TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Freshman Jalen Hurts passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start to lead No. 1 Alabama to a 38-10 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday.
Hurts likely nailed down the quarterback job with a 23-of-36 passing performance. The Crimson Tide (2-0) started slow and then piled it on with big plays from the defense and receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart.
Hurts is the first true freshman quarterback to start at Alabama since Vince Sutton started four games in 1984. He also had two likely touchdowns dropped.
Blake Barnett got the nod in the opener against Southern California and completed 2 of 6 passes for 64 yards in this one.
Western Kentucky (1-1) was outgained 475-239 in total yards against a defense that has allowed 16 points in the first two games.
Ridley had nine catches for 129 yards and Stewart gained 90 yards on five receptions. Both also logged carries.
Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White left late in the third quarter. He was 10 of 24 for 135 yards with an interception after racking up 517 yards in the opener against Rice. The Hilltoppers converted a turnover into a touchdown in the final minute.
Western Kentucky: The winners of 13 consecutive Conference USA games trailed just 10-3 midway through the second quarter. Receiver Taywan Taylor continued his trend of big games against teams from the Power 5 conferences, with 121 yards on nine catches. He averaged 113 yards against Vanderbilt, Indiana and LSU last season.
Alabama: The Tide didn’t look spectacular but got the job done with another strong defensive effort and a smattering of big plays. Stewart had a 52-yard catch, Ridley a 51-yarder and Gehrig Dieter a 40-yarder. The defense had four sacks and held the Hilltoppers to 23 rushing yards.
Alabama should comfortably hold onto the No. 1 spot, especially since No. 2 Clemson struggled to put away Troy.
Safety Eddie Jackson’s 55-yard interception return in the first half gave some breathing room in a 10-3 game and was his third of the past two seasons. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey scored on a pick six against USC.
Alabama visits No. 19 Mississippi, which has handed the Tide its only regular-season loss in each of the last two years.
Western Kentucky travels to Miami, Ohio.
AP College Football site: www.collegefootball.ap.org