New look Alabama Crimson Tide, same results. Alabama flexed their muscles early on the Miami Hurricanes, almost making this a no-contest early in the second quarter. They left nearly no doubt that despite the departures of Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris, and Jaylen Waddle, they are very definitely still the best team in the country.
Oh, also...the defense is back and in a big way.
The tone was set from the jump when Bryce Young led Alabama 75 yards in under 3 minutes and found John Metchie III for a 37-yard touchdown to open up the scoring. Following back-to-back three and out’s by Miami, Young engineered an 80-yard scoring drive, finding Cameron Latu for a nine-yard touchdown, one of Latu’s two first-half scores, putting the Crimson Tide up 17-0.
From there, it was all defense for the rest of the half, ending this game early. A sack-fumble of D’Eriq King by Christopher Allen set up a field goal and a 20-0 lead with over 11 minutes left in the half. Miami totaled just 107 first-half yards, 60 coming on the final drive of the half that ended in a very meaningless field goal, trailing 27-3.
Miami stalled on the goal line, turning the ball over to start the second half, and then Bryce Young found ex-Buckeye Jameson Williams for a 94-yard touchdown, effectively wrapping this one up.
Alabama would go on to win 44-13, dominating in every phase of the game. While Bryce Young and the offense will surely steal headlines all season and deservedly so, this defense is poised to be the ultimate difference-maker for the Tide. Will Anderson Jr. was as dominant as he was last season, showcasing how dominant he could be, routinely being a pest in the Hurricane backfield and racking up his first sack of what surely will be many this season. The rest of the defense is filled with more than a handful of first and second-day picks, and they handled Miami all day long, totaling two interceptions, a fumble, and five sacks. Expect it to be more of the same all season.
Now to Bryce Young. He was better than advertised, going 27/38 along with Alabama debut records 344 yards and 4 touchdowns, establishing himself as an early Heisman frontrunner. He looked comfortable in the pocket but thrived outside of it, hitting many deep passes down the field rolling out. Jameson Williams also shined in his Alabama debut, putting up 4 catches for 126 yards and the previously mentioned 94-yard touchdown. The only knock on the offense would be the inexperienced offensive line struggled to pick up blitzes, but they got it together moving into the second half.
The more things change, the more they stay the same for Nick Saban. This is Saban’s 20th consecutive victory in season openers, and this one was a dominant performance across the board. Alabama has a tune-up game next week against Mercer before heading to the Swamp to take on Florida.