Alabama QB Jalen Milroe Enjoys Near Perfect Start In Record Setting Performance, But It Was Just Middle Tennessee

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Alabama new starting quarterback Jalen Milroe couldn’t have done much better in No. 4 Alabama’s 56-7 rout of Middle Tennessee to open the season Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Quarterback Jalen Milroe of Alabama celebrates one of his touchdown runs in Alabama’s win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Milroe completed his first seven passes and fielded a bouncing snap before running 21 yards for a touchdown. But that’s only part of it. He became the first player in the storied history of Alabama football with two rushing touchdowns and three passing touchdowns in a game.

In just the second college start of his career, Milroe finished the first half 10-of-13 passing for 112 yards around two sacks with a 47-yard touchdown to wide receiver Isaiah Bond as Alabama took a 28-0 lead. Milroe took a strong hit just after letting go of the pass to Bond. He added a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.

The redshirt sophomore won the starting job over redshirt freshman Ty Simpson and sophomore transfer Tyler Buchner. But that was just for this game, according to Alabama coach Nick Saban.

It remains to be seen if Milroe will start the 1-0 Crimson Tide’s next game against No. 11 Texas (1-0) on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN), but he clearly has a good chance after his performance Saturday. Milroe finished 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards. The Longhorns defeated Rice, 37-10.

“I want to build on leadership. I want them to trust in me,” Milroe said on the SEC Network. “We can push this thing every single time we take the field.”

Milroe added a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jermaine Burton on the Tide’s first drive of the third quarter for a 35-0 lead. Then he led hit tight end Amari Niblack perfectly for a 29-yard touchdown and 42-0 lead minutes later.

Jalen Milroe Hit Crimson Tide Receivers In Stride

Milroe underthrew an open receiver early in the third quarter, but for the most part he was on target. He hit Bond in stride on a perfect pass for that first touchdown, and the TD to Burton also hit right on the money. Milroe displayed a strong arm by hitting multiple sideline routes from the far side of the field.

“I like the way he played,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said at halftime. “He didn’t do anything bad. I don’t think it’s about him. I think we’ve got to control the line of scrimmage a little better. Protection broke down a couple of times. We got people open. We’ve got to make more explosive plays. We’ve got to be able to protect.”

Alabama Plays 3 Quarterbacks

Notre Dame sophomore transfer Tyler Buchner replaced Milroe at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter with the Tide up 42-0. Buchner led Alabama on a 77-yard drive in 10 plays for a touchdown and 49-7 lead in the fourth quarter. He scored on a 9-yard run and completed 3 of 4 passes on the drive for 27 yards.

Simpson followed Buchner at quarterback with 9:15 to play in the game and also led the Tide to a touchdown and a 56-7 advantage. He completed a 5-yard pass and gained 11 yards on a scramble before scoring from a yard out.

But Milroe was the man of the hour.

“He’s been playing good,” Saban said after the game. “Prepared well for the game, and I thought he did a nice job out there. I’m sure he’ll learn a couple of other things to help him improve. They’ve all got plays that they can improve on. But I thought he did a really good job.”

Alabama suffered multiple injuries. The most significant one appeared to be to senior starting strong safety Malachi Moore left the game with an injury.

“That might be a problem for us,” Saban said of his team’s injuries.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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