TUSCALOOSA — If there was any single position that caused Alabama fans more headaches and heartaches than quarterback, it’s kicker.
And the Crimson Tide’s kicking situation doesn’t appear to be any clearer than it was in the preseason after redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas was called to fill in for ineffective senior graduate transfer Austin Jones in the first half Saturday against Arkansas State.
Jones, who was 1-for-2 on field goals and 6-of-7 on extra points in last weekend’s opener, missed a pair of first-quarter extra points before Bulovas replaced him and nailed all five of his extra point attempts Saturday, along with a 39-yard field goal early in the third quarter.
Jones arrived in Tuscaloosa earlier this summer after transferring in from Temple and appeared to take the lead for the starting kicking job coming out of the preseason.
But Bulovas’ performance, added with Jones’ struggles, appeared to re-open Alabama’s kicking conversation Saturday.
Special teams continues to be a bugaboo for the Tide as freshman returner Jaylen Waddle muffed a punt in the second quarter, but Alabama managed to recover for no damage.
To redshirt or not
Despite unconfirmed reports of his intent to redshirt this season, new backup quarterback Jalen Hurts was called into action late and showed out.
Despite a fumble at the 1-yard line to end his first offensive series, Hurts responded accordingly and finished the first half 6-of-7 passing for 85 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
More NOT TDs
Alabama managed just two non-offensive touchdowns last season after averaging 12½ the previous two seasons.
Well, after tying that mark with an interception return and a kickoff return in last week’s opener, the Tide outdid itself Saturday when junior corner Saivion Smith got on the board with a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was Alabama’s 64th non-offensive touchdown of the Nick Saban era.
With 61 rushing yards on 12 carries Saturday, senior running back Damien Harris moved into 14th place all-time on Alabama’s career rushing list with 2,310 yards.
Eddie Lacy ranks 13th with 2,402 yards.