The last time Alabama football lost a home opener was on Sept. 1, 2001, when it fell 20-17 to UCLA.
On Saturday, as the Crimson Tide kicked off its 2023 season, the streak of winning openers continued as No. 3 Alabama defeated MTSU 56-7 on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Jalen Milroe became the first Alabama quarterback to pass for three touchdowns and run for two more in the same game. Nicholas Vattiato led the Blue Raiders, passing for 127 yards with a touchdown.
Alabama (1-0) hosts No. 12 Texas next. MTSU (0-1) travels to Missouri.
Here are our observations.
Alabama football offense starts fast behind Jalen Milroe, then stalls
Alabama scored on both of its drives in the first quarter. Milroe got the scoring started, picking up a bad snap and running for a 21-yard score. Then, on Alabama’s next drive, Jace McClellan who found the end zone for a 1-yard score to cap off an 11-play drive.
The Crimson Tide slowed a bit in the second quarter. Milroe found the end zone again on Alabama’s fifth drive, this time with a 15-yard touchdown run. On the first play of Alabama’s ensuing possession, Milroe connected with Isaiah Bond for a 47-yard touchdown pass to give the Crimson Tide a 28-0 lead.
Battle of the QBs
Coming into the game, coach Nick Saban made no secret of the fact that Alabama quarterbacks were competing for the starting job.
While four were listed on the depth chart, Milroe got the starting nod. He went 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns, running for 48 yards and two more scores, and did not yield the position until it was 42-0 in the third quarter.
Tyler Buckner came in midway through the third quarter for Milroe and put together a scoring drive that ended with him running for a touchdown.
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Transfer portal paid off
Alabama made good use of the transfer portal in the offseason. The Crimson Tide picked up five transfer players, and all five of them saw time on Saturday, with four starting.
Offensively, CJ Dippre, from Maryland, was named a co-starter at tight end alongside Danny Lewis Jr. Lewis got the initial nod, but Dippre soon found his way in the game.
Trezemen Marshall, a transfer from Georgia, started at middle linebacker. Jaylen Key, a sixth-year transfer from UAB, made his presence known by intercepting MTSU late in the second quarter. Trey Amos from Louisiana also started at cornerback.
Buchner was the only transfer who did not earn the starting nod.
Anna Snyder covers high school sports and University of Alabama recruiting for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, @annaesnyder2