Milroe has 5 TDs -- 3 passing, 2 rushing -- to lead No. 4 Alabama past Middle Tennessee, 56-7
Jalen Milroe passed for three long touchdowns and ran for a pair of scores to lead No. 4 Alabama to a 56-7 season-opening win over Middle Tennessee State
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Milroe threw three long touchdown passes and ran for a pair of scores to lead No. 4 Alabama to a 56-7 season-opening victory over Middle Tennessee State on Saturday night.
Milroe emerged on top of a three-man battle to replace Bryce Young in fall camp for the Crimson Tide, and delivered big plays and no costly mistakes in his second career start. He launched on-target touchdown passes of 47 yards to Isaiah Bond, 48 to Jermaine Burton and 29 to Amari Niblack.
A much bigger challenge awaits Alabama with a visit from No. 11 Texas. The Tide gets a better chance to demonstrate its championship mettle after uncustomarilly dropping two regular-season games a year ago. But Milroe easily passed his first test.
He showcased his running ability in turning a terrible snap into a 21-yard touchdown on his opening drive. Milroe had to go back and scoop it up after the ball basically rolled past him, then he raced to the right sideline. He put his left hand on the ground to keep his balance and make a final cut at about the 7.
Touchdown, Milroe. The first of his five total in a 13-of-18, 193-yard effort. He also ran for 48 yards before handing the offensive reins to Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner midway through the third quarter. Ty Simpson was also competing for the job.
Both the backups ran for touchdowns.
Milroe's only previous start came last season against Texas A&M, when Young was hurt.
Middle Tennessee: Made a reported $1.6 million from the game and did manage a touchdown late in the third quarter. Nicholas Vattiato was 21-of-32 passing for 127 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Alabama: Showed the offense remains in good hands with Milroe at quarterback, even though the QB situation may not be truly settled until a big game against No. 11 Texas. A defense replacing Will Anderson pitched a shutout.
If there are any for Alabama, it will be based more on what happens in the game between No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Florida State on Sunday than on the Tide's performance in an opening blowout.
Middle Tennessee lost starting cornerback Deonte Stanley before the defense even took the field. Stanley was called for targeting on punt returner Kool-Aid McKinstry after the Blue Raiders' opening series.
Alabama won its 22nd home opener in a row, its 21st straight at Bryant-Denny Stadium its 57th consecutive nonconference regular-season game.
Middle Tennessee: At Missouri next Saturday,
Alabama: Hosts No. 11 Texas next Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll