Alabama Duke

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks with Alabama defensive back Josh Jobe (28) in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday August 31, 2019. Content Exchange

ATLANTA — Nick Saban said he deserved the penalty he got late in Alabama's 42-3 win over Duke.

He called it "undisciplined."

"You know, one of the things that we wanted to establish here was discipline, and the coach did a poor job in his leadership of setting a good example for how you're supposed to be disciplined," Saban said.

After an interception, Alabama's players crowded the sideline, with a few spilling onto the playing field. That drew a flag from the game officials, which drew a fierce reaction from Saban.

"I guess my reaction was, you know, the kids are having fun," Saban said. "So the guy intercepts the ball and everybody jumps up and down on the sidelines and we get a flag. So my reaction to that was, the kids are having fun."

Even so, he emphasized, "I deserved it."

"I'm not making any excuses for it," he said. "It's the first time it's happened. I don't remember the last time it happened, but it's been a long time. But I'll learn something from that, too."

Jeudy is 'fine'

Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, last year's Biletnikoff award winner caught 10 passes for 137 yards Saturday, but he went down hard on his last reception.

He stayed down for a few moments and needed attention from trainers, although he eventually popped back up and jogged off the field.

Guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. went down, too, during the game.

"Jerry is fine," Saban said. "He just had some cramps. I think Emil probably has a little bit of a knee injury. I don't think it's a real bad thing. He may be out for a week or two. But I don't think it's something really bad. It's something that he's had before.

"Most of the time those things are not that significant. But we'll get him an MRI and check him out and make sure."

Sark's return

In offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian's first game as the Tide's play-caller since a loss to Clemson at the end of the 2016 season, Alabama gained 512 yards and scored six touchdowns.

"I think that Sark did a good job in the game," said Saban, who does not allow assistant coaches to speak to reporters after regular-season games. "You never know how first games are going to go.

"I think we started out a little bit maybe trying to run the ball and then we just decided, hey, the way they're playing, we're going to have to throw the ball on first down and get the ball to our playmakers' hands on the perimeter and make them play on the perimeter, and when we started doing that, I think that those guys made a lot of plays."

Going for it

Duke's David Cutcliffe mentioned his respect for Alabama's offense when the Blue Devils went for a first down in the first quarter while facing fourth-and-one at the Tide 7. Deon Jackson was stopped for no gain by Raekwon Davis and Shane Lee.

"I looked at their offense, and I didn't think we could win the game kicking field goals," Cutcliffe said. "We weren't trying to have a moral victory; we were trying to win the game."

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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