OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss had one heck of an opening salvo.
But then Alabama returned fire — repeatedly and without mercy — and, as if using a machine gun in a musket fight, scored 49 unanswered points and rolled up 418 yards of total offense in an explosive first half to dominate the host Rebels 62-7 Saturday evening inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
It was the third straight 50-point effort from Alabama’s new-look passing attack to open the season, setting a new program mark, and is the first time the Crimson Tide have scored at least 50 points in three consecutive games since eclipsing 55 in four straight games in 1945.
Ole Miss struck first as senior quarterback Jordan Ta’amu went deep on the game’s first offensive play and found sophomore D.K. Metcalf wide open for a 75-yard touchdown strike to go ahead 7-0 11 seconds into the game.
Of course, his fellow Hawaiian counterpart responded in kind as Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 4 of his first 5 passing attempts, including finding Jerry Jeudy over the top for a career-long 79-yard touchdown to go ahead 14-7 in the first 5:09 of the first quarter.
Alabama’s 28 first-quarter points tied for the most points in an opening quarter under head coach Nick Saban, equaling marks set against Duke in 2010 and Charleston Southern in 2015.
Following Ta’amu’s touchdown, the high-flying Tide offense scored touchdowns on seven of its next nine offensive possessions, and outgained the Rebels 418-125 in total yardage the rest of the opening half, as Tagovailoa outperformed his former workout partner with 191 passing yards to just 52 yards on 5-of-16 passing and one interception .
Tagovailoa exited the game late in the first half with complaints of leg cramps, turning things over to junior backup Jalen Hurts, who completed 7-of-10 for 85 yards and two passing scores in relief.
Alabama’s offense was especially efficient with its aerial attack, once again involving multiple different receivers Saturday as five players recorded at least three catches against Ole Miss. Jeudy led the way with a career-high 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three catches, while tight end Irv Smith Jr. and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III also added touchdown receptions in the game.