Despite first half kicking woes, Alabama took a 40-0 lead into intermission before adding 17 more points in the second half, defeating Arkansas State 57-7 in the home opener. The offense totaled 599 yards while the defense held the Red Wolves to just seven points.
Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts shared time throughout the game totaling six touchdown passes between the two.
There were good and not-so-good trends that continued which the Tide will need to address going forward.
The passing game looks good
Tua Tagovailoa finished the first half 7-for-11 with 180 yards passing and three touchdowns while Jalen Hurts added 85 yards on 6-for-7 passing with two touchdowns.
Jerry Juedy had three receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns leading all receivers as six different wide outs caught passes with five different receivers catching touchdowns. Jeudy finished the day with four receptions and 87 yards.
Twenty pass attempts, 13 receptions and 265 yards with five touchdowns through the air gave Alabama an insurmountable lead after the first half.
Tagovailoa finished his day 13-of-19 with 228 yards and four touchdowns. Hurts finished 7-of-9 passing with 93 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tide added its third non-offensive touchdown on the year as Savion Smith picked off Arkansas State quarterback Justin Hansen in the second quarter, returning the interception 38 yards for a touchdown. Along with the punt and kickoff returns last week, the Tide have now surpassed their non-offensive touchdown total of two from a year ago.
Two years ago, the Tide tallied 15 non-offensive touchdowns en route to a national championship appearance. Not that this offense needs any help putting points on the board. This particular stat trending upwards in 2018 adds value to an already dangerous team.
Offensive line still finding itself
The score may not be the best barometer to judge this unit. The offensive line is still learning how to play with one another. Statistically, the line only gave up one sack and six quarterback hurries. Arkansas State brought pressure early and often making life more difficult than expected.
“We were a little inconsistent in the running game, didn’t really finish blocks up front like we wanted to,” Nick Saban said after the game.
Alabama finished the day with 278 yards on 44 carries and a single touchdown.
Najee Harris lead all backs with 13 carries, 135 yards, and one touchdown. This was Harris’ first 100-yard rushing game of his career. While the stats look favorable, Saban knows that with better competition coming up in the SEC, the offensive line is going to have to play more consistently in order for Alabama to stay balanced on offense.
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