Whether or not he was out to prove a point, Jalen Hurts quieted any remaining doubters with an electric offensive performance Saturday that began in breakneck fashion.
As the top-ranked Crimson Tide improved to 2-0 on the season, St. Louis alum, Tua Tagovailoa, found the end zone for the first time for Alabama against Fresno State on Saturday morning.
Alabama's offense needed to bounce back in its home opener against Fresno State, and it didn't take them long to do just that.
Rushing defense - B+: Despite giving up the occasional big play, Alabama only allowed Fresno State 58 total rushing yards on 22 carries for a 2.63 average.
He was shut out for three quarters before finally pulling down a catch for 7 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter - taking a hard hit along the sideline from cornerback Levi Wallace while hanging on to the football. Hentges said it was his first touchdown since his senior year at Helias High School in Jefferson City, Missouri.
The Tide led 28-3 at halftime against Fresno State, which opened coach Jeff Tedford's first season with a 66-0 win over FCS Incarnate Word.
"I think that can be a big momentum changer, coming out fast", Hurts said.More news: Record-breaking Demetrious Johnson's UFC 215 fight put on hold
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"When you have such a great offense like this with so many weapons and pieces, if you don't get the ball that can be a great thing", Hentges said. "He ran all over us today". Hurts finished 14 of 18 for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Fresno State began the next drive on their own 8-yard line and moved the ball out to their 44. "All in all I'm pleased with the progress that we made, and we certainly need to stay focused on the things we need to improve and continue to get better".
The Fresno State Bulldogs have the confidence from last week's 66-0 shutout but the Crimson Tide are a different beast. Defensively, a pair of interceptions from Jamal Hicks and a sack from Trey Sutton highlighted a defensive outing that saw the Rams hold Abilene to 333 yards of total offense and 5 for 16 on 3rd down. Coach Nick Saban stretched his personal streak in that category to 17.
Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Najee Harris have between 15 and 21 carries apiece, nearly evenly splitting the carry load so far.
Fresno State responded by going 70 yards on nine plays to set up a 27-yard field goal, making it 14-3 Alabama with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Passing quarterbacks like Sam Darnold (26 attempts for 316 yards against Stanford Saturday), Josh Rosen (59 attempts for 491 yards week one against Texas A&M), Baker Mayfield (32 attempts against Ohio State) and Lamar Jackson (39 attempts for 393 yards at North Carolina) are filling the sky, posting statistics Hurts can't dream of.
Alabama lost two starting linebackers for the season in Christian Miller (biceps) and Terrell Lewis (elbow). Former walk-on Jamey Mosley, younger brother of Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, and Keith Holcombe made their first career starts.