Columbia, Mo—Alabama coach Nick Saban has never lost a season opener while coaching at Bama.
Senior Mac Jones went 18-of-24 for 249 yards and two scores in three quarters of competition, and Jaylen Waddle and Najee Harris had a big day on the offense side of the ball, helping the Tide to a 38-19 victory over the Mizzou. Bama had a combined 414 offensive yards in the game.
“I think from a team standpoint, when you play a first game you sort of figure out who you are,” Saban said after finally taking off his mask. “You figure out where you and the last thing is, `What do I have to do to get better?’ Everybody on our team has a lot of maturity in what they need to do to get better.”
Waddle finished with eight catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Harris ran for 98 yards and three more scores to spoil the debut of new Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz with a crowd of 11,738 fans at Faurot Field.
Waddle set the tone for the game early for Bama, he caught a spectacular 23-yard grab in double coverage that sent the Tide into the half with a 28-3 lead.
The Tigers trailed 35-6 at the end of the third quarter, with the Tide replacing starting quarterback Mac Jones with five-star recruit and backup Bryce Young getting the nod before halftime.
The Crimson Tide weren’t great on offense but appeared to move the ball when they needed to for most of the contest.
TCU transfer Shawn Robinson, who started over Connor Bazelak, threw for 185 yards and a score. Bazelak also got a few series and was really ineffective against Alabama defense, which kept Mizzou high powered offense out of the end zone until midway in the fourth.
Bazelak scrambled for a touchdown on the final play of the game to make it look respectable.
“I saw a lot of fight. I really did,” Drinkwitz said. “I thought those guys answered the bell. I don’t think it was an issue of not being good enough at all. I thought our guys fought.”