Alabama Football: Crimson Tide squeeze Seminoles in season opener

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 02: Mack Wilson /

The city of Atlanta took the bow off its shiny new Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday night as the new college football season got underway with the first ever opening weekend matchup of no. 1 vs no. 3.

As Florida State looked to build upon last season’s momentum, Alabama football looked to erase the last-second defeat that ended their previous season.

Florida State brought coaching continuity and an eagerness to test themselves against the Tide, while Alabama was on its third offensive coordinator since last years’ College Football Playoff.  Bama was supposed to be  returning to its roots of a power run game and play-action passing game, while showing off the development and maturity of Jalen Hurts.

The first play from scrimmage for the Tide went better than one could hope, as Damien Harris ripped off a 38-yard run and almost took it to the house. The drive came to a familiar end for Alabama football fans, as kicking woes of years past reared their head as the Andy Papanastos field goal went wide right. I’ll go ahead and spoil the ending for you as he was 3-for-5 on the night which is about average for Tide kickers over the last several years.

Hurts showed promise early as he stepped up in the pocket under pressure, went through his progressions and found Calvin Ridley on a perfectly placed 53-yard bomb. The early composure didn’t last, however, as Florida State brought the heat on blitzes. Alabama had no answer from a porous pass blocking O-line and Hurts bailed out of the pocket at every whiff of pressure. I’ve had spare change that stayed in the pocket longer. It was all too reminiscent of his late season struggles last year as Hurts finished with a paltry 96 yards passing on the night.

More from Southbound and Down

Florida State played well as advertised for most of the night. The defense was fast and physical and the passing game moved the ball enough to give their fans hope. The running game was another story as they could never get anything established and finished with only 40 yards on 27 carries.

The Alabama iceberg to the Seminole Titanic was special teams and turnovers. On three late game possessions Florida State went: blocked punt, interception, interception. The Crimson Tide capitalized on all three opportunities and blew the game open for the final score of 24-7.

This was a great game to start the season for both teams as well as the fans involved. Both teams played very well and opened the new stadium with a bang in exactly the kind of theater college football fans crave.

Next: Kevin Sumlin went from Hot Seat to On Fire

Alabama moves on with plenty of work to do while Florida State licks their wounds with plenty of time to recover. In a convenient bookend to the season, this coming January the national champion will be crowned in the same building. The only question is who will be on the big stage?