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While Nick Saban wants to see improvement, top-ranked Alabama was pretty impressive in the opening of its national-title defense -- without a proven quarterback and with Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Derrick Henry in the NFL.
That Crimson Tide defense, down four players taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft last spring, is still physical and dominating, too.
On the season's first Saturday, when two top-five teams lost, freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw two touchdown passes to ArDarius Stewart and ran for two more scores in a 52-6 victory over No. 20 Southern California on Saturday night.
"We got off to a little bit of a shaky start in the first quarter, especially on offense," Saban said. "We scored a lot of points, made a lot of big plays, but still our consistency in execution needs to be much improved. ... My focus with our team right now is what can we do better."
At least the Tide is 1-0, unlike No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 5 LSU after their losses Saturday. And No. 16 UCLA lost as well.
USC coach Clay Helton sees Alabama a little different than Saban after the Trojans were held to 194 yards in their most lopsided loss since a 51-0 setback to Notre Dame in 1966.
"Obviously one game does not make a season. We played a very good team," said Helton. "They played to their potential. The cold hard truth is we did not play up to ours."
Stewart was wide open in the end zone behind the secondary when Hurts hit him for a 39-yard score midway through the second quarter that made it 7-3 and put Alabama ahead to stay. They hooked up on a 71-yard touchdown right after halftime for a 24-3 lead, and Hurts later had TD runs of 7 and 6 yards.
"Hopefully it's a statement we're still going to fight, still going to play," Stewart said about the team's performance.
The season-opening win came at AT&T Stadium -- the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys -- was also where the Crimson Tide started their 2012 and 2015 national championship seasons with victories.
The Tide are 10-0 in season openers under Saban, including seven non-conference games at neutral sites against Power Five teams that they have won by an average margin of 23 points.