Mac Jones-Jaylen Waddle Connection Propels Alabama Offense to Dominant Outing at Missouri

Tyler Martin

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It only took one drive for the University of Alabama offense to hit its stride, in a 38-19 defeat of Missouri on Saturday night inside Memorial Stadium. 

After a three-and-out on the opening possession, redshirt-junior quarterback Mac Jones looked like a season vet in only the fifth start of his Crimson Tide career, throwing for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and completing 75 percent of his passes.

"He’s done a really good job," Alabama coach Nick Saban said in the post-game press conference. "I thought he played well tonight. They have a good defensive team. Those guys are physical. They’re tough. They play a lot of close coverage, a lot of man-to-man and they’re a good front seven. I thought Mac handled the game really well. I thought he made good choices and decisions. He was accurate with the ball. I was very, very pleased with the way Mac played.

"No surprise to me the way he played in this game. I think he’s got really good chemistry with Waddle and Smitty both. Mac was really good tonight. He managed the offense really well. He made lots of really good decisions. We just want to build on that, and hopefully, we can as an offensive unit."

Both of Jones' scores went to junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who put up career numbers in an electrifying performance, netting 134 yards on eight receptions, which are is a career high for the Houston native. 

"Waddle's a great player," Jones said afterwards. "He gets open. That's his job and I think he does a pretty great job at doing it. We have had a great relationship since he has stepped on campus. Even going back to seven-on-seven in the summer, the late nights, just getting that chemistry with him at the indoor facility. 

"He makes plays."

Senior wide out DeVonta Smith also finished with eight catches for 89 yards. 

The running game, led by senior tailback Najee Harris, was efficient as well. 

Harris averaged almost six yards a carry, toting the rock 17 times for a total of 98 yards and three touchdowns, which tied a career high . He moved into 14th place on Alabama's all-time rushing list, passing Eddie Lacy. 

"Our running game, it was good," Jones said. "We have to watch the film like I said. I thought the runners ran hard and I feel like we blocked well. Later on in the game, we did not, maybe, have as many explosive plays as we would have liked. But like I said, we are going to watch the film and find ways to improve."

In total, the Crimson Tide offensive finished with 414 total yards and 38 points, picking up right where the explosive unit left off last season, after sending four first-round picks to the NFL. 

“I think we were all pretty comfortable,” Jones said. “Obviously, it’s a new group, so you’ve gotta look around and adjust to people that we don’t have on our team anymore and it’s the first team we’ve all put it together in a game. A little bit of a slow start. Obviously, we’ll fix that. But I feel like we gelled as the game went on, and we’ll just continue to watch the film and improve.”

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