ORLANDO — Alabama sophomore Tua Tagovailoa tied a Tide record in the Nick Saban era for his performance in Saturday's 51-14 win over Louisville.
Tagovailoa tossed a pair of touchdown passes, which is tied for the most for an opening day starting quarterback under Saban.
AJ McCarron threw two in a win over Michigan in 2012, and John Parker Wilson had two in the Tide's 2008 win over Clemson.
Both of Tagovailoa's touchdown passes came in the first half to fellow sophomore Jerry Jeudy. One cover 11 yards, and the other went for 25 yards.
Josh Jacobs’ 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter was the first since Kenyon Drake’s memorable dash against Clemson in the 2016 national championship game.
It was the second big play on the night for the junior running back, having scored from 18 yards out earlier in the period.
Austin Jones, the senior graduate transfer kicker from Temple, felt at home during his first game with Alabama, having grown up in Orlando.
Jones split his pair of field goal attempts, and missed one of his seven extra point attempts.
Jones made 102 out of 104 extra points at Temple and 50 of 67 field goals.
He was the full-time kicker in 2014 and 2015 and the first half of 2016 before tearing up his knee on kick coverage. He kicked in four games in 2017, making 4 of 5 extra points and 4 of 5 field goals.
Shyheim Carter’s 45-yard interception return for a touchdown was the 63rd non-offensive scored during Alabama coach Nick Saban’s reign, and was the 28th score via interception.
Alabama remained perfect in 12 season openers under Saban and has now won 17 straight since dropping their inaugural contest in the 2001 campaign against UCLA.
Louisville was previously 7-1 in season openers under coach Bobby Petrino. The lone blemish was a 31-24 to Auburn to open the 2015 season in Atlanta.
Atoning for Fiesta Fiasco
The Crimson Tide moved to 3-1 overall against Louisville, winning in 1976 and 1977 by a combined 79-6 score before being embarrassed by the Cardinals 34-7 in the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 1990 season.
Alabama has defeated 74 straight unranked teams under Saban, the longest streak in FBS history. Alabama’s last loss to an unranked team was a 17-10 defeat at the hands of Auburn on Nov. 24, 2007.
This is Alabama’s third straight appearance at No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason rankings. The Crimson Tide now joins Oklahoma (1985-87) as just the second team to start the season at No. 1 in three consecutive seasons since the poll began in 1936.
Alabama is perfect in three games in Orlando.
The Crimson Tide won the 1995 Citrus Bowl 24-7 over Ohio State, and was victorious in the 2011 Capital One Bowl 49-7 over Michigan State.