OXFORD, Miss. — After climbing the depth chart as Alabama’s new starting kicker this week, Joseph Bulovas didn’t do himself many favors Saturday.
The Crimson Tide’s redshirt freshman missed his first field goal attempt when he pulled a 38-yard try wide left early in the second quarter before redeeming himself somewhat in Saturday’s 62-7 rout of Ole Miss inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Bulovas added a 20-yard field goal 2:11 into the second half to put Alabama over the 50-point mark for the third straight game, and then nailed a career-long 44-yard attempt to give the Tide a 62-7 lead with 12:16 left in the fourth quarter.
“Yeah I think he’s done well all week and I think he’s confident,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said of Bulovas last week.
With his miss from 38 yards, Bulovas is 3-for-4 on field goals this season, including 2-of-3 from 35-plus yards. Graduate transfer Austin Jones, who opened up the season as Alabama’s starting kicker was 1-for-2 on field goals in the opener, but also missed a pair of extra points early against Arkansas State to open the door for Bulovas, who made all eight of his extra-point tries Saturday and is 13-for-13 on the season in that category.
Automatic on third down
Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continued to be perfect on third-down passes this season, completing all three of his third-down throws in the first half Saturday for 91 yards and both his touchdowns.
Tagovailoa improved to 13-for-13 passing on third downs through three games this season, throwing for 298 yards and a combined six of his eight touchdowns through the air. He also has three third-down carries for 34 rushing yards and three first downs on the ground this season.
Turning over turnovers
Alabama forced three turnovers Saturday, including a pick-six touchdown return by sophomore Xavier McKinney in the third quarter, to force at least one turnover in 45 of its last 47 game dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season. The Tide has forced 79 turnovers during that span (55 interceptions and 24 fumbles), including 20 that have been returned for touchdowns.
McKinney’s pick-six was Alabama’s fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season, doubling last year’s season total with its third interception return for a score.
Dominating the second half
Under head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide is 120-7 (.945) when leading at halftime, including holding the lead in 37 of its last 47 games dating back to the start of the 2015 season. Alabama is also 104-4 (.963) when leading by seven or more points at the break during the Saban era.