Nick Saban did not get to watch his former quarterback dazzle in his debut with Oklahoma, but the Alabama coach told reporters Monday he wasn't surprised that Jalen Hurts "played extremely well" in his first game as a Sooner.
Hurts was unstoppable in the contest, guiding his new squad to a 49-31 victory over Houston. As the game's leading passer and rusher, Hurts went for 332 yards through the air on 20-for-23 passing with three scores and he added 176 yards on the ground on 16 carries with another three touchdowns.
When discussing the former Alabama player who was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman, Saban noted how Hurts handled himself last season when he lost the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa.
"Jalen set a great example when he was here when he was a player," Saban said. "He was a good leader. He was a performer. And I also think when things didn't go his way, he showed a lot of character as a person to continue to try and improve himself and do everything he could to help his team."
"I didn't see the game last night—we work on Sunday nights," Saban said. "But I hear he played extremely well, did an outstanding job, and that doesn't surprise me in the least bit. We're really happy for him, not only in the way that he handled himself throughout this entire process but now that he's having success as well."
During his three years at Alabama, Hurts helped the Crimson Tide claim two SEC championships and a national championship.