ORLANDO — After months of speculation about the Alabama quarterback pecking order, all of the hand-wringing was finally laid to rest here Saturday night at Camping World Stadium.
In fact, it’s almost unthinkable to even believe there was a competition to begin with based upon Alabama’s 51-14 thrashing of Louisville in the Camping World Kickoff contest.
It seems that the incessant conjecture that began the moment confetti fell to the turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium back in January was truly much ado about nothing. Based on one game, that proved to be the case.
For the foreseeable future it will be “Tua Time” — and the verdict wasn’t even close.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earned the starting nod and promptly led Alabama to touchdowns on five of the first six possessions he was under center.
The other drive was squelched by an Alabama turnover at the Cardinals 17 on the Tide’s second series.
Meanwhile, the results weren’t as dazzling for Jalen Hurts.
After starting every contest since the second game of his freshman season, the junior led the Tide to a couple of first downs on his pair of first half drives.
However, but both possessions ended with Alabama’s only two punts of half.
Tagovailoa connected with receiver Jerry Jeudy on a pair of first-half scoring strikes, while scampering in from nine yards out for another score as Alabama racked up 340 first half yards while limiting the Cards to 111.
Tagovailoa was 12-of-16 for 227 yards — 195 of those coming in the first half — while rushing for another 26 yards.
The Alabama offense had a noticeable energy with Tagovailoa at the helm, freelancing some backyard plays rarely seen in coach Nick Saban’s offensive script.
His dynamic flair was showcased on Alabama’s opening drive when he spun away from a sack to find Jeudy from 11 yards out to cap a 65-yard drive.
Meanwhile the Crimson Tide defensive lived up to its vaunted billing, holding Louisville scoreless until midway into the third quarter.
Deionte Thompson anchored a defensive secondary featuring all new starters that showed some moxie, negating a Louisville first half scoring threat with an interception in the end zone.
But this night belonged to Tagovailoa, ending one of the most anticlimactic mysteries since Geraldo Rivera came up empty-handed at Al Capone’s vault some 30 years ago.
The quarterback slot is now Tagovailoa’s to lose.