No. 1 Alabama rolls past Florida Atlantic, 40-7

Associated Press Modified: September 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm •  Published: September 22, 2012
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — No. 1 Alabama got everything but the shutout.

AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes, including an early 85-yarder to Kenny Bell, and the Crimson Tide routed Florida Atlantic 40-7 on Saturday.

Eddie Lacy rushed for 106 yards in the first half for the Tide (4-0), which rolled to 134 consecutive points and two shutouts before allowing a touchdown in the final minutes.

"We try to pride ourselves always on people not scoring on our defense," Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner said. "We try to get zero and have no one score on us. That's a big accomplishment for us. They got in, at the end, one touchdown, but we still had a great game."

The Owls (1-3) managed only one first down through three quarters and were outgained 503-110 in total yards. They were coming off a 56-20 loss to another Southeastern Conference power, No. 5 Georgia.

Florida Atlantic coach Carl Pelini called Alabama "as physical a team as there is out there."

"That's not Georgia we faced today, that's Alabama — it's very different, "Pelini said. "Different scheme-wise. I think they're more physical than Georgia. You know, I don't compare teams but they're just different. They play differently. They pressure more than Georgia did. They're physical in their man coverage."

This one was even more one-sided for the 50-point underdogs.

McCarron was 15-of-25 passing for 212 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter. The 85-yarder came 1:42 into the game and is tied for the fifth-longest touchdown pass in Tide history.

The only suspense late was whether Alabama could complete a third straight shutout for the first time since Bear Bryant's unbeaten 1966 team.

Alabama ran its shutout streak to 192 minutes, 25 seconds dating back to the third quarter of the opener against Michigan, but that's as far as it got.

Graham Wilbert hit Alex Deleon for a 6-yard touchdown with 2:49 left, silencing the remaining fans hoping for three shutouts in a row. It took 8 minutes, 24 seconds, 15 plays and two fourth-down conversions to reach the end zone on the drive.

An unsportsmanlike conduct flag against Alabama's bench for stepping too far onto the field two plays before the score showed how badly the Tide wanted to keep the goose eggs flowing.

The Owls had just 41 total yards and one first down through three quarters before finally moving the ball across midfield on the final drive.

Wilbert was 7-of-13 passing for 34 yards — 23 on the cosmetic scoring drive. Earlier, Jesse Williams had blocked a field goal attempt to preserve the shutout attempt.

"They played really well, we just started slow," Wilbert said. "It was just tough to get things going the first half and we just did a terrible job coming out. We didn't have a lot of energy."

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