By: Garrett Franks
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide take down the Warhawks of Monroe, Louisiana 63-7 in Terry Bowden’s first visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Bryce Young got things going on their first drive when Young connected with Traeshon Holden for a 33-yard reception. Holden has become a favorite of Young, compiling three TDs so far this season.
Coming into the day, the tide had yet to get a N.O.T (non-offensive touchdown). That changed today as Heisman hopeful Will Anderson Jr. picked off a pass from ULM’s Chandler Rogers and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Anderson finished the day with five total tackles, one and a half sacks, along with his pick-six.
The next drive Ja’Corey Brooks got in on the fun. Brooks blocked Devyn McCormick’s punt within the Warhawks 15 yard-line. Malachi Moore picked it up and rushed it in for six.
Bryce was able to quickly make it 28-0 with a nice seven yard scramble for another touchdown.
The last ten minutes of the first half was tough sledding for the tide. Young was picked-off for the first time this season on an underthrown ball intended for Isaiah Bond. Young was intercepted in the 3rd as well on a ball thrown behind Brooks.
While Alabama’s front seven can have moments of brilliance, they can also look shaky at times. Today was no exception. Early in the 2nd the Warhawks struck back with an eight play, 57 yard drive that resulted in a Malik Johnson rushing touchdown.
It took a six play, 93 yard drive for the Tide to get things back on track. Young used his elite scrambling ability to evade pressure and hit true-freshman Amari Niblack for an 11-yard touchdown reception.
Niblack hailing from the state of Florida, comes with much hype as he was rated a five-star by many recruiting services. With the lack of depth at tight-end, Niblack looks to have an increased role as the season progresses.
While running back Jaymar Gibbs had a quieter game, only amassing four carries for 36 yards. Gibbs caught a 37-yard TD from Young making it look nice with some shake-and-bake around defenders to dive into the endzone.
Young finished the day in the middle of the third as Jalen Milroe replaced him. Young finished 13/18 with 236 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 picks.
It has to be said, while Kool-Aid McKinstry has been the subject of much Twitter debate – he had an excellent game on special teams. Mckinstry totaled 136 total yards on punt returns alone. Whenever the Tide needed good field position, Mckinstry delivered – and delivered big.
Coach Nick Saban said he challenged his players during the week about the lack of explosive plays in special teams. The message seems to have been received considering Alabama totaled over 200 yards in special teams.
More N.O.T scoring occurred with a 68-yard punt return touchdown from Kool-Aid’s defensive back counterpart Brian Branch. That was Branch’s first career trip to the endzone.
Trey Sanders capped it off for the Tide with a six-yard touchdown. Sanders has had his shares of ups and downs. Suffering two back-to-back season ending injuries in 2019 and 2020 Sanders contributed down the stretch last season due to a lack of depth.
The Crimson Tide will be back in Bryant-Denny Stadium next Saturday versus the Vanderbilt Commodores at 6:30 P.M. local time.