Alabama 48, Utah State 17

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Brodie Croyle threw two touchdown passes
and Alabama took its first step toward rebounding from a losing
season, beating Utah State 48-17 Saturday.

Croyle, who underwent surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in
December, had scoring passes of 57 yards, to Keith Brown, and 19
yards, to Clint Johnson. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 205 yards
with no interceptions.

Alabama was 4-9 in coach Mike Shula's first season in 2003,
losing five of its last six games. Fans in the nearly full
Bryant-Denny Stadium chanted "Roll Tide!" as the score mounted
against the outmanned Sun Belt Conference opponent.

The Aggies, coming off a 3-9 season, have lost 14 of 15 road
games, including eight straight dating to 2002.

Utah State played Alabama close for two quarters, trailing 17-10
at the half after a 35-yard touchdown pass from Travis Cox to Kevin
Robinson and a 44-yard field goal by Ben Chaet.

But the Crimson Tide stopped any thought of an upset on the
Aggies' first possession of the second half. A Utah State receiver
deflected a pass by Cox into the hands of Simeon Castille, who
returned the interception 31 yards for a score.

The Tide defense held on the next possession, and Croyle hit
Brown in stride for the 57-yard score on Alabama's first play after
the punt.

Brown and Castille were two of several freshmen who got
significant playing time for Alabama, which is thin after NCAA
penalties that included scholarship reductions, probation and a
two-year ban from postseason play.

Brian Bostick kicked field goals of 32 and 28 yards from
Alabama, and Kenneth Darby added a 29-yard scoring run. Tim
Castille scored on a 1-yard run, and Ray Hudson added a late TD on
a 7-yard run.

Utah State's other points came on a 21-yard pass from Cox to
Chris Forbes.


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