ATLANTA — Alabama is opening the season against Duke at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
We'll post our observations and updates here throughout the game, with all pregame information on the Talk of the Tide forum page:
The game is being shown on ABC.
• Jeudy's numbers so far: 10 catches for 137 yards. Doubt we'll see much more of him.
• Alex Leatherwood is standing on the Alabama sideline, and still has his helmet. The guess here is that if it was a bigger game he could come back, but there's really no reason to do so.
Jerome Ford scores a 37-yard touchdown with the entire second-team offense in the game. Alabama 42, Duke 3
• Nick Saban halftime quote from Alabama sports information: “I thought we got off to a slow start, especially on offense. They did a couple things that we hadn’t practiced, some of the wishbone-type stuff, which the players did a good job of adjusting to. But this is a great example. You don’t give a team the ball back with three minutes to go when you’ve got 2nd-and-1 and don’t make a first down. We’ve had a couple of explosive plays that we left out on the field because we got penalties. We’ve just got to clean some things up and keep executing.”
• Freshman Shane Lee nearly had a pick, with potential for a pick-6 on Duke's opening possession of the second half. Regardless, the freshman is off to a good start as Dylan Moses' replacement.
• Behind the scenes on Najee Harris' 4-yard run for a first down, Landon Dickerson and Duke defensive lineman Edgar Cerenord were mixing it up. Cerenord ended up ripping Dickerson's helmet off, resulting in his ejection. Alabama pulled Dickerson and inserted Emil Ekiyor for a few plays. They put him back in one play before the 1-yard touchdown to tight end Major Tennison. Drive: 9 plays, 65 yards, 3:37; Alabama 21, Duke 3.
• Jerry Jeudy stayed down for a while after trying to get some extra yards at the end of his 10-yard reception. Looked like a targeting or personal foul call could have been made as he took a shot to the head. As far as we can tell, they haven't taken his helmet away (at least not yet).
• Patrick Surtain II credited with the forced fumble, Trevon Diggs had the recovery. Alabama with first down at the Duke 27.
• Tua Tagovailoa, apparently unable to find a tight end, throws an 8-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta White. FYI, Jeudy wasn't on the field for the series. Drive: 3 plays, 28 yards, 0:53; Alabama 28, Duke 3
• Tua's numbers so far: 22-27, 259 yards, three touchdwons. No interceptions.
• Jeudy is back on the field, but now we're missing Alex Leatherwood. Womack is at left tackle.
• Jeudy scores on a 21-yard touchdown pass. I'm guessing he's ok. Drive: 9 plays, 90 yards, 4:20; Alabama 35, Duke 3
• Update on Tua's numbers: 26-31, 336 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
• Mac Jones takes over for the final snap of the third quarter.
• Suspensions are apparently over. Najee Harris has a big gain on first play of second quarter, only to have it nullified by a holding call, DeVonta Smith was also on the field for the play. Two plays later he made his first reception.
• Alabama doing a lot of back-and-fourth, go left, then go right, spreading the defense out and trying to wear them down a little. First third-and-short brings in two tight ends and hands it off to Najee Harris for the easy first down at midfield.
• Crimson Tide closes the drive and opens the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Miller Forristall off a play-action. He was wide open the 15. Drive: 12 plays, 80 yards, 5:49. Alabama 7, Duke 0
• Terrell Lewis in the base defense. Gets his first sack on third down.
• Jaylen Waddle with a 39-yard catch-and-run, gets up grabbing his left shoulder.
• Something to keep an eye on, Emil Ekiyor and Matt Womack have been rotating in at times. Womack just lined up wide of Wills on the right side on a play, they might be using him as a blocking tight end.
• Brian Robinson Jr. enters game and scores a 3-yard touchdown following a 24-yard cross by Smith, in which he was wide open with a lot of green in front of him. Looks like Steve Sarkisian really likes crossing routes with these guys. Replay showed Robinson was down before goal-line. He gets it on the next play with Ale Kaho lined up art fullback. Drive: 7 plays, 76 yards, 3:11; Alabama 14, Duke 0
• Alabama got a little too fancy on third-and-1, moving left tackle Alex Leatherwood over to the right side, only to see Robinson get hit in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. We might not see that again for a while. Emil Ekiyor Jr. was at left guard for that possession.
• Tua Tagovailoa is now 16-for-19 208 yards. Hasn't had an incompletion this quarter, has eight straight completions.
• Safety Xavier McKinney is in pain after the 4-yard quarterback run in the red zone, benefitted from the time out called. Think he might have jammed a finger or took a hit on the wrist. He didn't come out of the game, though. Duke kicked a field goal just before halftime. Alabama 14, Duke 3
• Robinson back as the primary deep block on kick returns. Halftime, Alabama 14-3.
• Coin flip: As we had before, the Alabama team captains are Raekwon Davis, Tua Tagovailoa and Shyheim Carter. Duke wins toss and defers.
• Looks like the first-half suspensions are holding up. Ford gets start at running back. Ruggs was the deep man on the opening kickoff, but Diggs was deep as well in Robinson's spot. No Lewis either on defense. The adjustment was to come out in nickel and then Chris Allen replaced him.
• We have a Ben Davis sighting. He was on the punt-return unit.
• Jerome Ford is having a rough game so far. Alabama's second possession ends with a lost fumble, Duke recovering at the 26.
• Duke goes for it on fourth down at the 7, Shane Lee with the stop. Alabama gets it back.
• Alabama pockets the running game for now, goes to the air. Even with a Chris Owens holding penalty, the Crimson Tide quickly crosses midfield. Drive ends through when Will Reichard's first career attempt goes off the left upright. 49-yard attempt. Had plenty of leg, though.
• Tua Tagovailoa begins the game 7-for-10 for 63 yards. Offense not clicking like it wants, but you can kind of tell it's just a matter of time., The four suspended players have been loosening up on the sideline, especially DeVonta Smith.
We did the pregame info in Talk of the Tide: