Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry made a first-quarter interception in his first career start. [ALABAMA ATHLETICS]

TUSCALOOSA — Alabama football started slow, but even with some initial issues, the Crimson Tide still rolled to victory.

In the first game back with full-capacity allowed at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama routed the Mercer Bears 48-14 on Saturday.

1. Offense sputters at the start: Alabama's start on offense showed why  coach Nick Saban wasn't the happiest with his team's practices and intensity leading up to the game.

The offense couldn't get much going early on, going three-and-out on the first series. Then on the second drive, a holding penalty stalled the offense and Bryce Young couldn't convert as he tried to hit Jameson Williams along the sideline on third-and-15.

The first score of the game actually came via special teams when Jase McClellan scooped up a blocked punt from Chris Braswell for the score. That special teams touchdown to put the Crimson Tide up 7-0 gave the offense the boost it needed to get rolling.

2. Kool-Aid impresses in first start: Freshman cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry got his first start Saturday and he made the most of it.

McKinstry, a five-star prospect, grabbed an interception in his first start in the first quarter. It led to the first offensive touchdown of the day as Alabama went up 14-0 shortly after.

McKinstry also had a pass breakup on a deep ball in the second quarter. If he doesn't make that play, with no one behind him, Mercer likely would have scored.

3. Penalties aplenty: Yellow flags often found their way onto the field Saturday. Thirteen times in the first half, to be exact.

The Crimson Tide had six of those for 70 yards. That's in part what contributed to Alabama's slow start. By the second offensive drive, the Crimson Tide had tallied two for 25 yards. Alabama had a few pass interference penalties in the first half, too.

Alabama took the lead in penalties right away, but then Mercer caught up. And the Bears' penalties contributed to the Crimson Tide building a lead. For example, a facemask on Mercer gave Alabama a first down on a drive it turned into a Slade Bolden 18-yard touchdown to take a 21-0 lead with 14:51 left in the second quarter.

By the end of the first half, Mercer had more penalty yards (54) than total yards offense (35).

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