No. 1 Alabama routs Louisville; Reynolds leads Charlotte to win

Published 2:31 am Sunday, September 2, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Alabama doesn’t rebuild. The Crimson Tide simply reload.

College Football Playoff hero Tua Tagovailoa threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third in his first college start, helping top-ranked and defending national champions open the season with a 51-14 rout of Louisville on Saturday night.

Essentially ending the debate — at least for now — about whether he or Jalen Hurts should be the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 quarterback, Tagovailoa scored on a 9-yard run while also completing 12 of 16 passes for 227 yards without an interception.

Although the sophomore from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, came off the bench to lead Alabama to a come-from-behind victory over Georgia in the CFP championship game last January, coach Nick Saban provided no public indication of who would be the starter against Louisville (0-1) until Tagovailoa trotted onto the field following the opening kickoff.

Saban said the decision to begin with Tagolvailoa was made earlier in the week, but the plan was to play Hurts, too.

And, the coach added, that’s also his intention moving forward.

“We’re going to continue to have both of those guys be weapons for us because I think they can,” Saban said.

Hurts, 26-2 as a starter over the past two seasons, threw for 2,081 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 855 yards and eight more TDs a year ago.

Saban maintained throughout preseason camp that Alabama was fortunate to have two quality quarterbacks and tried deflect attention from the QB debate by talking about the challenge the Crimson Tide faces in revamping a defense that lost eight starters from last season.

Tagovailoa was sacked on the game’s second play, but pretty much had his way against the Louisville defense from there.

Jerry Jeudy had TD receptions of 11 and 25 yards, and Josh Jacobs scored on an 18-yard run and 77-yard kickoff return for the Crimson Tide.

Hurts played two series in the first half and re-entered the game in the third quarter with the defending national champions up 41-7.

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CHARLOTTE 34, FORDHAM 10

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Benny LeMay ran for 135 yards and two scores, Juwan Foggie had a pick-6 and Charlotte beat Fordham 34-10 in Saturday’s season opener whose start was delayed more than an hour by lightning which later forced fans to evacuate at halftime.

With 17 returning starters, including its top four tacklers, Charlotte dominated in the teams’ first gridiron meeting, holding the Rams to 13 first-half rushing yards while building a 13-7 lead behind LeMay’s 2-yard run and Jonathan Cruz’s two field goals.

LeMay (25 carries) scored again on a 4-yard run when play resumed after lightning forced fans to shelter in nearby academic buildings. QB Chris Reynolds (13 of 20 for 267 yards), a former Davie County High star, hit Victor Tucker on a 12-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and linebacker Foggie intercepted Luke Medlock’s pass and returned it 26 yards for a score.

Medlock was 22 of 47 for 296 yards passing, hitting Austin Longi for a 70-yard first-quarter TD. Longi had eight catches for 113 yards for the Rams, who returned eight starters in coach Joe Conlin’s debut.

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N.C. A&T AT EAST CAROLINA POSTPONED UNTIL TODAY

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina A&T and East Carolina’s season-opening football game was postponed by one day because of two lightning delays on Saturday.

A second lightning delay before the opening kickoff led officials to push the game to Sunday, with the kickoff at 3:30 p.m.

The first delay on Saturday occurred 24 minutes before the scheduled 6 p.m. kickoff. The all-clear was given at 7:17 p.m. and the 30-minute countdown began, but three minutes before the kickoff — after the national anthem and as the captains were headed to midfield for the coin toss — lightning flashed again.

After 35 minutes of a lightning show, the rain began at 8:21 p.m. and with the downpour continuing past 9, the decision to postpone came at 9:08.

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