No. 1-ranked Alabama hosted Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday in a break from SEC play. Here are four key questions that were answered:
1. What’s happened to the running game?
The Crimson Tide hadn’t gotten a downhill rushing attack going in its previous outings, but was able to get physical in this one. Six different running backs combined for 268 yards on 46 carries, including three touchdowns. Najee Harris led the way with 73 yards on 11 attempts with one score. UA averaged 5.8 yards per carry.
2. Will Jalen Hurts play?
Any idea that Alabama’s junior quarterback, who started the previous two seasons, would play in four games and take a redshirt under new NCAA rules, was dashed in the first half when Hurts came in under center. He completed 4 of 6 attempts for 118 yards with one touchdown pass off the bench, looking downfield for some big gains.
3. Can Alabama’s special teams get it together?
Yes and no. The Crimson Tide got a blocked punt and Jaylen Waddle returned another for a touchdown. Placekicking, however, was a sore spot. Joseph Bulovas was a perfect 8 for 8 on extra-point kicks, but missed two field goal tries. There’s still room for improvement in the kicking game.
4. Is this a name-your-score game?
It was until the fourth quarter. Alabama was ahead 56-0 entering the final period and the starters were all on the bench. Louisiana-Lafayette salvaged some dignity and make things more respectable with two scores in the fourth quarter to cut Alabama’s final margin of victory to 42 points.