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QB Jalen Milroe, No. 4 Alabama crush Middle Tennessee

Sep 2, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) throws behind a block by offensive lineman JC Latham (65) against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Milroe became the first Alabama player to throw three touchdown passes and rush for two scores in the same game and the No. 4 Crimson Tide rolled to a 56-7 victory over Middle Tennessee in the season opener for both teams on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was silent all week about the identity of his starting quarterback and Milroe loudly stated his case by completing 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards and adding 48 on the ground. Milroe has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his two career starts.

Isaiah Bond, Jermaine Burton and Amari Niblack caught touchdown passes as the Crimson Tide won their 17th straight home opener under Saban. Jaylen Key recorded an interception for Alabama.

Nicholas Vattiato completed 21 of 32 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee fell to 1-22 against ranked foes since becoming an FBS program in 1999.

The Crimson Tide outgained the Blue Raiders 431 to 211.

Alabama’s first touchdown came on a broken play in the first quarter in which the shotgun snap was low and skidded past Milroe. He picked up the ball at the Middle Tennessee 32-yard line and broke a few tackles en route to a 21-yard scoring run.

Jase McClellan scored from the 1 with 4:15 left in the quarter to give the Crimson Tide a 14-0 lead.

Milroe scored on a 13-yard keeper with 3:07 remaining in the first half. Just 69 seconds later, he tossed a 47-yard scoring pass to Bond to make it 28-0.

Milroe threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter, first connecting with Burton on a 47-yarder with 12:54 left in the period. He later hit Niblack on a 29-yard score with 10:25 left to make it 42-0 before exiting the contest.

Middle Tennessee got on the board with 32 seconds left in the third quarter when Vattiato threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Bryce Bailey.

Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, who replaced Milroe, scored on a 9-yard run with 10:38 remaining in the game. Buchner completed 3 of 5 passes for 27 yards.

Ty Simpson, the third quarterback in the Alabama competition, scored on a 1-yard sneak with 5:58 left. He completed his lone pass for 5 yards.

–Field Level Media