The spread between the University of Alabama and the University of Louisville going into Saturday night’s matchup between the two storied programs was 24 points going in the Crimson Tide’s favor.
Nick Saban‘s group was named The Associated Press Top 25 No. 1 ranked team for the third season in a row and the Crimson Tide showed why they are once again likely the favorites to win the College Football Playoff’s national championship in January.
Saban started sophomore sensation Tua Tagovialoa (12-of-16, 227 yards) and he threw two first-half touchdowns and rushed for another and led Alabama to a convincing 51-14 victory over Louisville to start off the college football season. Both teams will face less stiff competition next weekend, as the Crimson Tide will face Arkansas State and the Cardinals take on Indiana State, respectively.
One of the biggest storylines heading into the contest was the hotly contested quarterback battle between Tagovialoa and Jalen Hurts, who was the starter for Alabama in 2016. Tagovialoa led the Tide to the national championship in a 26-23 overtime victory over SEC rival Georgia and didn’t disappoint on Saturday evening. The sophomore looked next to unstoppable in the opening half of play, leading the Tide on four scoring drives and completing 11-of-15 for 195 yards, two touchdowns to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
”I talked to both quarterbacks Thursday before practice, and they both knew how the situation would be in the game,” Saban said about the quarterback situation heading into the game.
Louisville came into the game unranked after losing Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who was in attendance Saturday, to the National Football League and now plays for the Baltimore Ravens. Starting redshirt sophomore Jawon Pass, the first-year starter looked uncomfortable throughout the game against Alabama’s tenacious defensive front seven unit. After the first quarter, the Crimson Tide had already outgained Louisville 183-60 in total yards.
There were no such issues for Alabama’s offensive unit, which displayed more of an up-tempo, spread style of play and Tagovialoa proved to be the more capable signal caller at quarterback.
Notes: Official attendance was 57,280 attendees; A plane was flying a banner over Camping World Stadium, paid for by a local law office, read ‘UCF ‘17 CO-NAT’L CHAMPS 13-0’ in an attempt to stir the ire of Alabama fans in Orlando. UCF defeated Auburn 34-27 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.