Alabama football

Alabama football did what it was supposed to do on Saturday, defeating Middle Tennessee State 56-7 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The US college football team, the Blue Raiders, didn’t put up much of a fight, and the Crimson Tide won convincingly.

With the focus now shifting to next week’s game against Texas, here are three takeaways from Alabama’s 56-7 victory on Saturday.

Quarterbacks
Jalen Milroe had his eyes up, and as he approached the MTsu 21-yard line, it looked like he was about to take off. When he did, he danced around the Blue Raider defense, appearing like a certain sack turned into a touchdown run before leading the way downfield.

This was the first time this season that Alabama’s opening score was a quarterback run, with Bryan Bruggman doing it against Vanderbilt in 1995. Milroe also completed his first seven passes for 52 yards on the day, but after a late throwaway due to pressure in the second quarter, he finished less than perfect.

In the first half, Milroe did everything he needed to solidify his position as the top quarterback. He completed 10 out of 13 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a 47-yarder that was a deep throw to Isaiah Bond. In the first drive of the second half, Milroe left another touchdown for Jermani Brown with a 48-yard pass.

In total, Milroe did what Alabama fans had hoped to see from Bryce Young’s replacement. And running for a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Tide led 42-0, and backup quarterback Taylor Buchner didn’t do too badly in relief.

Points, Points, Points
Coaching his first game with Alabama, Tommie Reese, along with Bill O’Brien, had the task of leading the New England Patriots to victory. Inside, there was a question about how much Reese would apply his Notre Dame system to Tuscaloosa.

This wasn’t a full-blown attack that the Fighting Irish had run under Reese last season. However, they did use the empty backfield more.

This was especially clear on Milroe’s second touchdown run in the second quarter. Milroe duplicated the fake handoff to Jase McClellan and went right. With Milroe out in front from his first level, it was the push and outflanking by the offensive line that paved the way.

Alabama didn’t have a single star that shone brightly on the offense. The Tide utilized contributions from Macalebb, Roydell Williams, Isaiah Bond, Kobe Prentice, and more.

This year’s defense is different from the 2022 Crimson Tide, which relied heavily on Bryce Young. Defense is excellent, and it will face its real test next week when they reach Texas’ Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Still, the defense showed promise. Facing the Blue Raiders, Crimson Tide put pressure on quarterback Nick Vattiato, forcing him into poor throws and bad decisions at times.

In the third quarter, MTSU was unsuccessful in scoring with only 32 seconds remaining. Alabama dominated both the ground and passing game against the Blue Raiders.

Kevin Steele was also in his first game as the defensive coordinator. Although when he arrived at Alabama, he was Saban’s first defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008. Steele’s group looked aggressive and made necessary plays, including an interception by UAB transfer Jalen Key.

The real test is likely to come next week. But the defense acquitted itself well in the warm-up.

By Gaurav Tanti

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