College Football is back and there is no better representation of this wonderful sport than the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game as the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide took on the Miami Hurricanes. The annual kickoff game was held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a crowd of 71,829 crazed college football fans. After last year’s season, the 2021 campaign is back at full swing.
The Tide rolled right over the Hurricanes in a 44-13 victory.
With Alabama losing most of their offensive starters from last year’s championship squad, this team did not show any slack with the newcomers. Their most notable newcomer, Bryce Young, came in as a gunslinger from California in his first career start. He made history as he became the first Alabama quarterback to throw four touchdowns in his debut. The previous record of three touchdown passes was jointly held by Joe Willie Namath and Mac Jones.
Young finished the day 27-of-38 throwing for 344 yards, with the aforementioned four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“Oh, I think Bryce did really, really well. You know, he’s smart,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “Most people just look at the stats and say he was whatever he was, for whatever he was for this many yards.
But, you know, he redirects the protection, he plays like a veteran out there. And, you know, we had the one, you know, sack fumble which was something that we don’t really want to have. But, really, not all his fault that he doesn’t get protected.”
Meanwhile, the Miami Hurricanes came into today’s game with 19 starters returning from their 2020 season. The expectation was they’d put up a fight against Alabama. However, their offense struggled to get out of first gear when the game mattered most.
Sixth year senior QB D’Eriq King completed 23-of-30 for 179 yards for one touchdown while throwing two interceptions. He also lost a fumble. The Hurricanes went into halftime down 27-3.
“Quite simply, just congratulations to Alabama. They played an outstanding game,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said. “I thought the difference in the game was third down offense. I thought their quarterback made some plays, keeping plays alive outside the pocket that extended drives that kept our offense off the field. Offensively, we had a hard time getting in a rhythm because of that. I thought their front is as advertised. Gave us a lot of trouble getting going. I’m proud for the way the guys competed in the second half.”
Miami was finally able to put a touchdown on the board midway through the 3rd quarter when King connected with Xavier Restrepo for a 29 yard touchdown, which made the score 41-10 with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter. But, Miami converted 6-of-14 of their third down opportunities and could only muster 266 yards of offense, compared to Alabama’s 501 yards.
“He’s a competitor so he’s hurt because he came here to win the game,” Diaz said when asked about his quarterback, King. “But I thought he was brave. I thought he was sharp. I thought he made some excellent throws.”
As Miami regroups, the Tide are looking to build upon today’s win.
“I think we’ve just got to finish,” said Alabama defensive lineman PhiDarian Mathis. “That’s going to be a big thing for us in the future is finishing. We’ve got to finish the whole game out. I think we kind of let up and laid back towards the end and that’s something we’ve got to fix quickly.”