TUSCALOOSA, Ala – After a quarterback battle that lasted all offseason, Jalen Milroe was named the starter shortly before the season opener against Middle Tennessee State.
However, many Alabama supporters were nervous given that the last time Milroe started a game he turned the ball over on three separate occasions as Alabama narrowly survived 24-20 against Texas A&M – a team that would finish the season with only five wins.
“Experience is basically an accumulation of things that you learn from the mistakes you make,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I think as he continues to develop and gain experience, he’s gonna play better and better.”
Milroe showed that he has learned from those mistakes as he completed 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 48 yards and two more scores without turning the ball over in a 56-7 victory over the Blue Raiders.
Milroe appeared to be much more comfortable on the field. Something he attributed to learning from former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
“The thing that Bryce had was how poised he was,” Milroe said. “I think the biggest thing about playing the quarterback position is being calm, cool, and collected.”
On the first drive of the game for the Crimson Tide, a bad snap forced Milroe into action. He could have panicked, but was able to remain calm, recover the ball and promptly run by the entire defense for a 21-yard score.
Later, Milroe would show off his arm when he connected with Isaiah Bond on a pass that traveled over 50 yards in the air for his first passing touchdown of the game.
After throwing two more touchdowns, Milroe was taken out of the game and replaced with transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner who appears to officially be the backup.
We’ll learn more next week when Milroe goes up against the Texas defense. The Longhorns forced three turnovers including two interceptions in their week one game against Rice and will be looking to do the same when they come to Tuscaloosa.
If Milroe starts making mistakes, then maybe we will see other quarterbacks get a chance. But it is clear that it is Milroe’s job to lose, and judging by his view of his performance he will not be giving up that spot anytime soon.
“Overall, I need to get better,” Milroe said. “I need to be better as a leader, I need to be better overall at what I’m doing. I just want to continue to build and be the best version of myself when I take the field.”
Milroe is the first Alabama player in history to have three passing and two rushing touchdowns in the same game and he finished with a 72% completion rate connecting with eight different Crimson Tide receivers even while Ja’Corey Brooks who many believe to be the best receiver on the team missed the first half due to suspension.
We learned last year that Milroe is a great athlete, but now he is showing everybody how much he has improved as a passer and is stepping up to be the leader that this team needs.
Next week the Texas native will take the stage against the team he grew up rooting for and attempt to show the rest of the college football world what Alabama already knows.
Jalen Milroe is QB1.
Adam Hambright serves as a senior writer for WVUA-FM. He also co-hosts The Low Tide on 90.7 FM from 7-8 p.m. CT Sunday nights. You can follow Adam on X @adamhambright.