Instant: Alabama defeats Duke in season opener

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Instant: Alabama defeats Duke in season opener

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

James Ogletree and James Benedetto, Sports Editor and Assistant Sports Editor

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Intro: Alabama opened its 2019 season with a 42-3 win over Duke in Atlanta, improving to 13-0 in season openers under coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide’s defense held Duke to 204 total yards while scoring four touchdowns in the second half.

Play of the game: Tua Tagovailoa threw to tight end Miller Forristall, who was wide open in the middle of the field. Forristall made a defender miss and sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown, the first of Forristall’s career.

 

Offensive player of the game

James Ogletree: Tua Tagovailoa

James Benedetto: Tua Tagovailoa 

 

Defensive player of the game

James Ogletree: Xavier McKinney

James Benedetto: Shane Lee

 

Fan player of the game:

Offense: Jerry Jeudy

Defense: Trevon Diggs

 

Notes:

  • Freshmen D.J. Dale, Christian Harris, Shane Lee and Will Reichard got their first career starts. Redshirt freshman running back Jerome Ford started his first game as well due to Najee Harris and Brian Robinson’s suspensions.
  • Alabama allowed just two first downs in the quarter, but struggled to move the ball on offense. After a fumble by Ford, Lee made a fourth-down stop at the Alabama 7-yard line to keep the game scoreless.
  • Freshman kicker Will Reichard had a 49-yard field goal attempt bounce off the upright.
  • Junior receiver DeVonta Smith and junior running back Najee Harris entered the game in the second quarter and made immediate impacts. Smith caught three passes, Harris had three carries and the result of the drive was a 27-yard touchdown from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to tight end Miller Forristall.
  • Redshirt junior Terrell Lewis also entered the game in the second quarter, his first game action in 20 months. He sacked Quentin Harris on his third play to force a Duke punt.
  • On its next drive, Alabama used just seven plays to go 76 yards capped off by a Brian Robinson Jr. touchdown, his first of the season. That made the score 14-0.
  • After two three-and-outs in the second quarter, Duke drove inside the Alabama looking to get back within one score. Two solo tackles by Lee and an incompletion forced the Blue Devils to kick a field from 30 yards out. The score was 14-3 with 11 seconds left before halftime.
  • Redshirt sophomore tight end Major Tennison caught his first career touchdown midway through the third quarter, a 1-yarder from Tagovailoa. That extended the lead to 21-3.
  • After Trevon Diggs recovered a Duke fumble, Alabama used just three plays to go 28 yards. It was the first touchdown pass of the game under a minute. 
  • The next drive, Alabama was once again efficient as the Crimson Tide went 90 yards in nine plays capped off by a Jerry Jeudy touchdown. Jeudy now has 17 receiving touchdowns for his career, tied for fourth all-time in program history.  
  • Ford scored his first career touchdown, a 37-yard run, with five minutes left in the game.