Jalen Hurts answers Alabama doubters with TD pass in opening victory against Florida State

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts responded to a haze of offseason questions on one play Saturday night.

Trailing 7-3 late in the second quarter of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Hurts delivered a picture-perfect 53-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley.

Crimson Tide fans who’ve been wondering if Hurts has improved as a passer had their answer. It looked like the start of something big as No. 1 Alabama regained a lead it never relinquished in a 24-7 victory against No. 3 Florida State.

He improved to 15-1 as a starter, including 3-0 in Atlanta — another big-game victory.

“Everybody else not playing the game made it a playoff game,” he said. “For the guys that suited up, it was a regular game.”

The touchdown pass turned out to be Alabama’s biggest passing highlight against Florida State’s speed-demon defense. Hurts completed 9 of 17 passes for 43 yards the rest of the game to three receivers — Ridley, Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris. He also caught a tipped passed for a minus-1-yard loss.

Hurts wasn’t perfect, but coach Nick Saban was happy with the performance of his sophomore quarterback.

“I thought Jalen did a good job,” Saban said. “He did what we asked him to do.”

However, Saban was not happy with the offensive line.

“[What] could have been really good plays for Jalen didn’t turn out so well because we didn’t protect very well,” he said. “Now, [Hurts] will tell you that sometimes he’s responsible for that because he can redirect the protection. But there were other times where we made mental errors up front and didn’t block them. We had people open but couldn’t get them the ball.”

Hurts also rushed for 55 yards, while Harris (9-73) and Scarbrough (15-40) combined for 113 rushing yards. But Saban said there were not enough explosive plays from an inconsistent offense.

“So, the whole deal on offense, we have to do a better job of executing,” Saban said, “especially when it comes to the passing game. We could complain about running the ball better. But we probably ran it good enough if we could have had the kind of balance that we wanted in the game and been able to protect so that we could make some plays and make some throws down the field.

“But I thought Jalen did a good job in the game.”

And that’s a good start.

The post Jalen Hurts answers Alabama doubters with TD pass in opening victory against Florida State appeared first on SEC Country.

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