The Crimson Tide had little trouble rolling past Clemson 34-10 at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night, the biggest victory in coach Saban's two seasons at Alabama.
Alabama's defense held Clemson to zero rushing yards and John Parker Wilson threw for two touchdowns as Alabama beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since topping No. 5 Florida in 2005. That was part of the last hurrah for former coach Mike Shula, who followed that 10-2 season with a 6-7 campaign that ended his time with the Tide.
Alabama lured Saban from the NFL last season to lead the 12-time national champs back to glory. Based on the opener, Saban and the Tide are on their way. Wilson finished 22 of 30 for 180 yards and, with his career total completions now at 500, surpassed Brodie Croyle's old record of 488.
The Crimson Tide defense held the Tigers' heralded "Thunder and Lightning" backfield of James Davis and C.J. Spiller to 20 yards combined.
The Tigers managed only 188 yards, way off their 403-yard average from last season.
The Tide ran the ball easily on Clemson's defense, which was ninth in the country a season ago. Leigh Tiffin added four field goals, including a 54-yard kick that was Alabama's third longest of all time.
Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper, voted the favorite to win ACC Player of the Year, was continually pressured and off target.