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Saban: Milroe 'earned the opportunity' to be Alabama QB1 vs. Ole Miss

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Alabama will start quarterback Jalen Milroe on Saturday against Ole Miss, head coach Nick Saban announced.

Milroe began the season as QB1 but lost the role after struggling in a loss to Texas in the second game of the campaign. The Crimson Tide started Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner on Saturday at South Florida, but he was benched and replaced by Ty Simpson midway through the contest. Alabama edged South Florida 17-3 despite its offensive struggles.

"Jalen really showed the leadership that I was looking for during the game in terms of supporting his teammates and doing the things he needed to do," Saban said Monday, according to Paul Finebaum of SEC Network. "He's had the opportunity to play, so have the other guys. Jalen played the best of all those guys, so I think he's earned the opportunity to be the quarterback."

Milroe completed 72% of his passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against Middle Tennessee State. He also rushed for 48 yards and two scores. But Milroe couldn't replicate those numbers versus Texas, finishing the game with a 51.9% completion rate while passing for 255 yards and two TDs against two interceptions.

Buchner was 5-for-14 passing with 34 yards in the Texas matchup. Simpson completed 5 of 9 passes for 73 yards after taking over with the game underway. He also scored a rushing touchdown.

Following the unimpressive victory over South Florida, Alabama ranked at No. 13 in the AP Poll, marking the team's first time outside the top 10 since 2015.

The Crimson Tide begin SEC play against Ole Miss on Saturday before facing Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

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