No. 1 Alabama Football Rolls to 57-7 Victory Over Arkansas State in Home Opener
The top-ranked Alabama football team cruised to a 57-7 win over Arkansas State in the Crimson Tide’s home opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Alabama threw five touchdown passes in the first half with sophomore Tua Tagovailoa completing three and junior Jalen Hurts connecting for two scores. For the game Tagovailoa completed 13-for-19 passing attempts for a career-high 228 yards and four touchdowns, while Hurts went seven-for-nine for 93 yards and two scores.
The six scoring tosses equals the second most in a game for UA school history. Tagovailoa’s four touchdown passes also ranks second on the individual single-game touchdown passes list.
Sophomore running back Najee Harris eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career after running for 135 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Five different receivers caught touchdown passes, including two by sophomore Jerry Jeudy.
Offensively, the Tide finished with 599 yards of total offense – 321 through the air and 278 on the ground.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive back Xavier McKinney paced the Tide with a career-high seven tackles as Alabama limited the Red Wolves to a single third quarter touchdown. Junior defensive back Savion Smith posted the Tide’s third non-offensive touchdown of the season with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
It took Alabama less than two minutes to get on the board after Tagovailoa found Jeudy over the middle for a 58-yard touchdown pass. Senior kicker Austin Jones’ extra point gave Alabama a 7-0 lead with 13:19 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Tide struck again moments later, when Tagovailoa hooked up with sophomore receiver Henry Ruggs III for a 31-yard strike to make it 13-0 Alabama following a missed PAT with 11:30 left in the first.
Later in the quarter, Tagovailoa completed his third touchdown pass of the game, when he connected with a wide-open DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard score. The three passing scores were the most in a single quarter by an Alabama quarterback since AJ McCarron threw three in the second quarter against Auburn on Nov. 24, 2012. After another missed extra point, UA held a 19-0 advantage with three minutes to go in the first frame.
In the second quarter, it was Hurts who led the Tide to its next touchdown with a 10-yard pitch-and-catch to junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. to cap a seven-play, 63-yard drive. Following the extra point from redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas, Alabama led 26-0 with 8:52 left in the half.
Just a little over a minute later, the Crimson Tide once again found the end zone when Hurts hit Jeudy for a seven-yard score. After the Bulovas extra point, UA pushed the lead to 33-0.
On the ensuing Arkansas State drive, Saivion Smith intercepted a Justice Hansen pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. The Tide led 40-0 with 6:44 left before halftime following Bulovas’ extra point.
Alabama carried the 40-0 lead into the halftime break, outgaining Arkansas State 396-163.
The Red Wolves began the second half with an eight-play, 75-yard drive, finishing it off with a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 40-7 with 12:28 left in the third quarter.
Alabama responded on the next drive by going 23 yards down the field to set up Bulovas’ first career field goal attempt from 39 yards out. The Mandeville, La., native split the uprights to give UA the 43-7 advantage with 9:46 to go in the third.
The Tide hit the 50-point mark with 1:30 left in the third quarter when Tagovailoa threaded the needle to redshirt senior receiver Derek Kief who toe-tapped for a 14-yard score. Bulovas’ point after pushed the lead to 50-7.
In the fourth, Alabama continued to build its lead when Najee Harris punched it in from one-yard out to cap a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Bulovas’ extra point was true, furthering the advantage to the 57-7 final score with 12:06 remaining in the game.
Alabama returns to action Saturday, Sept. 15, with its Southeastern Conference opener against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and Rebels is set for 6 p.m. CT with the game airing live on ESPN.