Alabama grinds out win over USF 17-3

The University of Alabama football team has a pre-game prayer at Raymond James in Tampa, FL on Saturday, Sep 16, 2023.

By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown

After losing to Texas last week, Alabama head coach Nick Saban decided to switch quarterbacks for the team’s first road game of the season. The Crimson Tide turned to Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner.

Buchner had a rough first start in a Crimson uniform. The offensive line didn’t provide much time for him to go through reads which led to a lot of rushed throws for incompletions.

Kool-Aid McKinstry muffed a punt on what would’ve been the Crimson Tide’s third offensive possession. The fumble gave USF the ball at the Alabama 30-yard line. Alabama’s defense held the Bulls to a field goal which would be the only points scored for a long time.

An hour long weather delay disrupted the game in the second quarter.  Alabama’s defense forced a fumble which set the Crimson Tide up inside USF territory. Redshirt freshman Ty Simpson replaced Buchner, who completed 5-of-14 passes for 34 yards.

After a 17-yard run by Jase McClellan, the offense stalled and Will Reichard made the 30-yard field goal to tie the game 3-3 with 2:10 left in the first half.

The Crimson Tide defense forced a turnover on downs to begin the second half. The offense didn’t click until midway through the third quarter.

Simpson completed a 45-yard pass to CJ Dippre which ignited the offense. Roydell Williams ran for 26 yards to put the Crimson Tide at the USF 6-yard line. Williams rushed into the endzone from a yard out a couple plays later. Alabama took its first lead of the game 10-3 with 4:35 left in the third quarter.

Alabama’s defense remained stout the rest of the game. The unit forced USF quarterback Byrum Brown to throw an ill-advised pass right into the hands of Malachi Moore in the end zone for an Alabama touchback.

Saban delivered a strong message to his offensive line as the offense went back onto the field with just under seven minutes remaining in the game.

“I challenged the offensive line and said, ‘Don’t give them the ball back. Take the clock and the game,’ and that’s exactly what they did,” Saban said.

Simpson led an 11 play, 5:56 drive. Williams broke free for a 48-yard gain to put Alabama at the USF 29-yard line. An offsides penalty on the defense on fourth-and-two gave the Crimson Tide a fresh set of downs. Simpson scored on a quarterback keeper from a yard out to put Alabama up 17-3 for good with 33 seconds remaining in the game.

While it wasn’t pretty, the team responded and did what it had to do with backs against the wall.

“They had a lot of adversity to overcome and kept answering the bell when we needed to do it,” Saban said. “We didn’t execute great so I don’t feel great about that, but the way we competed in the game was I think outstanding.”

While it wasn’t a pretty victory by any means, the Crimson Tide’s run game improved tremendously. Alabama rushed for 203 yards which is nearly double what the team rushed for last week (105).

Alabama (2-1) opens SEC play at home next Saturday against Ole Miss (3-0). Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will air on CBS.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Featured, Sports