Alabama played four true freshmen in the first half against Louisville. Linebacker Ale Kaho made his debut on kick coverage. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle appeared as punt returner and on offense. Defensive back Patrick Surtain played special teams. Punter Skyler DeLong appeared once before the break.
There were eight other players that made their Alabama debuts. Six of those were redshirt freshmen: wide receiver Tyrell Shavers, kicker Joseph Bulovas, defensive back Kyriq McDonald, linebacker Markail Benton, defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis and quarterback Mac Jones.
Junior college transfer Saivion Smith started the game at cornerback. Graduate transfer Austin Jones handled PAT duties.
House not full
Alabama and Louisville drew a crowd of 57,280 to Camping World Stadium, which has a capacity of 57,280.
It was the smallest crowd to attend an Alabama game since last year’s game in Nashville at Vanderbilt, which drew a crowd of 40,350. It was also the lowest-attended UA season opener sine 1999, when Alabama played at Vanderbilt in front of a crowd of 41,600.
Alabama entered the game undefeated in season openers since losing 20-17 to UCLA to open the 2001 season. Alabama is now 9-0 in neutral site openers under Nick Saban. … Former Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was in attendance on Alabama’s sideline. … Game captains for Alabama were offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, running back Damien Harris and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings. … Defensive back Saivion Smith, who wore No. 8 throughout spring practice and fall camp, wore No. 4 in Saturday’s game. That number had previously been worn by injured outside linebacker Chris Allen. … Alabama won the toss and deferred possession to the second half. The Crimson Tide is now 1-0 in coin flips this season. … Louisville debuted a “turnover belt” and “turnover gloves” at Saturday night’s game. The gloves were signed by Louisville native Muhammad Ali. The belt is a WBC belt honoring Ali. The first player to earn the belt and gloves was linebacker Dorian Etheridge, who recovered a fumble from wide receiver Devonta Smith.