Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young passed for five first-half touchdowns and even ran for 100 yards and a score in No. 1 Alabama’s 55-0 opening victory over Utah State on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide began their quest for national title redemption with a not unexpected start-to-finish domination of the six-touchdown underdog Aggies (1-1). Less anticipated: Young’s runs.
Known primarily as a passer with a penchant for scrambling and buying time, Young flashed his running ability more than he ever did last season, including a 63-yarder down the left sideline. He also spread the ball around to Alabama’s new set of playmakers, with two touchdown passes to both Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton and Traeshon Holden and some handoffs to Jahmyr Gibbs.
Young ran five times for 100 yards after netting zero yards thanks to sacks last season with a previous long run of 16 yards. He also completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards before exiting one drive into the second half following his TD run.
Gibbs, a much talked about transfer from Georgia Tech, flashed his speed with a 58-yard run on the first play after the half. He finished with 93 yards on nine rushes.
His backup, Jase McClellan, caught a pair of TD passes.
Alabama out-gained the Aggies 559-136 in total yards.
Utah State, which finished last season ranked, had won two straight games against Power 5 teams and started off strong with a 23-yard gain. Then the offense stalled and the defense was overwhelmed by Young & Co. The Aggies couldn’t turn a late blocked punt into points.
Alabama spent the offseason stewing over a loss to Georgia in the national championship game and came in as the favorite to win the national title, according to FanDuel sportsbook. Then Alabama did pretty much what it wanted to against a mismatched opponent. The Tide put some new playmakers on display after losing receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III and tailback Brian Robinson Jr.
Alabama tight end Cameron Latu, an Olympus High product, missed the game with a knee injury.
Utah State hosts Weber State on Sept. 10.