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Tua Tagovailoa among several starters to suffer injuries in No. 1 Alabama’s romp over Missouri

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On a day full of chaos across college football, No. 1 Alabama had no issues taking care of business against Missouri on Saturday night in a 39-10 victory. Even the Crimson Tide’s sometimes questionable defense had a good outing against a potential first round quarterback too.

But not even the return of ‘Dixieland Delight’ to Bryant Denny Stadium could make up for the stunned silence in Tuscaloosa when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (265 yards, three touchdowns) went down with a knee injury on a first down scramble in the third quarter of the game and spent nearly 20 minutes in the team’s injury tent. Concern was ratcheted up another few notches when his parents made a visit to the tent to check in on him and again when the sophomore emerged with a heavier knee brace on and a minor limp.

Given the 20 point margin, it’s understandable that the signal-caller did not return to the game — and was officially listed as questionable after emerging back on the sideline — but the entire episode was enough on a day full of wild results to show why even the best team in the country can be at least a little vulnerable in this crazy sport of college football.

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only Tide starter to make the trip to the medical tent or locker room either. Receiver Henry Ruggs III missed the bulk of the third quarter after an injury but did return while fellow wideout Devonta Smith suffered a hamstring pull in the first half and was not seen the rest of the night.

Those absences were the story of the game even on an overall off night for Alabama’s offense. When he was in, Tagovailoa threw 10 incompletions (as many as he did in the previous three weeks combined) and the team squandered several opportunities inside the red zone that Nick Saban seemed visibly mad about. Damien Harris had 62 yards rushing (one score) and Najee Harris chipped in with another 57 on the ground while backup QB Jalen Hurts accounted for 137 total yards — including his first reception of the season in the first quarter.

The Crimson Tide being who they are though, were picked up by their defense several times as that unit recorded four sacks and managed to get a safety as well. They held potential first round quarterback Drew Lock to only 142 yards passing with one touchdown throw and two picks. The Tigers managed only 69 yards rushing too in a game that they had a few chances to make interesting but never did.

On a day where numerous top 25 teams faltered in a big way, most of the state of Alabama will likely breathe a sigh of relief that the Tide got the win and that the injuries to key players didn’t look too terrible all things considered. Saban wanted something to nitpick after an incredible start to the year and after the victory against Mizzou, he will have no problem coming up with things to work on going into the Third Saturday in October.

Tua remains flawless as No. 1 Alabama slays No. 22 Texas A&M

Associated Press
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No. 1 Alabama and its Heisman candidate quarterback Tua Tagovailoa cruised through their first three games, but Saturday was supposed to be different. No. 22 Texas A&M was coming to Tuscaloosa, and for the first time this season, the defending national champions would face a team that would match them athlete for athlete, coach for coach, and dollar for dollar.

Or so we thought.

Texas A&M threw its best bunch at college football’s crimson bully, but in the end Alabama accepted that blow and landed a torrent of haymakers back, cruising to a 45-23 win that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The game opened with a quick interception by Alabama’s Mack Wilson and an even quicker touchdown pass, as Devonta Smith hauled in a 30-yard score one play later to give the Tide a lead just 50 seconds into the game.

The next sequence was the best for Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1 SEC): after Alabama downed a punt at the Texas A&M 1, the Aggies marched the length of the field to tie the game. The key play on a 54-yard quarterback draw by Kellen Mond, then a 15-yard strike to tight end Jace Sternberger. It was the first 99-yard drive surrendered by Alabama since Houston did it in 1997.

But, in typical Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC) fashion, the euphoria of legitimately challenging the Tide was short lived. Tagovailoa moved the Tide 75 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 1-yard keeper, to give Alabama a lead it would not relinquish.

Seth Small put the Aggies within 14-10 at the 8:50 mark of the second quarter, but Alabama put the game away with 17 points over the final half of the second frame: a 23-yard strike to Hale Henteges, a 6-yard toss to Henteges and a 47-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal to stake Alabama to a 31-13 lead.

Josh Jacobs scored on a 3-yard rush to push the lead to 38-13, and Henry Ruggs III took a ball 57 yards to the house to add the capper at the 2:01 mark of the third quarter.

Trayveon Williams added the final score of the day, a 1-yard rush, with 12:55 to play in the game.

Tagovailoa added to his Heisman resume with perhaps his best game yet: 22-of-30 for 387 yards and four touchdowns while adding another on the ground. Damien Harris and Najee Harris combined to run 15 times for 95 yards.

On the other end, Mond endured a number of sacks to still rush for a game-high 98 yards while throwing for 196 more, but the bulk of those were in garbage time, and two interceptions were backbreakers for the Aggies.

The win moved Nick Saban to 13-0 against his former assistants, though Jimbo Fisher‘s 22-point loss was ahead of Saban’s average margin of victory of 27 points.

Ole Miss strikes first, but No. 1 Alabama buries Rebels in Oxford

Associated Press
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From the very first snap, Ole Miss showed this wasn’t going to be like other games No. 1 Alabama plays. Behind its strong-armed Hawaiian quarterback, these Rebels were going to hit the Tide’s inexperienced secondary right in the mouth, as Jordan Ta’amu found D.K. Metcalf for a 75-yard touchdown grab.

And right from its very first snap, Alabama showed Ole Miss that this wasn’t other Alabama teams. These Crimson Tide have their own big-armed quarterback from the islands, and they can deliver haymakers with the best of them.

Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC) needed only three plays to tie the game, a 43-yard Damien Harris rumble. And then, after a pair of Ole Miss (2-1, 0-1 SEC) three-and-outs and an Alabama fumble, Tua Tagovailoa had his equalizer, a 79-yard scoring strike to Jerry Jeudy, and the Tide were off to the races. After a 10-yard Najee Harris run and a 12-yard pass from Tagovailoa to tight end Irv Smith, Alabama had a 28-7 lead by the 4:40 mark of the first quarter.

The Tide expanded on that 28-7 first quarter lead into a 49-7 halftime edge and a 62-7 final.

While Alabama’s offense was obviously the story of the half, Ole Miss’s unit failed to keep them in the game after the opening score. The Rebels went three-and-out after Alabama’s first score, then did the same upon taking over at the Alabama 47 after a Henry Ruggs III fumble. Trailing 14-7, Ole Miss again moved to the Alabama 47 when Ta’amu fumbled away what would have been a 3rd and 1 situation. The Rebels’ next possession, trailing 21-7, Ta’amu threw an interception that Deionte Thompson returned to the Rebels’ 15 and the game was all but over.

In the second quarter, Alabama scored on a 4-yard Josh Jacobs run, a 22-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Jeudy and a 13-yard pass from Hurts to Ruggs.

All told, the Tide rolled up 418 yards of total offense and 20 first downs on 41 first half snaps. Tagovailoa hit 11-of-15 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while Hurts was 7-of-10 for 85 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Nine Alabama players combined to carry 44 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Ta’amu, meanwhile, after starting 1-of-1 for 75 yards and a touchdown, finished 6-of-21 for 58 yards with two interceptions.

Alabama running away from Ole Miss

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From the very first snap, Ole Miss showed this wasn’t going to be like other games No. 1 Alabama plays. Behind its strong-armed Hawaiian quarterback, these Rebels were going to hit the Tide’s inexperienced secondary right in the mouth, as Jordan Ta’amu found D.K. Metcalf for a 75-yard touchdown grab.

And right from its very first snap, Alabama showed Ole Miss that this wasn’t other Alabama teams. These Crimson Tide have their own big-armed quarterback from the islands, and they can deliver haymakers with the best of them.

Alabama needed only three plays to tie the game, a 43-yard Damien Harris rumble. And then, after a pair of Ole Miss three-and-outs and an Alabama fumble, Tua Tagovailoa had his equalizer, a 79-yard scoring strike to Jerry Jeudy, and the Tide were off to the races. After a 10-yard Najee Harris run and a 12-yard pass from Tagovailoa to tight end Irv Smith, Alabama had a 28-7 lead by the 4:40 mark of the first quarter.

The Tide tacked on tree more scores in the second quarter to take a 49-7 lead into the locker room.

While Alabama’s offense was obviously the story of the half, Ole Miss’s unit failed to keep them in the game after the opening score. The Rebels went three-and-out after Alabama’s first score, then did the same upon taking over at the Alabama 47 after a Henry Ruggs III fumble. Trailing 14-7, Ole Miss again moved to the Alabama 47 when Ta’amu fumbled away what would have been a 3rd and 1 situation. The Rebels’ next possession, trailing 21-7, Ta’amu threw an interception that Deionte Thompson returned to the Rebels’ 15 and the game was all but over.

In the second quarter, Alabama scored on a 4-yard Josh Jacobs run, a 22-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Jeudy and a 13-yard pass from Hurts to Ruggs.

All told, the Tide rolled up 418 yards of total offense and 20 first downs on 41 snaps. Tide passers were 16-of-21 for 248 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, while Alabama runners carried 20 times for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

As if that isn’t enough, Alabama will receive to open the second half.

No. 1 Alabama looks like same old Tide in romp over Louisville

Associated Presss
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The last we saw these Crimson Tide, Tua Tagovailoa used his electrifying, unorthodox style to team with a group of young, athletic wide receivers to lead an astonishing comeback past Georgia to win the national championship. Nine months later, not much has changed. No. 1 Alabama opened the year with yet another neutral site romping, blowing out Louisville 51-14 in Orlando.

The win was Alabama’s 74th straight over an unranked opponent, an AP poll record.

Nick Saban finally, officially deemed the sophomore Hawaiian has his starting quarterback just before the top-ranked Crimson Tide kicked Saturday night, and it was immediately evident why. Alabama accepted the ball to open the game and immediately moved 65 yards in seven snaps, reaching pay dirt on an 11-yard strike from Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy.

The Tide’s next drive ended prematurely when a Tagovailoa connection to Devonta Smith (the fellow sophomore on the receiving end of Tagovailoa’s golden rainbow last January) ended in a fumble at the Louisville 17-yard line. No matter, Alabama forced a three-and-out and then marched 55 yards in six plays, scoring on a 9-yard Tagovailoa rush, pushing their lead to 14-0 at the 4:04 mark of the first quarter.

Louisville threatened to get on the scoreboard on the ensuing possession, but Jawon Pass was intercepted by Deionte Thompson, one of five new starters in Alabama’s defensive backfield, in the end zone. After a 25-yard return, Alabama was inside Louisville’s 10-yard line three plays later, thanks largely to a 49-yard rainbow from Tagovailoa to true freshman Jaylen WaddleNajee Harris gave Alabama a 21-0 lead three plays later.

If there was one weak point for Alabama in the first half — and you know a sect of Tide fans is looking for one — it’s that Jalen Hurts played two second quarter series and the Tide didne’t score on either of them. The junior’s two series covered a combined 52 yards but both ended in punts.

Alabama seemed content to take a 3-touchdown lead into the break, but Waddle broke free for a 31-yard punt return to the Louisville 25 with 27 ticks left in the half, and Tagovailoa returned to capitalize in the form of his second touchdown pass to Jeudy of the night with nine seconds remaining in the half, staking the Tide to a 28-0 lead at the break.

Louisville finally got on the board at the 6:27 mark of the third quarter when Jawon Pass found tight end Kemari Averett for a 12-yard touchdown pass, but the Cardinals never seriously threatened the Tide. Josh Jacobs scored twice for Alabama in the second half, first on an 18-yard rush, then on a 77-yard kickoff return, and Shyheim Carter pushed the Tide over the half-a-hundred mark with a 45-yard pick six midway through the fourth quarter. Pass again connected with Averett for an 8-yard score to complete the scoring with 1:55 to play.