Tide rolls in home opener

By Cody Estremera, For the Eagle
Posted 9/9/18

TUSCALOOSA — On the fifth play of the game, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found wide receiver Jerry Jeudy over the middle of the field off a slant. Jeudy slipped a tackle and sprinted 58 yards …

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Tide rolls in home opener

Posted

TUSCALOOSA — On the fifth play of the game, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found wide receiver Jerry Jeudy over the middle of the field off a slant. Jeudy slipped a tackle and sprinted 58 yards for the first Crimson Tide touchdown of the day. It proved to be the first of six passing touchdowns in Alabama’s 57-7  win over Arkansas State.

“Coach Locksley called a good play on third and short,” Jeudy said. “I ran a Y route and he opened his hips up. The o-line did a good job blocking and Tua made the right read.”

Alabama’s passing once again dominated. Tagovailoa threw for 228 yards and four touchdowns, while junior Jalen Hurts was 7-of-9 with 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“I think that both guys did a really good job,” coach Nick Saban said. “We made some big plays in the passing game and were pretty efficient.”

Of the four drives he led in the first quarter, Tagovailoa led three touchdown drives. All three touchdowns were more than 30-yard gains. 

DeVonta Smith’s first quarter touchdown was a 41-yard go route, while Henry Ruggs III’s 31-yard touchdown reception came off a slant.

Jeudy finished with four catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns, all of which led the team.

Besides the staring sophomore wide receivers, tight end Irv Smith caught a 10-yard pass from Hurts and wide receiver Derek Kief managed to get a foot down along the south end zone.

Running back Najee Harris took over the running game in the second half. The sophomore tailback ran for 78 yards in the second half and the lone rushing touchdown of the game. Overall, he finished with 135 yards on just 13 carries for an average of 10.4 yards.

For the most part, the Alabama defense was inconsistent. The Red Wolves scored just seven points but finished with 391 yards of total offense.

Arkansas State ran for 173 yards on the Crimson Tide, who allowed just 16 to Louisville last week.

“They made a couple of explosive plays, and obviously, we need to get that fixed,” Saban said.

Saban said the key of the game was third downs, which the Crimson Tide controlled, on both sides of the ball. 

On offense, Alabama was 10-of-15, three of which led to touchdowns. 

On the other side of the ball, the Red Wolves were held to just four conversions on 19 attempts.

The kicking game struggled early in the game. Senior kicker Austin Jones missed two of his three extra points and was replaced by Joseph Bulovas.

“I think it had a lot to do with confidence,” Saban said. “A lot of times when you lose your confidence, things don’t go your way. We still have a lot of confidence in both guys. We just have to get their minds right, so they have the confidence in themselves to go do it.”

Alabama travels to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Ole Miss next Saturday.