Alabama makes an impressive season debut by dominating Middle Tennessee. State 56-7 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Blue Raiders from Conference USA didn’t offer much resistance throughout the game, allowing the Crimson Tide to dominate.

Before shifting focus to the upcoming Texas game next week, here are three key observations from Alabama’s 56-7 victory on Saturday.

Alabama football


Jalen Milroe displayed impressive awareness when a snap from the MTSU 21-yard line rolled toward him. After recovering, he made his way downfield, skillfully maneuvering around the Blue Raider defense and turning what seemed like an imminent sack into a touchdown run. This marked the first time a quarterback run opened the scoring for Alabama since Brian Brugdorf achieved it in 1995 against Vanderbilt. Additionally, Milroe had a strong start, completing his first seven passes of the day for 52 yards before facing duress and throwing an incompletion in the second quarter due to a protection breakdown. Milroe fulfilled all the requirements to solidify his position as the top quarterback in the first half. He completed 10 out of 13 passes for 112 yards and secured a touchdown. This touchdown came from a 47-yard deep throw to Isaiah Bond. In the initial drive of the second half, Milroe executed a flawless 48-yard pass to Jermaine Burton, resulting in another touchdown. In summary, Milroe delivered precisely what Alabama fans had hoped to see from Bryce Young’s replacement. Additionally, Tyler Buchner performed commendably when he stepped in, particularly after the Tide had established a commanding 42-0 lead, as he rushed for a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Scoring was abundant:

With Bill O’Brian now leading the New England Patriots, Tommy Rees took the reins as Alabama’s offensive coordinator for his first game. The question surrounding Rees was how much of his Notre Dame system he could integrate into Tuscaloosa. While it wasn’t a carbon copy of the Fighting Irish’s offensive attack from last season, Rees did incorporate more usage of tight ends. This was evident in Milroe’s second-quarter touchdown run when he faked a handoff to Jase McClellan and executed a successful run to the right side, assisted by tight end Amari Niblack, who played a crucial blocking role.

Alabama’s offensive success was a collective effort, with contributions coming from various players such as McClellan, Roydell Williams, Isaiah Bond, Kobe Prentice, and others. This year’s offensive approach differed from the 2022 Crimson Tide, which often relied heavily on Bryce Young.

Alabama football

On the defensive front:

Nick Saban might not explicitly admit it, but the Middle Tennessee State game served as a warm-up. The true challenge awaits next week when Texas visits Bryant-Denny Stadium. Nevertheless, the defense exhibited an impressive performance. The Crimson Tide applied significant pressure on Blue Raider quarterback Nick Vattiato, resulting in poorly timed throws and suboptimal decisions.

Middle Tennessee State struggled to score, managing their first points with only 32 seconds left in the third quarter. Alabama effectively shut down both the Blue Raiders’ ground and passing game.

Kevin Steele, in his first game as defensive coordinator, showcased an aggressive defensive unit that made crucial plays, including an interception by UAB transfer Jaylen Key. While the ultimate test awaits next week, the defense displayed a strong performance during this preparatory match.


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