Alabama quarterback Bryce Young threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns as the top-ranked Crimson Tide began defense of their national title with a 44-13 rout of Miami in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta on Saturday.
Young, in his first collegiate start, set the school record for most yards and touchdowns in a debut. He threw first-half scoring strikes to John Metchie for 37 yards, and hit Cameron Latu for scores of 9 and 25 yards in the second quarter. Those catches for Latu were the first of his career.
Alabama, who has won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the schools, scored the first five times it had the ball and dominated the line of scrimmage as Young had plenty of time to complete 27 of his 38 passes to nine receivers. The Tide racked up 501 yards of total offense.
They opened the scoring on a seven play, 75-yard march to the end zone and hit pay dirt on Metchie’s touchdown catch. Alabama has now won 42 straight games when scoring first; its last defeat of that sort came in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma.
Will Reichard also hit three field goals as Alabama raced out to a 27-3 halftime lead, holding Miami to 107 total yards.
The defense showed out as well, recording four sacks and seven tackles for loss while holding the Hurricanes to 69 yards rushing.
Believe the hype: New-look Alabama stronger than ever in rout of Miami.
Miami returned 19 starters from last year’s team, but still could not get going in any phase of the game. D’Eriq King, the senior quarterback who is just nine months removed from reconstructive surgery on a torn ACL and meniscus, went 23-30 for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, with a majority of those coming after the game was well in hand.
Miami’s best chance to change momentum and cut into the large halftime deficit came on the first possession of the second half, but King was stuffed on a quarterback sneak trying to hit the end zone on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard-line.
Three plays later, the competitive aspect of the game was complete when Young threw a 94-yard touchdown bomb to a wide open Jameson Williams to make the score 34-3.
Alabama is now 15-0 under coach Nick Saban in season openers and has another tune-up against Mercer next week before traveling to Florida on Sept. 18.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alabama blows out Miami, opens college football national title defense