84 yards and Hassan Haskins rushed for 61 yards on 18 carries. 

“They started cutting our edge,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said of the adjustments Alabama made on defense to slow down their running game. “That jammed up a few of the outside running plays. But I thought Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet really ran well the whole game. We just – you know, we didn’t make enough plays, keep enough drives going.”

The Wolverines also struggled through the air, as Shea Patterson completed 17 of his 37 passes for 233 yards to go with one touchdown and two interceptions. Nick Eubanks caught Michigan’s lone touchdown of the game. 

Quinn Nordin made all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 57 yarder right before the end of the 1st half. 

“It was a tremendous kick,” Harbaugh said of Nordin’s 57-yard field goal. “He had been kicking the ball really well leading up to the game, hit three from that same spot in pregame and got a great snap and a great hold and had a real good spin on the ball. He hit it perfect.” 

Both teams will be playing in marquee games to start the 2020 season. Michigan will be going on the road to face the Washington Huskies on Sept. 5 while Alabama will play the USC Trojans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas the same day.