ATLANTA, GA, Sporting Alert — No. 1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in a college football AP Top 3 clash in Atlanta on Saturday.
Modelled as one of the most high-profile season openers in college football history, both teams went for the victory from the get go, but also played solid defense to limit one-another on offense.
The was the first battle in history between two teams in the top three of The Associated Press preseason rankings.
Florida State responded to an early Alabama field goal with a touchdown after Auden Tate pulled down a 3-yard pass from Deondre Francois early in the second quarter.
But the Crimson Tide answered back when Jalen Hurts found Calvin Ridley on a 53-yard pass and Nick Saban’s side went into the halftime interval with a close 10-7 lead.
After the break, Alabama defense returned with a dominating performance to keep Florida State off the scoresheet in the final two quarters of the contest.
During that time, the nation’s No. 1 ranked outfits also scored 11 points in 13-seconds to seal an impressive 14 points victory against a very solid Florida State team.
With the latest success, Saban remained undefeated in season opener, improving to 11-0, while Seminoles’ head coach fell to 7-1 in season opening games after going seven-straight without a defeat.
Meanwhile, Saban, labeled as “The Master” among his pairs, also improved to 11-0 against his former assistant coaches, but it was the first over Fisher, who worked with his colleague during their spell at LSU.
Hurst completed 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 55 yards for Alabama.
Damien Harris ran for 73 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown and also blocked a punt, while Ridley took 7 catches for 82 yards in the win.
Shaun Dion Hamilton finished with eight tackles, five of which were solo.
Florida State’s Deondre Francois went 19 of 33 on passes for 210 yards and a touchdown but was picked off twice by Alabama in the second half in the defeat.
Francois was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter after he was taken down on a play and suffered a knee injury.
(6:25 – 4th) – Andy Pappanastos 33 Yd Field Goal
– Alabama 24-7 Florida State
(1:41 – 3rd) – Damien Harris 11 Yd Run (Jalen Hurts Pass to Calvin Ridley for Two-Point Conversion)
Alabama are starting to pull away from Florida State in Atlanta after scoring 11 points in 13-seconds to extend the lead to 14 points late in the third quarter.
– Alabama 21-7 Florida State
(1:54 – 3rd) Andy Pappanastos 25 yd FG GOOD
– Alabama 13-7 Florida State
The Crimson Tide have stretched their lead a little further with a Andy Pappanastos FG from 25 yards.
(11:28 – 2nd) – Calvin Ridley 53 Yd pass from Jalen Hurts (Andy Pappanastos Kick)
Ahhhhh….And just like that the Crimson Tide have retaken the lead after Jalen Hurts fires a 53 yards pass down field to find Calvin Ridley, who caught and finished in the second quarter. Alabama had trailed for 2:13.
– Alabama 10-7 Florida State
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) September 3, 2017
(13:41 – 2nd) – Auden Tate 3 Yd pass from Deondre Francois (Ricky Aguayo Kick)
– Alabama 3-7 Florida State
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois found Auden Tate from 3-yards and he controlled the ball before going out of bounds and give the Noles a four point lead in the second quarter.
FSU takes the lead!
Auden Tate makes the grab to put the Noles on top on ABC. pic.twitter.com/Y2IrUV4Fbd
— ESPN (@espn) September 3, 2017
(4:30 – 1st) – FIELD GOAL – 9 PLAYS, 44 YARDS, 3:18
Alabama’s Andy Pappanastos 35 Yd Field Goal is Good
– Alabama 3-0 Florida State
Alabama is the first on the board in this high-profile clash after a Andy Pappanastos 35-yard FG was successfully converted. Both Alabama and Florida State quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts and Deondre Francois have looked sharp in the early goings.
Deondre Francois might want to avoid hits like this in the second half.
Noles-Tide live on ABC and streaming in the ESPN App. pic.twitter.com/nO3nd5lPua
— ESPN (@espn) September 3, 2017
The Crimson Tide are ready to put the College Football Playoff national championship defeat to Clemson last season when they take the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the $1.5 billion replacement for the Georgia Dome, which will play host to its first ever college football game.
Live streaming coverage of this game is set for 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC, but you can also stream this contest live on the WatchESPN App and also at WatchESPN.com.
This will be the first time two teams ranked in the Top 3 will open the season against one another since the AP preseason poll started in 1950 and Alabama comes into the game as a 59 percent chance to beat the Seminoles.
As for the coaches, Alabama’s Nick Saban is 10-0 in his season openers and is also 10-0 all-time against his former assistant coaches.
Meanwhile, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has a 7-0 record in season openers and he’s confident his team is ready to shock the nation at the end of the night on Saturday.
This game, labeled as the supreme challenge in college football, will play a big part when the selection committee sits down to decide the College Football Playoff final squads.