Even in an A-Day game, simple logic prevails.
Touchdowns are better than field goals.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Mac Jones led the Crimson team into the end zone three times, throwing a pair of touchdowns to lead his squad to steak and glory in a 24-12 victory over the White team in the annual A-Day game.
The White team, quarterbacked by last year’s starter, Jalen Hurts, scored on four Joseph Bulovas field goals (he added a fifth as the Crimson team kicker) but had no touchdowns.
Hurts completed 19 of 37 passes with one interception. He also rushed for 71 yards from scrimmage although, playing under A-Day’s quick whistle rules that limit contact with quarterbacks, he was also sacked seven times.
Despite that, the White team was within striking distance at 14-12 when Bulovas missed a potential go-ahead field goal from 43 yards out with 3:44 remaining.
Jones then drove the Crimson team to a pair of scores in the final two minutes, a 48-yard field goal by Bulovas and a 46-yard touchdown pass to Xavian Marks to put the game away and secure the Crimson team a steak dinner, the prize awarded to the winner of the annual spring game. The loser must settle for franks and beans.
A redshirt freshman from Jacksonville, Florida, Jones completed 23 of 35 passes for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns, providing Crimson Tide fans with a degree of security that he can be a capable performer in case he is called on in a chaotic quarterback situation.
Alabama’s other quarterback, sophomore Tua Tagovailoa, was one of several players to sit out the game due to injury.
Jones and Bulovas shared MVP honors. Junior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis, an All-America candidate, was selected as the game’s Outstanding Lineman.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was quick to point out that a scrimmage is often an unreliable barometer of gauging performance, especially of quarterbacks.
“Well, we had the first offense playing against the first defense…so I thought the second offense was a little better against the second defense,” Saban said. “I was not disappointed with the way Jalen (Hurts) played.”
The Crimson team scored first as Jones led a touchdown drive, setting up the score with a 30-yard completion to Kedrick James. Brian Robinson, the former Hillcrest High School standout, scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Jones’ second touchdown drive came on a single big play, a 65-yard pass-and-run with redshirt freshman Chadarius Townsend taking the ball over the middle, breaking two tackles and racing 65 yards into the end zone.
The White team came back to add two field goals, the second set up by Jared Mayden. Bulovas also had fourth-quarter field goals of 35 and 48 yards.
Sophomore Najee Harris finished as the game’s leading rusher with 41 yards on 14 carries.
“It was a little bit difficult this spring with some of the players we had out,”Saban said. “But it created an opportunity for other players to step up. All in all, we made a lot of progress. I’m not satisfied with where we are because they is always room for improvement. But we made progress.”
A crowd estimated at 74,732 was in attendance at Bryant-Denny Stadium.