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Alabama defeats Louisville 51-14 in 2018 Camping World Kickoff

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide defense held Louisville to 16 yards rushing in a 51-14 victory over the Cardinals in Saturday’s Camping World Kickoff.

With the victory, Alabama improved to 12-0 in season-openers under head coach Nick Saban.

“I think that if you look at the results of today’s game, you have to be pleased that we’re able to win,” Saban said after the win, which came in front of a crowd of 57,280 at Camping World Stadium. “I think there’s a lot of good things that we did. But I also think that there’s a lot of things that we need to fix.”

The Crimson Tide’s latest CFP championship defense started quickly, as Jerry Jeudy capped off a seven-play, 65-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown reception to put Alabama up 7-0 with 11:55 left in the first quarter.

After rushing touchdowns from Tagovailoa and Najee Harris, Jeudy hauled in another touchdown pass — this time from 25 yards out — to put the Tide up 28-0 with nine seconds left in the first half.

“Tua played well and made some really good throws — I mean, really good throws, very accurate throws, put the ball right on guys,” Saban said of Tagovailoa, who finished 12-of-16 passing. “When they had halfway decent coverage, he made good decisions for the most part.”

Josh Jacobs also added a 77-yard kick return touchdown midway through the third and Shyheim Carter returned an interception 45 yards for a score, giving Alabama multiple non-offensive scores in a game for the first time since the 2016 SEC championship game.

“I think (special teams coordinator) Jeff Banks has done a really good job of getting our players to buy in to some of the things that we’re doing on special teams and it certainly showed today,” Saban said.

Louisville got on the board with 6:27 left in the third quarter thanks to a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jawon Pass to Kemari Averett. Pass and Averett connected for another touchdown pass with 1:55 left in the game, but it wasn’t enough to topple the Tide.

“The biggest thing that we have to do from this is learn … and come back next week and do better in practice, understand where we didn’t execute,” Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I thought that we moved the ball for a while, and then we had negative plays or hurt ourselves or they stopped us. It’s a combination of all three.”