Roydell Williams rushed for 129 yards and scored the tiebreaking touchdown as No. 10 Alabama escaped with a lackluster 17-3 victory over South Florida on Saturday in nonconference play at Tampa, Fla.
Dallas Turner registered 2 1/2 sacks and Malachi Moore intercepted a pass in the end zone for the Crimson Tide (2-1), who overcame shaky play from the quarterback position to avoid what would have been a major upset.
Tyler Buchner started and completed 5 of 14 passes for 34 yards for Alabama before being removed late in the second quarter. Ty Simpson entered and was 5 of 9 for 73 yards and rushed for a score.
Jalen Milroe, who started Alabama's first two games at quarterback, didn't play.
Byrum Brown was 14-of-28 passing for 87 yards and one interception and rushed for 92 yards for the Bulls (1-2). Daquan Evans recorded three sacks for South Florida, which was outgained 310 to 264.
The loss was USF's 18th in a row against FBS programs.
The contest was delayed for nearly an hour early in the second quarter due to heavy rain and lightning.
Simpson was the quarterback when the Crimson Tide navigated 84 yards on six plays to take a 10-3 lead in the third quarter.
Simpson connected with CJ Dippre for 45 yards and Williams broke loose for a 26-yard run. Williams eventually scored from the 1 with 4:35 left in the period.
South Florida moved into Alabama territory midway through the fourth quarter. But a short time later, Brown threw deep into double coverage and Moore easily made the interception with 6:29 left.
The Crimson Tide worked the clock and put the game away when Simpson scored on a quarterback sneak from the 1 with 33 seconds left.
USF received a break in the first quarter when Alabama's Kool-Aid McKinstry was hit by a punt and the Bulls recovered at the Crimson Tide 29 yard-line.
South Florida cashed in with a 44-yard field goal by John Cannon with 7:08 left in the quarter.
Alabama's Terrion Arnold returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown but a holding penalty on Jeremiah Alexander nullified the score.
After five straight punts under Buchner, Alabama turned to Simpson and he was the recipient of a short field after Turner sacked Brown and forced him to fumble. James Smith recovered at the USF 25.
Five plays later, Will Reichard kicked a 30-yard field with 2:30 left in the half to knot the score.
—Field Level Media