TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Behind quarterback Jalen Milroe’s legs and right arm, No. 4 Alabama took down Middle Tennessee, 56-7, in its season opener Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide controlled the contest from the start, tallying 14 points in each of the first two quarters. Milroe accounted for three of the four touchdowns in the first thirty minutes.
Defensively, the Tide wasn’t perfect but did a good job containing Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders only touchdown came with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. Overall, Alabama surrendered 211 yards.
Milroe shines in second career start
After appearing in eight contests last season, the Milroe took the first offensive snap for the Tide in 2023. The dual-threat quarterback showed off his talents as he finished the contest with five total touchdowns, 194 passing yards and 48 yards on the ground.
In Alabama’s first drive of contest, a snap from the Blue Raiders’ 21-yard-line blew past Milroe. Instead of giving up on the play after picking up the football, the Katy, Texas, native used his motor to roll out to the right and run into the end zone for the first score of the game. He later used his speed with about three minutes left in the second quarter to put up points.
Milroe threw touchdown passes to Isaiah Bond, Jermaine Burton and Amari Niblack. Overall, the redshirt sophomore completed throws to seven receivers. He was pulled from the contest with 32 seconds in the third quarter and replaced by Tyler Buchner. After Buchner recorded a rushing touchdown, Ty Simpson was the Tide’s third quarterback of the night, who also ran into the end zone with the ball.
Defense gets the job done
UAB transfer Jaylen Key, a defensive back, notched the Tide’s first interception of the campaign with under four minutes left in the first half. Alabama registered its second takeaway when linebacker Kendrick Blackshire ripped the ball from a Middle Tennessee receiver in the fourth quarter.
Linebackers Deontae Lawson, Chris Braswell and Quandarrius Robinson combined for three sacks.
Tide limits penalties
Alabama stayed disciplined throughout the 60 minutes. The Tide committed a roughing the passer foul in the second quarter, which resulted in a nine-yard penalty. On a punt return with less than a minute left in the game, the Tide was called for holding. Other than that, Alabama didn’t hurt itself with flags.
It was a different story for the Blue Raiders. They recorded nine penalties for 84 yards. Their penalties came from personal fouls, false starts and a defensive pass interference.
Alabama will host Texas next Saturday at 6 p.m. Last season, the Crimson Tide squeaked by the Longhorns, 20-19, in Austin. Texas downed Rice, 37-10, in its first game of the season.