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Quarterback play powers Tide to victory over Arkansas State

Jalen Hurts celebrating
© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa is the starter, but Jalen Hurts still shows he can contribute. 

Both quarterbacks combined for six touchdown passes in Alabama’s 57-7 win over Arkansas State in its home opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium. While Tagovailoa put together another 60 percent or higher completion percentage game, Hurts’ two scoring passes moved him to third all-time in school history (42).

After passing former Tide quarterback Brodie Croyle, he now stands behind John Parker Wilson (47) and AJ McCarron (77) in this category. 

Sophomore running back Najee Harris turned in a career day with 135 yards rushing with a touchdown on 13 carries. Damien Harris finished with 61 yards on 12 attempts, and Hurts toted the ball five times for 32 yards.

Alabama’s rushers averaged over five yards a carry. 

Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was the Tide’s high-man in yards with 87. 

He also brought in two touchdown receptions on four catches – including a 58-yard score from Tagovailoa in the first quarter. The other two sophomore weapons, Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III, both had three catches apiece. Both players collected scores of 41 yards and 31 yards respectively, although Smith had more yards with 77. Irv Smith Jr was even involved at tight end, hauling in four passes for 41 yards with a 10-yard scoring grab from Hurts in the first half. 

Safety Deionte Thompson led the team in tackles with six. 

Defensive end Isaiah Buggs and linebacker Dylan Moses both tallied one sack apiece, while cornerback Saivion Smith recorded his first interception of the season. He starts the Tide’s non-offensive scoring threat, as he returned the pick 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. 

Despite allowing almost 400 yards of offense to Arkansas State, Alabama’s defense stifled the Red Wolves on third down and did not surrender a score in the red zone. More things need to be cleaned up in practice, but Nick Saban will address it next week as the Tide faces Mississippi. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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