Alabama gave Louisiana-Lafayette two doses of poison in the punting game Saturday.
Jaylen Waddle returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown and Derek Kief blocked one to set up another score in the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s 56-14 victory.
UA thought it could get to the Ragin’ Cajuns’ punter on one of his rollout, rugby-style boots. Kief did just that in the first quarter.
“I was actually supposed to come on the outside of the (blocking) shield but it opened up a little different so when I came through it was just like the Red Sea parted,” Kief said. “I didn’t have to do much. The play came to me.
“After the block I was just trying to find the ball, then I was thinking scoop-and-score and then I just ended up jumping on it.”
The next punt was returned to the end zone by Waddle. Alabama was up 21-0 midway through the opening period with special teams playing a big role in two of the scores.
Alabama never had to punt. Joseph Bulovas went 8 for 8 on extra-point kicks but missed field goal tries of 24 and 31 yards.
“We wanted to see if the kicker could develop confidence,” coach Nick Saban said, “and obviously he missed two pretty easy field goals.”
Bulovas’ struggles elicited sympathy.
“They definitely have more pressure because … they only get one chance,” teammate Josh Jacobs said. “So you either got to be right or you’re wrong. So I definitely feel for them or whatever, but right now that’s an area we need to improve on.”
Reach Tommy Deas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0224.