ATLANTA — It was a slower start than most anticipated for Alabama in the 2019 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

The No. 2 Crimson Tide and Duke went into the second quarter scoreless, but Bama ended up pulling away for a 42-3 win Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in both teams’ season opener.

Alabama’s first score came on a 27-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Miller Forristall. The 6-foot-5 tight end was open in the middle of the field, then cut to his left to make a defender miss to put the Tide up a touchdown with 10:02 left in the second quarter.

Following a Duke three-and-out, Brian Robinson Jr. scored on a 1-yard run that capped off a seven play, 76-yard drive to put Alabama up 14-0 with 5:13 left until the half.

This was all after Duke threatened to take an early lead. With Bama running backs Najee Harris and Robinson reportedly suspended for a quarter, it was redshirt-freshman Jerome Ford who got the start. He fumbled on Bama’s second drive and the Blue Devils took over at the Tide 26. The Blue Devils later went for it on 4th-and-1 from the 7, but the move didn’t pay off as Deon Jackson was stopped short.

Duke did get on the board with 11 seconds left in the first half on a 30-yard A.J. Reed to make the halftime score 14-3.

The Tide then blew the game wide open as they scored on their first three drives of the second half on Tagovailoa scoring passes.

 

Star of the Night

Tagovailoa’s night was over late in the third period as he put up eye-popping numbers. The junior finished 26-of-31 passing for 336 yards and four touchdowns.

 

By the Numbers

2001 — The last time Alabama lost its season opener was 2001 (20-17 to UCLA at home). … 382 — The Crimson Tide has outscored their opponents 526-144 — a total of 382 points — in the last 13 season openers under coach Nick Saban. … 6 — Six of those season opening wins, including Saturday’s victory over Duke, under Saban was against ACC schools. … 2 — Former Hoover High School kicker Will Reichard missed his first two field-goal tries with the Tide (49- and 48-yard attempts). He was six for six on PATs. … 26 — Tagovailoa set a career-high in completions with 26.

 

They Said It

“Tua’s doing what Tua does. He’s making plays and doing what he needs to do to be the best player he can be. That’s how Tua does.” — Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy

“It was a good start for us, but we have a long way to go for what we’re trying to accomplish. I feel like it’s a very good start and we have a good team coming.” — Alabama defensive back Trevon Diggs

 

Coachspeak

“I thought we got off to a little bit of a slow start in terms of our ability to execute, but not because of lack of effort or attitude. As the game went on, we played better. I thought offensively once we got going, we executed fairly well.” — Saban

“Alabama is not good; they are outstanding. They have a great offense without a doubt. When we needed to play at our best at times, we hung in there and could. But our defense just wore out with the offense not being successful.” — Duke coach David Cutcliffe

 

Alabama Stat Sheet

The Crimson Tide totaled 512 yards (367 pass, 145 rush). Jeudy finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 137 yards with one touchdown. Jaylen Waddle had five catches for 90 yards. Ford had 64 yards rushing on 10 carries. He scored Bama’s final touchdown with 4:51 left in the game on a 37-yard run. Harris had 52 yards on 12 rushes. Xavier McKinney led the defense with eight tackles. Diggs and freshman Jordan Battle each had an interception while Terrell Lewis had a sack.

 

Duke Stat Sheet

The Blue Devils had 204 (107 rush, 97 pass) yards. Quentin Harris was 12-of-22 for 97 yards and two interceptions. Dylan Singleton totaled 13 tackles.

 

Up Next

Alabama (1-0) hosts New Mexico State at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday for its home opener. Duke (0-1) welcomes North Carolina A&T at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.