ATLANTA, GA, Sporting Alert – No. 2 Alabama cruised to an unchallenged 42-3 victory over Duke to open their season in Week 1 of the new college football campaign on Saturday. BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY
Tua Tagovailoa went 26-of-31 on completed passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, who dominated the second half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“It feels good. I think what was really good about today was that we had to sustain drives this time,” Tagovailoa said. “It was really good to go into the game. We had to work to score and not just go out there and take shots right away.
“I thought that was a very disciplined (Duke) defense. They showed us a lot of exotic things in the first half. I feel we did a great job of adjusting to what they were sending to us, and what they were getting into.”
Jerry Jeudy had 10 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown, while DeVonta Smith, Miller Forristall and Major Tennison also collected passes for a score in the victory.
“Tua, I thought, played really well in the gamebecause he took what the defense gave,” Tide coach Nick Saban said about his quarterback. “He usually plays well when he’s patient and takes what the defense gives, so I was pleased.”
Duke Coach David Cutcliffe was very impressed by Tagovailoa.
“Well, he’s incredible,” said Cutcliffe. “He’s accurate. He’s poised. His release is so compact and supple and quick. He can throw on the run.
“But I said this — I’ve studied him now. I had never studied him until this summer. I think he’s going to be a great quarterback this year, and he will play in the National Football League a long time. He’s going to be a great player.”
On the ground, Jerome Ford rushed for 64 yards and a score and Brian Robinson Jr. ran home for a score as well for Alabama, which led 14-3 at halftime before outscoring Duke 28-0 in the second half, including 21 points in the third quarter.
Quentin Harris was 12-of-22 for 97 yards with two interceptions for Duke, which started competitively, but struggled afterward to contain the Crimson Tide’s more athletic players.
The Blue Devils’ defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord was ejected from the game after he stomped on Alabama lineman Landon Dickerson in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, as a team, Alabama tallied 512 total yards and had 30 first downs.
Duke will take on North Carolina A&T in its home opener next Saturday, while Alabama, the runner-up last season in the College Football Playoffs, will play host to New Mexico State in their opening game of the season at Bryant-Denny Stadium.