Alabama rolls over Louisville 51-14 in Camping World Kickoff
Orlando— Weeks of debate for who would lead the Crimson Tide at quarterback finally came to a head Saturday night. Tua Tagovailoa stepped out onto the field to lead Alabama’s first offensive drive and never looked back as the Tide obliterated the Louisville Cardinals 51-14.
The 57,280 at Camping World Stadium were treated to 519 yards of total offense from the Crimson Tide and a contest that quickly became a blowout.
Minutes before the game Head Coach Nick Saban announced he would play both Tagovailoa and incumbent starter Jalen Hurts. However, it quickly became obvious Tagovailoa was the man for the job.
The sophomore found his first score through the air with 11:55 in the first quarter after swiftly avoiding a sack and throwing receiver Jerry Jeudy open. Tagovailoa used his legs two drives later to put Alabama up 14-0 on a 9-yard run.
Tagovailoa ended the half 11-of-17 for 195 yards and 2 passing touchdowns where his night essentially ended.
Meanwhile, Hurts’ offensive snaps essentially came in an early second quarter garbage time for Alabama. The Junior completed just two passes on six attempts for 36 yards before the half. Hurts completed 3 more passes in the second half to finish 5-of-9 for 70 yards.
One serious note of concern for Alabama came from the offensive line play —or lack thereof— while Louisville defense was still fresh. The Cardinals constantly sent pressure, causing Tagovailoa and Hurts to try their best and evade. The quickness of both QBs held Louisville to one sack but did limit the ability of Alabama’s running game.
Even still, the Crimson Tide finished with 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back ended the night as the Tide’s leading rusher with 55 yards on 7 carries.
Louisville came into the game underdogs to Alabama understandably, but few could have seen the total collapse against the National Champions. New QB Jawon Pass, replacing first-round pick Lamar Jackson, showed flashes of success much like his predecessor but could never put together consecutive drives producing points.
The Cardinals produced only 111 total yards offensively in the first half, 100 yards through the air, while the game was in still within reach. As a complete game performance Pass threw for 252 yards on 20-of-39 with three sacks and two interceptions.
Alabama returns home next week in a rather light matchup against Sunbelt Conference foe Arkansas State and should easily improve to 2-0.
Louisville also gets a chance for an easy win at home next week against Indiana State.
By Caleb Johnson (@ATLjohnson18)