Five of Fresno State’s seven first downs during the first half came through the air. Alabama defensive back Hootie Jones ended four of those receptions. They were his only tackles accounted for at strong safety by intermission, but he was the Crimson Tide’s third-leading tackler going into halftime.
All but one of the passes went for at least 10 yards, too. When it came to first downs, the longest was 30 yards and the shortest was 8 yards.
The Crimson Tide also gave the Bulldogs a free first down. Defensive end Isaiah Buggs was called offside on a third down to move the chains. Fresno State converted only one of its five third downs through two quarters.
On the flip side, Alabama had 16 first downs by halftime and was successful on two of its four third-down conversions.
During Alabama’s season opener against Florida State, the Seminoles finished with 15 first downs. Ten of those were from FSU’s passing game. Only four were runs. One was a penalty on Alabama.
So, the chances of an opponent picking up a first down by throwing the ball appear to be higher than running it against the Crimson Tide.