Alabama notebook: Fitzpatrick plays, Pierschbacher hurt, Ridley runs

November 12, 2017 GMT

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kylin Hill received the handoff from Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, the final play of a scintillating first quarter for this Bulldogs offense. Hill looked upfield.

Minkah Fitzpatrick shed the block coming his way, arrived in the backfield, and dropped Hill for a negative play.

All was fine with Alabama’s most valuable defensive player.

Fitzpatrick, the Crimson Tide’s everything defensive back, started Saturday’s game against Mississippi State, seven days after a hamstring injury limited him to just Dime packages against LSU.

Fitzpatrick participated in every portion of Crimson Tide practice open to reporters this week, donning a protective strap along his left leg. He wore the same device on Saturday, during which he played without any noticeable, lingering effects of the injury.

Pierschbacher hurt

Tide starting left guard Ross Pierschbacher exited the game after Alabama’s first offensive series, replaced by senior J.C. Hassenauer.

Accompanied by two trainers, Pierschbacher went into the Crimson Tide locker room during his team’s second offensive series — a five-play, 75-yard drive that tied the game at seven.

Pierschbacher returned to the sideline during the Crimson Tide’s next offensive drive, but Hassenauer remained in the game throughout the first half. Pierschbacher pedaled a stationary bike at times during the first half while trainers kept a close eye.

Pierschbacher started his 40th game Saturday and his 10th straight this season. His injury broke apart what had been a healthy Crimson Tide offensive line. All five starting linemen have started at their same positions in all 10 games.

Ridley off and running

Each of Calvin Ridley’s two first-half catches went for 60 or more yards, giving him a season-high 124 yards receiving after just 20 minutes of play.

With 20 minutes still to play, Ridley’s 124 yards were already the most by a Crimson Tide receiver this season. He was Alabama’s first 100-yard receiver of the year.

For Ridley, it was the seventh 100-yard receiving game of his career. He sits one behind Julio Jones for No. 3 on Alabama’s all-time list.

Davis travels

Given the rash of injuries invading Alabama’s linebacking corps, redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Davis made his first travel roster of the season.

A consensus five-star prospect from Gordo who redshirted last season, Davis was rated the No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2016 recruiting class. He is the son of former Crimson Tide linebacker Wayne Davis, who is still the program’s career-leader in tackles.

Until Saturday, Davis was mostly a scout-team player. He warmed up at the back of Alabama’s outside linebacker line during pregame warmups.

Jones absent

Alabama third-string quarterback Mac Jones did not travel with the team — the second straight game for which he was not present.

Jones was arrested early Nov. 3 — one day before the Tide’s 24-10 win against LSU — and charged with driving under the influence and improper identification. A Tuscaloosa Police Department spokeswoman said Jones was involved in a traffic accident, failed a field sobriety test and presented officers with a fake identification.

Tide coach Nick Saban announced Jones’ one-game suspension that same day. Jones was spotted during the open periods of practice this week.

Familiar voices

Two former Alabama standouts were involved in two different broadcasts of Saturday’s game.

National-champion quarterback Greg McElroy was the color analyst on ESPN’s broadcast while former Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones — a four-year starting offensive lineman from 2009-12 — provided the analysis on ESPN Radio’s broadcast.


--Alabama’s captains were defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, safety Hootie Jones and center Bradley Bozeman

--Two scouts from the Pittsburgh Steelers were credentialed for the game, as were single scouts from the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks.

--Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley’s now caught a pass in all 40 games he’s played as a collegian. That 40-game streak ranks No. 3 among all FBS players.

The Crimson Tide has now scored in 223 straight games.