Top-ranked Alabama clobbered Arkansas State by 50 points in its home opener Saturday and answered a few key questions:
1. Can Alabama clean up its act?
After being penalized 10 times for 111 yards a week earlier against Louisville, Alabama eliminated a lot of mental mistakes and infractions. Alabama did turn the ball over on a fumble and a muffed punt return that it was able to recover, but drew just four penalties for 35 yards in a much less messy outing.
2. Will the offensive line be more physical?
This Crimson Tide offensive line was able to push Arkansas State around more than it did Louisville a week earlier, but still didn’t look overwhelming at the point of attack. Alabama ran for 278 yards on 44 carries, with Najee Harris gaining 135 yards on 13 attempts with a touchdown, but there’s still work to be done to create a dominant running game.
3. What will Jaylen Waddle do?
The speedy rookie wideout who tallied 146 all-purpose yards in his collegiate debut a week earlier didn’t come up big in his first home game. He fumbled a punt return early and was barely involved in the passing game, catching one pass for a 9-yard gain. He was credited with two punt returns for a total 6-yard loss.
4. Is there a curse on Alabama kickers?
Austin Jones missed two extra points, continuing the kicking game woes that have plagued UA for the last several years, but Joseph Bulovas came to the rescue. Not only did he nail five point-after kicks, he made a 39-yard field goal.