Jones, Harris lead No. 2 Alabama in rout of Missouri
Redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones threw two touchdown passes and senior running back Najee Harris ran for three scores as Alabama beat Missouri 38-19 in the season opener for both teams Saturday night in Columbia, Mo.
Jones made his fifth career start and completed 18 of 24 passes for 249 yards and no interceptions. Both of his touchdown tosses went to junior receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Harris carried the ball 17 times for 98 yards as Alabama unleashed its offensive arsenal early and often, totaling 414 yards.
Alabama, which led by as many as 32 points, improved to 14-0 under coach Nick Saban in season openers and has not lost one since 2001.
Alabama’s defense, led by resurgent linebacker Dylan Moses, kept the Tigers out of the end zone until redshirt junior quarterback Shawn Robinson found Tyler Badie for a 54-yard touchdown pass with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Jones and Waddle nearly connected on a third score on the first play of the second quarter, but Waddle was ruled to have touched the pylon before the ball crossed the goal line on what would have been an 11-yard touchdown. Harris scored on the ensuing play from 1 yard out to put Alabama ahead 21-0.
The Crimson Tide’s potential pair of first-round draft picks as receivers – Waddle and DeVonta Smith – each caught eight passes. Waddle totaled a game-high 134 yards and Smith had 89.
Missouri hadn’t announced a starting quarterback prior to the game, and coach Eliah Drinkwitz still considers it an ongoing competition. But Robinson played the bulk of the snaps, completing 19 of 25 passes for 185 yards with no interceptions.
Redshirt freshman Connor Bazelak completed 7 of 14 passes for 68 yards, playing five snaps in the second quarter and 14 on the Tigers’ final drive, which he capped with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Moses, one of several projected first-round picks next year from Alabama, missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Moses had a sack and a key tackle for a loss in the first quarter on running back Larry Rountree on a fourth-and-2 at the Crimson Tide 33.
–Field Level Media