It was a tough night in Orlando, FL for Louisville, as #1 Alabama (1-0) rolled to a 51-14 win over the Cardinals (0-1).
It was a game where Alabama looked every bit like the number one team in the country. The Crimson Tide led off with a touchdown on their opening drive in the first quarter, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy.
Even after the Alabama offense fumbled the ball away on their next drive, Louisville’s offense could not capitalize on their opportunities in the first half. Louisville managed to make it inside Alabama territory on multiple occasions, but had one drive end on an interception. Another drive ended in a punt after a blown snap drove them out of Alabama territory.
After that, Louisville’s game snowballed downhill very quickly. They were shut out in the first half for the first time since November 2016, while Alabama added three more touchdowns to take a 28-0 halftime lead. Two of those touchdowns came from Tagovailoa; a nine yard run in the first quarter, and a 25-yard throw to Jeudy again with nine seconds left in the first half. Najee Harris also scored on a one-yard run early in the second quarter.
In the second half, it continued to get worse. Josh Jacobs scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground, and later on a 77-yard kickoff return.
However, Louisville avoided a shutout with a 12-yard touchdown throw from Puma Pass to Kemari Averett. Louisville had chances to add points, but threw a pick-six to Shyheim Carter that put Alabama over 50 points. The Cardinals followed that up with a drive that ended with a turnover on downs inside the five. Puma added a late touchdown in the fourth quarter, finding Averett again on an eight-yard pass with 1:55 left in the game.
In his first collegiate start, Puma Pass had some glimpses of potential in the midst of a blowout. Puma completed 20-of-39 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Despite being sacked numerous times and being stifled by Alabama’s defense, he showed an ability to escape the pocket, stay upright and try to create a play with his arm.
Ten Louisville receivers caught a pass in the game, with Seth Dawkins (three receptions, 68 yards) leading the way. Kemari Averett (four receptions, 30 yards) scored Louisville’s only two touchdowns in the game.
Despite Puma’s game, Louisville had almost no success in the running game, only mustering 16 total yards on the ground. The 16 yards marked the lowest in a game for Louisville since November 2015.
It was mainly a showcase performance for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who looked every bit as good as advertised. Tagovailoa completed 12-of-16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, adding a third score through the ground. Alabama added 222 yards on the ground, led by Josh Jacobs (six carries, 45 yards, two total touchdowns).
DeVonta Smith led Alabama with 99 yards receiving, with Jerry Jeudy (four receptions, 64 yards) scoring two touchdowns in the first half.
Up next, Louisville looks to rebound next week in their home opener against Indiana State.