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TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — – Bryce Young passed for a season-high 385 yards and four touchdowns and No. 2 Alabama beat Vanderbilt 55-3 on Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
It was the first 300-yard game of the season for the defending Heisman Trophy winner, who sat out the fourth quarter and completed 25 of 36 passes.
The Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0) opted to air it against the Commodores (3-2, 0-1) and ultimately got big games and plays from multiple receivers. It was the most passing yards for Young since possibly locking up the Heisman with 421 yards against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
“I think it was kind of our plan for this game to spread these guys out more and try to attack them in the secondary,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We thought we had some very good clashes.”
Alabama beat Vandy 628-129 in total yards.
Ja’ Corey Brooks had a career night, all in the first half when he had six catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Transfer Georgia Jermaine Burton had his biggest game for the Tide: 94 yards on four catches, including one for 48 yards.
“We have high expectations for what our guys can do and Ja’ Corey certainly didn’t disappoint tonight,” Saban said. “He made a great start to the game.”
Jahmyr Gibbswho started the first three games at tailback, mostly lined up at receiver while Jase McClellan took over in the backfield. McClellan rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Gibbs caught three passes for 43 yards and a score.
Freshman Vanderbilt AJ Swann completed 13 of 26 passes for 115 yards in his second start after throwing for 255 yards and four touchdowns against Northern Illinois.
Vanderbilt: Avoided a third consecutive shutout in the series after losing the last two games by a total of 93-0. It’s still the Commodores’ 23rd straight loss to the Tide and 22nd straight loss to SEC teams.
Alabama: Has given future opponents, including three consecutive teams that have been ranked this week, something to think about with passing downs and Gibbs lining up as a receiver with such frequency. linebacker Will Anderson Jr.. had 2-1/2 bags. defensive lineman Byron Young left with a sprained ankle.
BROOKS’ BIG NIGHT
Brooks was best known for his even touchdown in the final seconds against Auburn to force overtime last season. It was by far his biggest game overall. The second had four catches for 62 yards in three games. Brooks caught passes on four consecutive plays for 68 yards and a touchdown on a drive.
It’s not out of the question that Alabama could return to first place – or at least close the gap – after Georgia struggled in a 39-22 win over Kent State. Saban, by the way, is a Kent State elder.
Vanderbilt: Has a Saturday off before facing No. 16 Mississippi on Oct. 8.
Alabama: Visits No. 10 Arkansas to start a three-game streak against ranked teams.