Alabama Duke

Alabama defensive backs Nigel Knott (13) and Xavier McKinney (15) stop Duke running back Brittain Brown (8) inthe Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday August 31, 2019. Content Exchange

Grading Alabama's 42-3 win over Duke:

Rushing offense — C: After sitting out the first quarter for violating team rules, Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. did some good things. Still, before the starters left the field Alabama had run the ball 36 times and gained only 98 yards. Even though this is a pass-first offense, it still benefits from moving the ball on the ground.

Rushing defense — A: Even with star linebacker Dylan Moses out with a knee injury, Alabama stuffed the run early and often. Freshman Shane Lee filled in well for Moses.

Passing offense — A: Tua Tagovailoa looked like he did for much of last year. He was pinpoint, didn't get intercepted, and gave the nation's top receiving corps a chance to make big plays. Jerry Jeudy was especially spectacular with 10 catches for 137 yards.

Passing defense — B: An Alabama defensive back got an interception for the first time since last season's Missouri game. Trevon Diggs did the honors and Jordan Battle got another later, but Alabama also got flagged for pass interference three times. Maybe it was the Big Ten officials who called the game, but the Crimson Tide didn't need that against a team like Duke, which was starting a new quarterback in Quentin Harris.

Special teams — B: Freshman kicker Will Reichard made all of his extra points, which is something Alabama didn't do often last year. His 49-yard field goal try hit the upright, and his 48-yarder missed wide left, nearly hitting the upright, too. Reichard had a solid day punting and kicking off, too. He's got to be tired.

Coaching — C: Solid game plan from top to bottom. Still, Nick Saban will rip his team for unnecessary penalties, and he's no different. He deserves his time in the box after this one. Is there a more unnecessary one that unsportsmanlike conduct on Saban himself?

Overall — A: A good, solid win with no significant injuries, and that's all Alabama could want at this point in the season.

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

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