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September 19, 2018
Arkansas State tight end Javonis Isaac (81) tries to break free from the tackle of Alabama defensive back Xavier McKinney (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Arkansas State tight end Javonis Isaac (81) tries to break free from the tackle of Alabama defensive back Xavier McKinney (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

No. 1 Alabama blows out Arkansas State

By John Zenor The Associated Press
This article was published September 9, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Tua Tagovailoa passed for three first-quarter touchdowns and Jalen Hurts added two more before halftime, combining to lead No. 1 Alabama to a 57-7 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (2-0) racked up big plays on the way to a 40-0 halftime lead while rotating the quarterbacks who battled for the job throughout the offseason. Coach Nick Saban officially announced Tagovailoa would remain the starter Monday, but both were big parts of the plan again.

Tagovailoa finished 13 of 19 for 228 yards and four TDs. He led seven drives and tossed in runs of 15 and 12 yards in the second half. Tagovailoa had TD passes of 58 yards to Jerry Jeudy, 31 to Henry Ruggs III and 41 to DeVonta Smith -- all in the first quarter -- and tacked on a 14-yarder to Derek Kief.

Hurts, who started the past two seasons, was effective, too. He was 7 of 9 for 93 yards but did fumble at the goal line after taking a hit while airborne.

Najee Harris ran for a career-high 135 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Justice Hansen couldn't get the Red Wolves' fast-paced offense going against the Tide defense. He was 15 of 36 for 140 yards with a touchdown and interception after tying a school-record with six touchdown passes last week.

Alabama outgained Arkansas State (1-1), 599-391, in total yards.

The Sun Belt Conference favorites couldn't muster a challenge, a la league mate Appalachian State versus Penn State last week. The Red Wolves didn't quit, failing on an onside kick attempt after opening the third quarter with a touchdown drive featuring a 25-yard catch by Hansen from wide receiver Darveon Brown.

The matchup had the feel of a name-your-score type game early. It's unclear how long the Tide will keep rotating quarterbacks, but Joseph Bulovas might be the new placekicker.

The Tide has outscored its first two opponents, 108-21.

Cornerback Saivion Smith returned an interception 38 yards for the final touchdown before the half. It was the Tide's third non-offensive touchdown of the season already and second pick-six.

Alabama's new kicker, Austin Jones, missed his second and third extra point attempts in the first half. Tide students cheered when Bulovas made his first PAT try. He also made a 39-yard field goal.

Arkansas State will visit Tulsa on Saturday, part of a stretch of three road games in four weeks. Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play Saturday at Ole Miss (2-0).

Sports on 09/09/2018
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