While it may not have quite lived up to its billing as the greatest opener in college football history, viewers were treated to a slugfest featuring a ridiculous number of future early NFL draft picks Saturday as top-ranked Alabama beat No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in a game much closer than its final score indicated. Hurts' two-point conversion pass to Calvin Ridley gave Alabama a 21-7 lead with 1:41 to go in the third. He was carted off to the locker room praying during the fourth quarter of the game and was seen with crutches and a knee brace on his left leg.
Alabama improved to 11-0 in season openers under Saban, having won all 11 by double digits. Last season, Francois threw for 3,350 yards with 20 touchdowns. While Alabama's offense struggled to finish drives, its defense and special teams were able to step up to secure the win.
Hurts finished the day 10 of 18 passing for 96 yards with and a touchdown. Miscues on special teams by the Seminoles and two second-half interceptions of quarterback Deondre Francois, however, helped the Tide turn quickly. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Florida State's program".
It is the nature of the sport for the quarterbacks to get the majority of the attention, but for all the time the media spent on Francois and Alabama's fellow super sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts prior to (and during) the game, it was the Tide's duo of versatile defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and run-stuffing defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne who easily made the biggest splashes from an National Football League draft perspective. Guess what, the 'Noles lost by 17 points but there was a defensive pass interference that went uncalled against Alabama that caused FSU too. FSU drove the ball down to the UA 34-yard line, before Hamilton sacked Francois for a four-yard loss, giving the Crimson Tide the ball back on its own 38-yard line.
Francois was injured when he was tackled from behind on a scramble by Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison.
Francois earned ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, leading all freshman QBs with 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Coach Jimbo Fisher said Blackman will get the nod when the Seminoles host Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla. Hurts answered those doubters in the second quarter when he hit receiver Calvin Ridley in stride for a 53-yard touchdown pass. However, the Tide stopped the Seminoles on three consecutive plays before Minkah Fitzpatrick blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt from Ricky Aguayo to preserve a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Alabama will open its home schedule this Saturday against Fresno State.