Any concerns of rust or continuity were quickly erased in the opening minutes by Mac Jones and the Alabama offense.
Leading the Crimson Tide to a total of four scoring drives in the first half, Jones is proving to have taken the advice from head coach Nick Saban to play within himself and not get too caught up in the mistakes of the game.
It seems early on that playing within himself means getting Jaylen Waddle the football in open space, as he tormented Missouri’s ss defense in the first half.
Alabama’s offensive line was also a major key to the team’s success as it plowed over the Tiger front seven, helping junior running back Najee Harris move the sticks and gallop into the endzone. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has done a strong job of running a balanced attack in the first half as well.
Alabama’s offensive stat rundown:
Mac Jones: 17/23 239 yards two touchdowns
Najee Harris: 13 carries 71 yards two touchdowns
Jaylen Waddle: 7 catches 121 yards two touchdowns
Perhaps the biggest question mark coming into the game was defensive coordinator Pete Golding and the Crimson Tide’s defense. But having someone like Dylan Moses back in the heart of the defense makes a difference as Alabama let up just 113 total yards in the first half and three points on the scoreboard.
The Crimson Tide secondary has stifled any downfield attack from Eli Drinkwitz’s offense as Tiger quarterbacks Shawn Robinson and Connor Bazelak combined for only 64 passing yards with an average of 6.4 yards per throw.
Alabama’s freshman on the field have made their names heard over the broadcast as defensive back Malachi Moore collected two tackles and one tackle for loss, and outside linebacker Will Anderson put consistent pressure on the Tiger’s quarterbacks.
Alabama’s defensive stat rundown:
Daniel Wright: four total tackles, one tackle for loss
Christian Harris: four total tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss
Dylan Moses: three total tackles, two tackles for loss
Josh Jobe: four total tackles, one pass breakup, one forced fumble
As of right now, the unit seems to be off to a much more promising start this season than last, with the second half coming shortly.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77