ORLANDO, Fla. – The top-ranked Alabama football team was in control from start to finish in its 51-14 win over Louisville in the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (1-0) used a balanced attack to outgain the Cardinals (0-1), 519-268, in total offense and 222-16 on the ground.
Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the Alabama offense, totaling three touchdowns and 253 yards of offense in his first career start. Tagovailoa went 12-for-16 for 227 yard with two passing touchdowns to sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy, while rushing for 26 yards and a score. On the receiving end of things, sophomore wide receiver DeVonta Smith led the charge with four catches and 99 yards.
On defense, sophomore lineman Quinnen Williams finished the game with six tackles including a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss to go along with one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup. Junior defensive back Deionte Thompson had a solid performance with five tackles (1.5 tackles for loss), three pass breakups and an interception.
Alabama began the game with the ball as Tagovailoa directed the Tide down the field in seven plays covering 65 yards, capped by a 11-yard touchdown reception by Jeudy. Following the extra point from senior kicker Austin Jones, UA led 7-0 with 11:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Later in the first, the Crimson Tide struck again after senior running back Damien Harris rumbled 32 yards down to the Louisville 23-yard line to start the drive. Five plays later, Tagovailoa found the end zone, scampering untouched from nine yards out. After the Jones PAT, the Tide held a 14-0 advantage with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, with Louisville driving in Alabama territory, Thompson came over from the safety position to intercept Jawon Pass’ throw in the end zone, returning it 25 yards to set up the UA offense. Three plays into the drive, Tagovailoa found freshman wide out Jaylen Waddle for a 49-yard strike at the UL nine-yard line. Alabama punched it in four plays later, when sophomore running back Najee Harris dove into the end zone from one yard out to finish the six-play, 75-yard drive. Jones’ extra point made it 21-0 with 11:24 remaining in the first half.
With just 41 seconds left in the half, Waddle returned a Louisville punt 31 yards to the UL 25-yard line to set up a short field for the Tide. It took just three plays for Alabama to add to its lead when Tagovailoa found Jeudy for his second touchdown catch, this time from 25 yards out with nine seconds left before halftime. The Jones PAT extended the lead to 28-0 heading into the break.
In the first half, Alabama outgained Louisville 340-111 in total offense, including a 109-11 advantage in the ground game.
Alabama continued to move the ball effectively in the second half as Tagovailoa found junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. for 32 yards to the UL 27-yard line. Back-to-back runs from running back Josh Jacobs finished off the drive. The junior found the edge for an 18-yard touchdown. A missed extra point kept the score 34-0 with 10:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Louisville got on the board with a 12-yard pitch-and-catch to make it 34-7 with 6:27 left in the third. After the touchdown a dead-ball personal foul by Louisville forced the Cardinals to kick off from their own 20-yard line, Jacobs took the short kick 77 yards to the house for his second score of the game and the first kickoff return touchdown of his career. After the Jones extra point, the Tide led 41-7.
Following a Louisville punt, Alabama added to its lead by going 37 yards on six plays with Jones knocking through a 39-yard field goal to put the Tide up 44-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Tide found the end zone once again when junior defensive back Shyheim Carter intercepted Pass’ throw over the middle and took it 45 yards for the touchdown. With the extra point from Jones, Alabama led 51-7 with 7:31 left in the game.
With the game out of reach, the Cardinals added a late touchdown with 1:55 remaining in the contest to cut the Tide advantage to 51-14, the eventual final.
Alabama returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 8, with its home opener against Arkansas State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and Red Wolves is set for 2:30 p.m. CT with the game airing live on ESPN2.