No. 1 Alabama Football Opens the 2017 Season with a 24-7 Win Ove - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

No. 1 Alabama Football Opens the 2017 Season with a 24-7 Win Over No. 3 FSU

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ATLANTA (RollTide.com)– The top-ranked University of Alabama football team forced two interceptions, caused and recovered a fumble and blocked two kicks in its 24-7 win over the No. 3-ranked Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game inside the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The victory extended the Crimson Tide's winning streak in season openers to 16 straight games.

The Alabama special teams forced a fumble on a kickoff as well as blocking a field goal and a punt, while converting on three field goal attempts in the decisive victory. The Tide defense buckled down in the second half, allowing the potent Seminole offense just 65 total yards, while picking off FSU quarterback Deondre Francois twice in the final 16 minutes of the game. Shaun Dion Hamilton led the Alabama defense with eight tackles from his starting linebacker spot, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

Jalen Hurts finished the night 10-of-18 for 96 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 55 yards on 15 carries. Damien Harris paced the Crimson Tide rushers, contributing a team-high with 73 rushing yards on nine carries while adding a touchdown. Calvin Ridley's big night helped him move to fifth all-time in career receiving yards at Alabama with 1,896 after amassing 82 yards on seven catches. He also moved to fifth all-time in career receiving touchdowns after catching a 53-yard score in the first half.

FIRST HALF
Florida State's opening kickoff went deep into the end zone for a touchback, giving Alabama the ball to start at its own 25-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Damien Harris took the ball out of the backfield for a 34-yard rush to the FSU 41-yard line. The Crimson Tide came up empty on the drive, giving the Seminoles the ball at their own 34-yard line. FSU drove the ball down to the UA 34-yard line, before Hamilton sacked Francois for a four-yard loss, giving the Crimson Tide the ball back on its own 38-yard line.

Facing third-and-10, Alabama's next drive was kept alive when Hurts found Ridley for 21 yards to move the UA offense to the Florida State 41-yard line. Two plays later, Hurts took off for a 20-yard gain to the FSU 18. After three plays of minimal gain, Andy Pappanastos netted a 35-yard field goal to give Alabama the 3-0 lead with 4:30 left in the first quarter. The Seminoles responded by moving the ball 90 yards on 11 plays, capping off the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to put FSU up 7-3 with 13:41 to go in the second quarter.

Alabama took the following kickoff out of the end zone to the 15-yard line. Back-to-back short runs by freshman Najee Harris set up a 3rd-and-2 conversion when Hurts found Ridley for six yards. Hurts followed up on the next play with an 18-yard first down run, putting the ball on the UA 47-yard line. The Tide took a 10-7 lead with 11:38 remaining in the second quarter when Hurts found a wide-open Ridley streaking down the middle of the field for a 53-yard touchdown strike.

The two teams traded three-and-outs, before FSU took over on the UA 31-yard line following a short punt. The Tide defense stuffed the Seminoles, driving it back five yards and forcing FSU to punt the ball back with 2:59 left in the half.

After an Alabama three-and-out, Florida State took over from its own 30-yard line with 55 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Seminoles drove the ball down to the UA 20-yard line to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt with 10 seconds on the clock. On the FSU kick attempt, Minkah Fitzpatrick pushed through the Seminoles' line to block the attempt and keep the score locked at 10-7 heading into halftime.

SECOND HALF
After the two teams traded punts to start the second half, FSU was set to punt yet again, when Damien Harris came off the edge to block the Seminoles' effort and set the Tide offense up at the FSU 6-yard marker. Three plays later, Pappanastos converted on the 25-yard field goal attempt with 1:54 left in the quarter to set the score at 13-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, the FSU returner took the ball out of the end zone but fumbled, giving the ball back to Alabama on the Seminoles' 11-yard line. Damien Harris cashed in on the next play, bolting up the middle for the score, extending the Alabama lead to 19-7. Hurts found Ridley in the end zone for the two-point conversion, putting the Tide up 21-7 with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

Less than a minute later, the Tide took back the ball again when Levi Wallace picked off Francois' pass at the FSU 42-yard line. Alabama came up empty on the drive, while holding the 21-7 lead with 12:28 left in the game. FSU started the following drive at their own 24-yard line, before the Tide took the ball away for the third straight possession when linebacker Mack Wilson picked off Francois at the Florida State 34-yard line.

The two teams traded punts again before Pappanastos once again split the uprights from 33-yards out, giving the Crimson Tide the 24-7 advantage with 6:25 left in the game. The Tide went on to control the clock and maintain it's 17-point lead to secure the season-opening win in Atlanta.

Alabama returns to action Saturday, Sept. 9, with its home opener against Fresno State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs is set for 2:30 p.m. CT with the game airing live on ESPN2.

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