Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart found himself wide open in the end zone in the second quarter.
His 39-yard touchdown was the first of many for theCrimson Tide in its 52-6 rout of No. 20 Southern Cal, but the No. 1 team looked far from dominant on offense when the game began.
“We got off to a little bit of a shaky start in the first quarter, especially on offense,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “But defense did a nice job of playing really well early on after the first series.”
With quarterback Blake Barnett under center during the first two drives, the Crimson Tide managed to record a single first down and picked up only 14 total yards.
Almost nothing was going the Crimson Tide’s way on that side of the ball, but then the coaching staff sent out true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.
His first career series was short lived as he fumbled his first play. Despite the mistake, Saban decided to stick with his plan and sent Hurts back out the next time the offense left the sideline.
Saban’s patience eventually paid off and Hurts completed 6 of his 11 passes for 118 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also finished with 32 rushing yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
“I think Jalen, each series that he played, got more and more comfortable,” Saban said. “He adds a dimension with his athleticism and his ability to run that I think is very effective, and I think that that actually opened up the running game.”
Running back Damien Harris cashed in on the opportunities Hurts created. More than once Harris used his speed to hit the holes in USC’s front seven and finished with 138 yards on nine carries, but most of his damage was done on two long runs of 46 and 73 yards.
“Everything started to come together and we were clicking on all cylinders,” Harris said. “It kind of takes a while, especially in the first game, it takes some time to get in a groove. As time went on we really started to click.”
Late in the second half, when the game was long out of reach, Barnett took advantage of his second chance to finish 5-of-6 for 100 passing yards and one touchdown.
“I made a decision for this game that whatever we did at quarterback was for now,” Saban said. “Did you ever make a for-now decision? So we made a decision today for now. That’s the only decision we made. So I’m not speculating on what we’re going to do in the future.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports