TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Things started badly for the Alabama No.1 on Saturday. After complete offensive possession by both teams at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Mercer had edged the Crimson Tide in the country six yards to one.
However, a blocked punt quickly helped turn the ship around for the Crimson Tide as Alabama knocked down Mercer 48-14 in the home opener on Saturday.
Chris Braswell’s blocked punt led to a scoop and score for Jase McClellan and put Alabama on the scoreboard after two punters to start the game. It was the first of three touchdowns of the day for running back McClellan. He had one on special teams, one on the ground and one on reception.
Despite being slow at the start of the first half, Crimson Tide took a 31-0 halftime lead
It was a sloppy day from the start for Alabama with two penalties that blocked the Tide’s second practice and nine penalties for a total of 95 yards in the game. Last week against Miami, Alabama received eight penalties for 81 yards.
Needless to say, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was excited about the penalties during his post-game press conference.
Overall, it was a messy game for both teams with all-around penalties, dropped passes, mental errors and broken covers, including the one that led to a 60-yard touchdown for Mercer in the third quarter.
Perhaps Alabama’s biggest concern for the Mercer game is the health of Will Anderson Jr. The second-year outside linebacker left the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury and did not return.
After a fiery start against Miami, it hasn’t been easy navigation for quarterback Bryce Young against the Bears. He was able to find great connections, especially with JoJo Earle and John Metchie III and finished the game 19-27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
Because Alabama were able to build such a lead in the second half, after an interception by Marcus Banks, Paul Tyson started his first heat with 3:51 in the third quarter. In Tyson’s first play under center, he joined Earle on a 39-yard pass through the middle. The training ended with a rare failed basket from Will Reichard.
It was a big day for first year Earle. Earlier in the week, Nick Saban called Earle a “Waddle-like” in reference to Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Against Mercer, Earle was the top receiver with seven catches for 85 yards. He also had two punt returns for an average of 23 yards.
True first-year quarterback Jalen Milroe led two Crimson Tide drives in the fourth quarter and didn’t complete a pass but totaled 33 rushing yards.
Apart from the 60-yard-deep ball and a fourth-quarter touchdown with reserve defenders, the Alabama defense managed to contain Mercer’s offense that Saban called unique and challenging throughout. week long.
Now, with two non-conference games under its belt, Alabama is turning its attention to a conference game and a trip to the marshes next Saturday.
This story will be updated.