TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Forced out of New Orleans a week ago by the threat of Hurricane Gustav, Tulane got a standing ovation from Alabama fans just for jogging into the stadium.
The 13th-ranked Crimson Tide wasn't as nice, even as it struggled to a win.
Javier Arenas returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown and Alabama held on Saturday to beat Tulane 20-6.
Just one game after looking like world beaters against then-No.9 Clemson, a listless Alabama (2-0) allowed four sacks of John Parker Wilson, fumbled once, missed two kicks and gained only 172 yards – just 38 in the first half.
Coach Nick Saban got his 100th collegiate career victory, but he wasn't exactly thrilled.
“It's a little disappointing. It's our goal to play with consistency … but we were unable to do that,” he said. “We did not make progress as a team.”
Playing in its season opener after days of hotel food and worrying about friends and family in Louisiana, Tulane kept the Tide offense off balance but managed only field goals of 35 and 21 yards by Ross Thevenot, who missed two more.
Tulane headed back home, but it might not be for long since another hurricane, Ike, could threaten the northern Gulf coast next week. Coach Bob Toledo doesn't know what to expect.
“I'm not a weather guy, but I guess it's coming our way,” he said.
No. 2 GEORGIA 56, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 17: Knowshon Moreno rushed for 168 yards and tied his career high with three touchdowns, and massive defensive end Demarcus Dobbs rumbled for an improbable 78-yard score after picking off a deflected pass to lead the host Bulldogs (2-0).
Matthew Stafford got in on the fun by completing 18-of-28 for 213 yards, hooking up with former Independence High star Mohamed Massaquoi on two touchdown passes. Massaquoi finished with five catches for 79 yards.
No. 9 AUBURN 27, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 13: Chris Todd, a junior college transfer, completed 21-of-31 passes and was on target with an array of short and mid-range throws, effectively running Auburn's (2-0) new spread offense.
KENTUCKY 38, NORFOLK STATE 3: Randall Cobb, the first true freshman to play quarterback at Kentucky since Dusty Bonner in 1997, threw for one TD and ran for two others as the host Wildcats (2-0) dominated Norfolk State (1-1).
ARKANSAS 28, LOUISIANA-MONROE 27: Casey Dick threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Williams with 1:22 remaining, and Louisiana-Monroe's (0-2) Jeremy Gener missed a 45-yard field goal, enabling host Arkansas (2-0) to escape.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 34, SE LOUISIANA 10: Wesley Carroll threw two touchdowns and Anthony Dixon had two rushing scores to lead the host Bulldogs (1-1) past the Lions (1-1).