Bama Blasts Louisville 51-14 in Camping World Kickoff
It has been a long off-season for college football fans, but that wait is finally over! The Camping World Kickoff has arrived with the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide taking on the Louisville Cardinals. For Bama, the team will look to replace the production of former top wideout Calvin Ridley with a combination of DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III. As for the Tide’s ground attack, they feature senior running back Damien Harris, who is looking for another 1,000-yard rushing season and averages 6.7 yards per carry. On defense the Tide lost a number of players to the NFL Draft, but look to re-establish themselves as college football’s number one ranked defense in 2018.
Taking a look at Louisville, the Cardinals will now turn to Jawon Pass who takes over at QB for former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. The primary target for Louisville will likely be Jaylen Smith who nearly had 1,000 yards receiving last season. On the ground the Cardinals will use a running back by committee approach. On defense Louisville is led by linebacker Dorian Etheridge and Jonathan Greenard.
On the opening possession Louisville looked tough right out the gate forcing a third and long the Bama converted. Before long the tide began moving down the field in chunks. A few plays later QB Tua Tagovailoa found Jerry Jeudy for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Tide up 7-0.
On Louisville’s first possession the Cardinals were able to make it to around midfield before they were forced to punt. Their first series came to an end as the ball slipped through the hands of a Cardinals receiver who appeared to have a step down the sidelines.
For a second or two it looked like Louisville was right back in the ballgame with a fumble returned for a touchdown. However, upon further review Tagovailoa was determined to be down when the ball came free. A few plays later Bama’s DeVonta Smith fumbled the ball inside the red zone and Louisville was able to recover this time.
With four minutes left in the first Alabama went up 14-0 as Tagovailoa scampered into the end zone from 9 yards out. Then as Louisville looked like they were getting close to punching one in, Bama picked one off in the end zone and returned it to the 25-yard line. Alabama made the most of the turnover and turned it into another touchdown as they plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out to go up 21-0. Then, just before the half Bama added one more score to go up 28-0 as Tagovailoa hit Jeudy for a 25-yard strike.
Coming out of the half Louisville received the ball first but was still unable to get anything going offensively against a stout Alabama defense. Then as expected Alabama picked right off were they left off and scored another touchdown to go up 34-0 on an 18-yeard run from Josh Jacobs.
About midway through the 3rd quarter Louisville’s Jawon Pass connected with Seth Dawkins for 47 yards to set up first and goal from the 6-yard line. Finally, the Cardinals were able to find the end zone as Pass hit Kemari Averett for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 34-7.
On the very next play, Bama’s Josh Jacobs returned the kick-off 76-yards to the house to extend the Tide’s lead 41-7. The tide kept rolling with a 39-yard field goal to increase their lead to 44-7.
Bama nearly opened the 4th quarter with a bang returning a Louisville punt for a touchdown however, it was called back due to an illegal block in the back. After a missed field goal Bama had a pick 6 from Shyheim Carter who returned in 45 yards to put the Tide up 51-7 with 7:30 left to play.
With just under 2 min Louisville added one last touchdown but it was a matter of too little too late. Kemari Averett caught his second touchdown of the night to make the final score 51-14 in favor of the defending national champions.
Overall, Alabama took care of business but still showed minor flaws on both sides of the ball. With a little seasoning, they should be primed to make another run at the college playoffs.