The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide survived a close first half to defeat the number three Florida State Seminoles 24-7, Saturday, September 2, 2017 in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game from Atlanta, Georgia.
Alabama and Florida State both came up empty after each team’s first offensive series. Alabama’s second possession saw the Tide drive 44 yards in 9 plays before they stalled. They settled for a field goal to score first and lead 3-0. The first period ended with that score.
Florida State’s offense came alive at the beginning of the second quarter. They moved the ball well in their first possession of the period. FSU’s quarterback Deondre Francois hooked up with receiver Auden Tate for a touchdown and FSU took what would be their only lead of the game, 7-3 over Alabama. Alabama came right back on the next possession when QB Jalen Hurts rifled a 53 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ripley and regained the lead, 10-7.
FSU began a pattern of making mistakes in the second part of the second quarter. That pattern continued into the second half. After punting and then getting the ball back, the Seminoles drove the ball inside the Alabama 20 yard line only to fumble it away. The FSU defense stood tough and forced the Tide to punt it away.
The Seminoles were stopped with some outstanding defense and had to punt it back to Alabama. FSU’s defense again held the Tide to three-and-out, forcing a punt from deep in Alabama’s side of the field. FSU again drove the ball to the Alabama 20 yard line. The defense stopped them there, forcing an attempt at a field goal that was blocked right at the end of the half.
The second half was a combination of strong Alabama defensive play and continued mistakes by FSU’s offense and special teams.
The two offensives both stalled on their first drives of the third quarter. On the next drive, the Seminoles were backed up to their own 7 yard line after a great punt by the Tide. They could not move the ball and had the punt blocked by Alabama and recovered on the FSU 6 yard line. Remarkably, the Seminole defense kept the Tide out of the end zone. Alabama settled for a field goal and stretched the lead to 13-7.
FSU fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Alabama recovered at the FSU 11 yard line. This time it only took one run up the middle for the Tide to score again. They were successful with a 2-point extra point try and the lead was expanded to 21-7. The end of the third quarter came after the Tide intercepted a Francois pass.
The final quarter featured Alabama grinding it out with runs on offense, and stifling FSU with their strong defense. To their credit, the Seminole defense kept getting the ball back for their offense. However, the offense could not cash in with any points. Worse for the Seminoles was the fact that with 5:44 left in the game, Francois came out with an injury to his leg.
FSU QB Francois completed 19 of 33 pass attempts and had 2 interceptions. It was his first multiple interception game of his young career. QB Hurts went 10 for 18 passing and 1 touchdown.
By D.T. Osborn
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of D.T. Osborn