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Austin Kelly became the first player to cross the goal line against them when he caught an 11-yard pass from Sean Renfree in the final minute of the first half. That capped the third _ and final _ scoring drive by the Blue Devils.

The Crimson Tide could get away with that kind of breakdown in the early season. After all, they faced the likes of outmanned San Jose State, a nationally ranked Penn State team that brought a freshman quarterback to Bryant-Denny Stadium and a Duke team that, while improving, clearly wasn’t anywhere near Alabama’s level.

Starting now, the margin for error shrinks significantly _ especially this week against Heisman hopeful Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks.

“You can’t have a lull in the second quarter. You can’t let down. You can’t get tired,” Saban said. “You have to have enough mental toughness to persevere and play every play in the game. I think there are some lessons to be learned for some young players, and hopefully we can improve because of it and it will help our team grow.”