The Crimson Tide's defense took over from there, intercepting Francois' passes on each of the next two possessions to help them pull away.
The Tide defense strengthened throughout the game, as Florida State managed 108 first-quarter yards but only 77 in the second quarter and just 48 in the third. Despite starting at the Alabama 31-yard line, the Seminoles were not able to capitalize. A pass-interference penalty by Anthony Averett gave Florida State a first-and-10 at the Alabama 20-yard line with 20 seconds remaining in the half. 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.
While Alabama's offense struggled to finish for most of the first half, its defense came ready to play.
That's 14 potential points exclusively off special teams.
The difference in the game is right there.
Harris powered through the middle into the end zone on the next play, and a two-point-conversion pass from Jalen Hurts to Calvin Ridley gave the Crimson Tide a 21-7 with 1:41 remaining in the third. The Tide ran for 173 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries by comparison.
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After racking up five Southeastern Conference championships, four Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game triumphs and a win in last December's Peach Bowl national semifinal during the past decade inside the Georgia Dome, Nick Saban's top-ranked Crimson Tide overwhelmed No. 3 Florida State 24-7 Saturday night inside the new and dazzling Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Houston native stated earlier this week that he would be playing for his hometown which was hit hard by flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Hurts completed 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards, and he rushed 15 times for 55 yards.
Alabama returns to action Saturday, Sept. 9, with its home opener against Fresno State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. When not collapsing runs from the inside, the 6-foot-2, 309-pound Payne was hustling to the perimeter and downfield, making tackles in pursuit. Including a 53-yard touchdown in which he shook FSU true freshman cornerback Stanford Samuels III with a classic stutter step, before racing past him to haul in a ideal strike from Hurts.
True freshman QB James Blackman is expected to take over for Francois. The next two games should allow Hurts to develop more as a passer. After that, the Tide will host Colorado State on September 16.
Coming back as Alabama's leading receiver, Ridley was once again Hurts' favorite option. 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.
Ridley's 53-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter is the 15th of his career, moving him into a tie for fifth place all-time at Alabama with Joey Jones and Julio Jones.
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