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Mac Jones, Alabama football open 2020 season with a win over Missouri

Mac Jones with a throw against Missouri
Denny Medley - USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban and Alabama football begin its 2020 season with a 38-19 victory over Missouri.

After being a backup for much of last season, Mac Jones was the starter on Saturday night and he put on a show.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Jones attacked the Tigers’ secondary for 249 passing yards and two touchdowns. He was highly efficient with a 75 percent completion rating (18-of-24 passing) and distributed the ball to six different receivers.

The redshirt junior was very confident in his decision making, and Steve Sarkisian dialed up the perfect game plan for him on the road.

Despite a strong outing from Jones, Alabama maintain balance on offense.

RELATED: Alabama offense picks right up from last year as it leads Missouri at the half

Najee Harris got his Heisman campaign started with three rushing scores. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and totaled 98 yards rushing on 17 attempts, while catching two passes for eight yards. Harris totaled 106 yards from scrimmage, but his 98 rushing yards moves him ahead of Eddie Lacy (2,475) for 14th all-time in school history.

When it comes to the wide receivers, Jaylen Waddle impressed NFL scouts big time.

Waddle, a native of Houston, Texas, exploded for 134 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight catches. He and Jones established early chemistry and were on the same page throughout the game.

DeVonta Smith had eight catches for 89 yards, and John Metchie (first-year starter) totaled two catches for 42 yards.

Defensively, the Crimson Tide showed much better communication than last season.

With the return of Dylan Moses, Alabama allowed just 69 rushing yards on an average of two yards per carry to Missouri.

The Tide gave up 322 yards offensively and Eliah Drinkwitz’s group had a difficult time sustaining momentum. Alabama’s duo of Daniel Wright (11 tackles) and Josh Jobe (seven tackles) led the team in tackles, but Moses’ presence was felt on the field.

RELATED: Alabama-Missouri Predictions

He posted four tackles, including two for loss, and put teammates in position for success.

Jordan Battle and Christian Harris had six tackles apiece, while Harris tallied two stops for loss and one sack.

In terms of sacks, Harris, Jobe and LaBryan Ray (four tackles) each had one. For its two true freshmen starters, William Anderson and Malachi Moore made big plays. Anderson had three tackles and forced a lateral that resulted in a turnover. Moore had three stops, with one coming for loss. After starting nine true freshmen in 2019, Alabama played four against the Tigers.

Along with Anderson and Moore, Bryce Young (quarterback) and Drew Sanders (outside linebacker) saw action.

Young completed five of seven passes for 54 yards and rushed for 12 yards.

Two things to clean up for Alabama are penalties (seven for 49 yards) and third down efficiency on defense.

Even with the Tide holding Missouri to 13 points, the Tigers converted six of 13 third downs.

Alabama also had a couple of busted assignments in the secondary — including one that resulted in a touchdown — but the coaching staff will get that fixed.

Saban and the Tide will have its home opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium next week versus Texas A&M.

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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 10+ 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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