Alabama Football: Offensive Report Card vs MTSU

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football racked up 431 yards of total offense and 56 points in its week one game against Middle Tennessee State. Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe, for the most part, captained the offense with poise and confidence that spilled over to the rest of the unit.

The lopsided victory allowed the Crimson Tide to go deep into its depth chart and get a lot of guys quality game reps.

Alabama Football Quarterbacks: A

Even though this game was played against inferior competition, the general feeling is that Jalen Milroe cemented himself as the Alabama Football starting quarterback for the 2023 season.

Milroe made some incredible plays throughout the evening, but the most impressive aspect of his performance was the way he managed the game. All evening, he took what the defense gave him and made the simple play. Once or twice, he attempted dangerous throws that showed his inexperience, but Milroe protected the ball well for the most part and never turned it over.

Jalen Milroe may be the most dynamic running quarterback in college football, and he showed it on Alabama’s first drive of the season. From 21 yards out, Milroe picked up an errant snap and kept the play alive, eventually breaking a couple tackles and lurching into the end zone. As he continues to improve as a passer, his raw athleticism will be an X-factor that makes the Alabama offense tough to stop. On any given play, Milroe can turn a disaster into something positive.

He continued to dink and dunk against the MTSU defense throughout the first half, making easy throws to a variety of receivers in space. Before halftime, he showed a little more of his ability, running in another touchdown before hitting Isaiah Bond on a 47-yard strike for Bama’s first passing touchdown of the 2023 season. Milroe had shown previously that he can throw a pretty deep ball, but his issue has always been consistency.

So was the bomb to Bond a fluke? Highly unlikely. Early in the third quarter, Milroe connected on two more deep shots, hitting Jermaine Burton for a 48-yard touchdown and Amari Niblack for a 29-yard score. His touch, timing, and confidence in the pocket on these throws were almost unrecognizable from last year, when he was just an anxious freshman trying to replace a Heisman winner. Just like that, Bama had a 42-0 lead and Milroe’s outstanding 2023 debut was over. He finished with 194 passing yards and a team-high 48 yards on the ground with five total scores.

Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner took the field next, and was also solid. Buchner led a touchdown drive on his second outing, running the ball into the end zone himself from nine yards out. Buchner only attempted five passes for the game, but he looked comfortable in the pocket and threw some good balls.

Redshirt freshman Ty Simpson batted cleanup, and led a touchdown drive of his own. Like the first two quarterbacks, Simpson showed a good combination of poise and athleticism. He scored late on a quarterback sneak to make the final score 56-7.