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For anyone concerned about how Alabama’s offense would look following the departure of quarterback Mac Jones, Bryce Young stepped up Saturday to assuage all fears.
As the No. 1 Crimson Tide steamrolled No. 14 Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, it was Young leading the charge with 344 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Most importantly, the sophomore impressed head coach Nick Saban.
Young certainly displayed plenty of poise in his first career start. He completed 27 of 38 pass attempts to finish with a 181.8 rating while taking just one sack.
Saban also might be understating things. Young’s debut didn’t only produce a victory for the Tide, he also became the first quarterback in Alabama history with four passing touchdowns in his starting debut—besting a record shared by Jones and Joe Namath.
Those scores came in varying forms, too. Young opened it up with a 37-yard pass to John Metchie III, helped extended the lead to 17-0 in the second quarter with a nine-yard pass to Cameron Latu, went right back to Latu with a 25-yard toss before halftime and finished his day with a 94-yard bomb to Jameson Williams in the third quarter.
All of it was enough to earn some rare praise from his head coach.
“I was really impressed with the way he played in the game, the poise that he played with, the command that he had. He kind of took what the defense gave. And really directed the offense in a really positive way. And when we had opportunities to make plays on third down and a couple other explosive plays, he certainly did a great job in getting the ball to the right guy in the right time in the right place. So I was really pleased.”
Alabama will return home to Tuscaloosa and host Mercer on Saturday before heading on the road to face No. 13 Florida. If Young continues to develop at his current rate, Saban may have the next great Tide quarterback already on his roster.
One who can make as seamless a transition as Jones did from Tua Tagovailoa and the latter did when he took over for Jalen Hurts. Just business as usual for the most consistently elite college football program in the country.