TUSCALOOSA — It didn’t matter who was behind center, Alabama’s locomotive-like offense chugged right along unabated for a 57-7 rout of Arkansas State in Saturday’s home opener.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa started for the second straight game and led the top-ranked Crimson Tide (2-0) to scoring drives on three of its first four series before handing things over to Alabama's junior backup.
Jalen Hurts entered late in the first quarter and proceeded to hold serve, throwing touchdowns to Irv Smith and Jerry Jeudy on back-to-back second-quarter series to give Alabama to a 40-0 advantage by halftime. Jeudy led all Tide receivers with 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns — one each from Hurts and Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa finished 13-of-19 passing for 228 yards and four touchdowns on seven series, while Hurts was 7-of-9 for 93 passing yards and two scores on four offensive series as the Tide rolled up a season-high XXX yards of total offense Saturday, including XXX through the air.
Tagovailoa’s three first-quarter touchdowns were the most in a single quarter since AJ McCarron threw three in the second quarter against Auburn in 2012.
Sophomore running back Najee Harris produced a career-best 135 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a 1-yard score to go ahead 57-7 early in the fourth quarter, while senior Damien Harris added 61 rushing yards, most of which came in the first half Saturday.
Although Hurts’ future with the Crimson Tide remains up in the air, especially as it pertains to whether he takes advantage of the NCAA’s new four-game redshirt rule, it was clear none of the outside chatter had any effect on his ability to make plays for Alabama.