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Alabama vs. WKU, first half analysis

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (No. 2) in warm-ups prior to facing Western Kentucky: Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Alabama fans packed out Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Crimson Tide’s home opener against Western Kentucky, despite 94-degree weather conditions. True freshman Jalen Hurts got the start at quarterback and engineered two scoring drives, including one that ended on a four-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Calvin Ridley to end the first quarter.

He completed 10 of 13 pass attempts  (76.9 percent) for 150 yards and a touchdown. After being held to two catches last week, Ridley found separation against the Hilltoppers. He brought in five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown, to lead the unit. ArDarius Stewart finished the first half with three catches for 82 yards, while tight end O.J. Howard totaled two catches for 29 yards.

Alabama holds a 17-3 lead at halftime, but Western Kentucky has stifled the Tide’s run game.

Sophomore Damien Harris has 18 yards rushing on six carries; however, Alabama’s offensive line has yet to generate a push. Defensively, Reuben Foster leads the group with six total tackles.

Cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick has four stops and a trio of players—Ronnie Harrison, Dakota Ball and Ryan Anderson—have three total tackles apiece. Harrison and safety Eddie Jackson both registered an interception, with Jackson’s being returned for a 55-yard score in the second quarter.

Alabama outgained Western Kentucky 229-163, but needs to establish the run in the second half.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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