A.J. McCarron threw both of his touchdown passes in the first quarter and No. 2 Alabama coasted to a 41-14 drubbing of No. 8 Michigan on Saturday night.
The reigning champion Crimson Tide put on a show in front of more than 90,00 at Cowboys Stadium, building a 31-0 lead in the first half on the way to the big win.
"This team had a challenge of trying to create an identity for themselves in terms of how they competed and how they played. And I think they took a step in that direction," said Alabama coach Nick Saban.
McCarron threw for 199 yards for Alabama (1-0) and T.J. Yeldon became the first true freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in Crimson Tide history, gaining 111 with a touchdown.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was just 11-for-26 for 200 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also scored on the ground, but C.J. Mosley returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown.
The Wolverines (0-1) played without starting tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark, who served one-game suspensions for legal issues over the summer.
Vincent Smith led Michigan with 37 yards on 13 rushes.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who wanted to use the game as a measuring stick for where his team stood, said they ended up on the "short end" of it.
"I mean, we've got a lot of things that I know we can do better," said Hoke. "I've seen us do it better, and we've got to go back to work."
The rout developed early.
Alabama took a 21-0 lead with touchdowns on three straight possessions in the first quarter, and it wasn't much of a game after that.
McCarron capped a 61-yard drive with a short pass to Michael Williams and it was under two minutes later when he connected on a 51-yarder with DeAndrew White.
The receiver got past Courtney Avery on the right side with a nifty stutter- step move near the line that sent the defensive back slipping to the turf.
Alabama had it going on both sides of the ball and got its third touchdown after a turnover when Dee Milliner intercepted Robinson and returned it 35 yards to help set up a 9-yard run by Eddie Lacy.
Jeremy Shelley kicked a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter and Mosley picked off Robinson deep in Michigan territory, taking it back 16 yards for a 31-0 lead.
Robinson and Jeremy Gallon connected for a 71-yard pass to set up Robinson's 6-yard touchdown scramble for Michigan's first points.
The Heisman hopeful hit Devin Garner for a 44-yard touchdown in the second half, but those were the only other points Michigan scored.
Cade Foster kicked a 51-yard field goal for Alabama and Yeldon had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to punctuate his record-setting game.
Alabama, which has won two of the last three national championships, hosts Western Kentucky next week ... Michigan plays Air Force ... The Wolverines were coming off an 11-2 season that ended in an overtime win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.