Alabama 38, Missouri 19: Grading the Crimson Tide

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports
Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) catches a touchdown against Missouri during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.

Alabama’s season-opening victory over Missouri was a convincing one that became less so in the final minutes as the Tigers scored twice in the final nine minutes of a game that had long been decided.

Here’s how Alabama’s performance graded in its 38-19 win.

Offense: A-

Alabama’s offense was ruthlessly efficient but not as explosive as it could have been. Even without the explosive plays, averaging more than 10 yards per attempt with a 75% completion rate, as quarterback Mac Jones did, combined with three rushing touchdowns from Najee Harris will be enough to win very often.

Defense: B

Of Missouri’s 322 yards, 132 of them came on two touchdown drives in garbage time. Eight tackles for loss and three sacks proved UA’s defense was disruptive, especially in holding the Tigers to six points through three quarters.

Special Teams: B

Kickers and punters did all of the work, as there was little opportunity for returners. Will Reichard made all five point-after attempts and a 34-yard field goal, while walk-on freshman punter Sam Johnson ended his night with a 45-yard punt. He punted three times for an average of 39 yards.

Coaching: A

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was creative in his use of Jaylen Waddle and other playmakers, while the defense showed early signs of development in its second year under Pete Golding.

Final grade: A-

UA coach Nick Saban is certainly going to call for more from the second and third strings, given the miscues of the fourth quarter, a turnover and two Missouri touchdowns among them. However, Alabama showed in the first two quarters that it is perfectly capable of dominating a team of Missouri’s caliber.