Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and safety Eddie Jackson earned SEC player of the week honors, the conference announced Monday.
Hurts, who made his first SEC start in the Crimson Tide’s 48-43 win against Ole Miss on Saturday, was named the league’s offensive player of the week, while Jackson earned co-special teams player of the week honors.
Hurts passed for 158 yards while adding 146 more on the ground against the Rebels. He finished 19 of 31 passing while completing five throws for 17 yards or more, including a long of 45 yards. Hurts also had eight rushes of 10 yards or more, including seven rushes that went for first downs.
The freshman became the first Alabama quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards since Tyler Watts did so in 2001.
Jackson had an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown that helped Alabama spur a comeback from 21 points down to beat the Rebels. He also had two tackles and half of a tackle for loss on the day.
Hurts and Jackson were also among nine players recognized by Alabama as the team’s players of the week. Hurts joined offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman and running back Damien Harris as offensive players of the week, while Jackson joined kicker Adam Griffith and linebacker Keith Holcombe as special teams players of the week. Linebacker Ryan Anderson, defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Reuben Foster were named defensive players of the week.
It turns out defensive lineman Jonathan Allen’s 75-yard interception return for a touchdown was actually a fumble return. After the game, Ole Miss and Alabama officials met and determined Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly’s arm was not going forward on the play, thus making it a fumble.
Regardless of the ruling, Tide players had a little bit of fun picking apart the 6-foot-3, 291-pound defensive end’s return skills.
“I was excited, but I was tired too, watching him run,” said Anderson, who watched the play from the sidelines. “It took him so long to score. I’m going to get on him today.”
Allen was caught from behind despite have a bevy of blockers around him but still made it to the end zone. During the play, several Tide players, including safety Hootie Jones, were too busy celebrating and did not pick a block on Ole Miss receiver Quincy Adeboyejo.
“Me and Hootie and Eddie (Jackson) went to movies last night, and Eddie was getting on to Hootie about that,” Anderson said. “We were messing with Tim (Williams), too. Tim was punching something in the air. I don’t know what he was doing. He was running down the field with his hands up. We are going to hear about it in a minute.”
Alabama linebacker Tim Williams was credited for a sack and a forced fumble on the play.
Anderson’s interview period left many media members laughing, as the senior linebacker talked about everything from Tomlinson’s “jujitsu” hand techniques to being scared for Kelly after the Ole Miss quarterback was hit near the sideline by Foster.
Tomlinson, who went next in the media cycle, was asked if he felt Anderson was one of the funniest players in the locker room. He said he rates Anderson among the Tide’s top three jokester along with Tim Williams and Tony Brown.
“Ryan, sometimes when he talks to you he reminds you of your older uncles,” Tomlinson said. “He just sounds like he’s got an old soul, and it’s just funny.”
Saturday’s game against Kent State is set to kick off at 11 a.m., meaning players must wake up early to get ready for the game. Anderson said the team usually arrives at the stadium around 8 a.m. for the early kickoffs.
It’s safe to say the linebacker is not a fan of the scheduling.
“I don’t like getting up early,” Anderson said. “But it’s gameday, so I’m going to be alright.”
Saban listed wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (sprained knee) as questionable for Saturday’s game against Kent State. The junior suffered the injury in the first half against Ole Miss and spent the remainder of the game on the sidelines without shoulder pads.
With such a deep receiving crops, Alabama will have plenty of options to turn to whether or not Stewart is available on Saturday.
“Robert (Foster) will play some, but the guy that’s been playing really well for us is Cam Sims, so we would play him as well,” Saban said. “And there will be an opportunity for some others to play. A young guy that we’ve been trying to play both ways who’s got a lot of promise is Trevon Diggs, who because of our lack of depth in the secondary, maybe trying to be playing him both ways. I think we’ll probably try to emphasize more offense with him this week.”
Saban said he expects Jackson, Hurts and cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick to be ready for the game this week. All three picked up minor knocks against the Rebels.