Alabama kicker Austin Jones, a senior transfer from Temple, missed two extra-point kicks in the first quarter against Arkansas State on Saturday, banging one off the left upright and the other off the right upright.
Jones also missed a point-after kick in last weekend’s senior opener, going 6 for 7 in that game on extra points.
Joseph Bulovas took over after Saturday’s second miss, nailing his second-quarter attempt into the heart of the student section to get a standing ovation. He made five extra-point kicks and a 39-yard field goal, finishing out the game as UA’s placekicker.
“I said earlier that the specialists need to perform,” coach Nick Saban said. “Obviously when you miss two extra points, that’s not a good thing. I thought Joe did a good job when he went in there. Those two guys have been in close competition the whole time. I think it has a lot to do with confidence and sometimes when you lose your confidence, things don’t go right. We still have a lot of confidence in both guys. We just have to get their mind right so they have the confidence in themselves to go do it. I thought Joe kicked off well and did a good job when he kicked the field goals and extra points.”
An Alabama kicker has now missed more than two extra points in a season for the first time since 2009, when Leigh Tiffin was good on 42 of 46 attempts. Jeremy Shelley went 52-of-54 in 2011, but UA’s primary kicker was perfect on point-after tries in 2017 (Andy Pappanastos), 2015 (Adam Griffith), 2013 (Cade Foster) and 2012 (Shelley) in recent years, with one miss by Griffith in 2016.
Skyler DeLong punted for times for a 35-yard average, but UA’s return game yielded negative yards. The Crimson Tide recovered an Arkansas Sate onside kick attempt.
Freshman defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis injured his knee before the game as he warmed up. He spent the game on the sidelines on crutches. He’s expected to be evaluated on Sunday.
“It doesn’t seem good,” Saban said. “Until we get verification and the doc tells us what needs to be done, we’ll kind of hold that.”
Defensive end Isaiah Buggs tweaked an ankle that he initially injured in the season opener against Louisville, but could have returned to the game if needed, Saban said.
Honorary captains for the game were Kenneth Roberts and Bobby Smith. Roberts played center and helped on defense, while Smith played quarterback and defensive back. Both players played from 1956-58, and Smith was a captain for the 1958 season. Alabama’s 1958 team, which was the first under Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, celebrated its 60th anniversary and was recognized before the game. … Game captains were left tackle Jonah Williams, tight end Hale Hentges and defensive back Shyheim Carter. … Arkansas State won the toss and chose to defer. Alabama is 1-1 in coin tosses this season. … Alabama debuted a new flag commemorating its 2017 national championship in the north end zone before the game. … Nick Saban has won 18 straight home openers as head coach dating back to 1998. … Alabama has now won 75 consecutive games against unranked opponents. Alabama has also won 31 straight games against nonconference opponents at home. … Paid attendance was announced as 100,495.