INSTANT: Alabama captures Citrus Bowl with 35-16 victory over Michigan

CW/Joe Will Field

James Ogletree and James Benedetto, Sports Editors

ORLANDO, Fla. — In the final game of the season, Alabama defeated Michigan 35-16 to capture the 2019 Citrus Bowl. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mac Jones and the offense led the way totaling 480 yards of total offense in the victory.  

Play of the game: Junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy blazed past Michigan safety Daxton Hill on Alabama’s first offensive play. Jones reared back and heaved a perfectly in-stride throw to the junior wide receiver, who raced the rest of the way to the end zone.

Offensive player of the game:

James Ogletree: Jerry Jeudy

James Benedetto: Mac Jones

Fan Vote: Jerry Jeudy

Defensive Player of the game:

James Ogletree: Xavier McKinney

James Benedetto: Anfernee Jennings

Fan Vote: Xavier McKinney

Notes:

  • After Alabama forced an opening three-and-out, Jones threw the 85-yarder downfield to Jeudy on the Crimson Tide’s first play from scrimmage.
  • Freshman walk-on punter Ty Perine had been the starter since the Tennessee game in October, but senior walk-on Mike Bernier kicked Alabama’s first punt against Michigan. It was low and not exactly booming, but the coverage team pinned the Wolverines returner at the 15-yard line.
  • Alabama allowed 15 yards on Michigan’s first two drives, but gave up 85 yards on a game-tying, seven-play touchdown drive. Four of the seven plays gained at least 10 yards.
  • The defensive woes continued on the next drive. Michigan wide receiver Giles Jackson sprinted past Alabama freshman linebacker Shane Lee on a wheel route, gaining 40 yards. Michigan took the lead on a 36-yard field goal.
  • While Alabama recorded back-to-back five-play drives that ended in punts, Michigan was holding the ball for four, five and nearly six minutes at a time. The Wolverines led 13-7 after a 13-play drive in the second quarter.
  • The Crimson Tide moved the ball on its next drive, but more due to two Michigan penalties than its own execution or play-calling. The offensive line gave up a few hits on Jones, who appeared to not be on the same page as his receivers on a few plays. But the Crimson Tide took advantage of the Michigan mistakes to regain the lead on a 9-yard hurdling touchdown by junior running back Najee Harris.
  • Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin kicked a 57-yard field goal to end the first half, putting the Wolverines back on top 16-14. The kick tied a school record and set a Citrus Bowl record.
  • In Alabama’s first drive of the half, the offense found the endzone in just four plays. The drive was capped off with a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior DeVonta Smith, who outran Michigan’s Lavert Hill for the score.
  • Alabama hadn’t forced a Michigan punt since the early part of the first quarter, but it did so twice in the third quarter.
  • With the Crimson Tide still leading by five points early in the fourth quarter, it had its first third-down conversion of the game, with Jones finding Jeudy on an out route on third-and-11. On the next play Jones found Jeudy again, this time for 58 yards to give Alabama first-and-10 from the Michigan 20. The catch put Jeudy at 204 receiving yards, setting a new career high by 57 yards. The offense would then capitalize in the red zone, as Jones completed his third consecutive pass with a 20-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch to redshirt junior tight end Miller Forristall.