In its first away game of the season, Alabama (3-0) capped off a 62-13 victory over the Duke Blue Devils (1-2) in Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday afternoon.
And after much anticipation, running back Mark Ingram, finally back from injury, had a great first game, ending the night with 151 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.
On the first play of the game, he broke out for a 48-yard run, showing the nation he was back to play.
“I just really wanted to make an impact right off the jump, so it was very satisfying knowing that we got the call,” he said. “I was one-on-one with the corner, and I had to make a play. It was good to set the tone early.”
The Crimson Tide started off the game with four touchdowns in the first quarter. Ingram got two of the touchdowns, and wide receivers Julio Jones and Darius Hanks each took one.
A timely interception by Dre Kirkpatrick set up Hanks’ touchdown, and he ended up being the only player on Alabama’s side to make a pick.
“It was just something that just came, and hopefully many more will come,” Kirkpatrick said.
Duke couldn’t manage a first down until the score was 28-0. The Blue Devils kicked a field goal before the first quarter ended, but the Tide still had a 28-3 lead at the break. And in the first quarter alone, Ingram had more than 100 yards.
In the second quarter, tight end Preston Dial added another touchdown reception, and Trent Richardson got in the scoring with a 91-yard kickoff return for another touchdown.
Quarterback Greg McElroy threw an interception in the second quarter as well. He had a streak of 149 attempts without a pick, and Duke’s Lee Butler broke the streak with a diving grab out of the air.
Throughout the first half, Alabama’s offensive strategy was more geared toward passing, with 219 yards gained through the air and 163 on the ground. On the leader board for the receivers was Jones with 106 yards and Hanks with 52 yards in the first half.
Though the Tide dominated the first half, the defense still allowed two field goals and a touchdown. The touchdown came off a fourth down conversion at the end of the second quarter. The play after the conversion, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree threw a pass to wide receiver Austin Kelly for an 11-yard touchdown reception.
“I think we got tired defensively in the second quarter,” head coach Nick Saban said. “They went no-huddle against us. We practice against it all the time. It’s not really something that we anticipated in this game, and I think we got a little bit tired. I was a little disappointed in the way we executed.”
Going into halftime, kicker Cade Foster tacked on a field goal as time expired to put the Tide up 45-13, which is the largest number of points Alabama has scored in any half since 1973.
In the second half, the defense didn’t allow any points from Duke, while the offense tacked on another field goal and two touchdowns.
Trent Richardson ran for a 45-yard touchdown in the middle of the third quarter, and then Eddie Lacy had a 1-yard touchdown run as the only and final score in the fourth quarter.
The attendance at Wallace Wade Stadium was 39,042, the highest crowd Duke has seen since 1994.
Next week, the Tide heads to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the highly-ranked Razorbacks. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet is in the the Heisman race this season and will give the Tide’s young secondary its biggest challenge.
“Ryan Mallet, he’s a great player, he’s a great quarterback, so you know he’s going to let it fly,” sophomore linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “We just have to prep for that.”