The No. 2-ranked Alabama football team had some questions in its SEC opener Saturday in Columbia, against South Carolina. Here is how they answered four of them:
1. Can the UA defense put pressure on South Carolina’s freshman QB?
UA got a sack and two pressures in the first quarter, but Ryan Hilinski was able to sit back and complete passes after the Gamecocks went up-tempo in the second quarter. Anfernee Jennings was able to force a Hilinski fumble in the third with pressure, but overall the Crimson Tide didn’t establish a rush and make Hilinski feel uncomfortable.
2. Will the Alabama running backs have a breakout game?
Yes, but not on the ground. Alabama pretty much abandoned the run in the first half, running just seven times (three in the first quarter) for 38 yards. Najee Harris and Brian Robinson did most of their damage on pass receptions. Harris caught five passes for 87 yards and two TDs while Robinson had two catches for 37 yards. Alabama rushed for just 76 yards.
3. Can Jerry Jeudy keep up his torrid pace?
No, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Jeudy, who entered Saturday with back-to-back 100-yard games, was targeted several times in the first half, but three passes went incomplete. He made a nifty catch in the third quarter, just his second touch of the game, and made two juke moves that left Gamecock defenders standing still. The play was called back on a hold. He finished with six catches for 68 yards.
4. Who wins the punting battle?
Bryan Edwards came into Saturday’s game averaging 14 yards per punt return and had a long of 41. He was a non-factor. Skylar DeLong had a shanked punt go 14 yards out of bounds in the first quarter. It was Alabama’s only punt of the game.
— Compiled by Edwin Stanton