Zach Barnett

Associated Press

No. 2 Alabama loses Tua, but scores 13th straight win over Tennessee

1 Comment

No. 2 Alabama secured its 13th straight win over Tennessee, 35-13, but, given that Alabama is 7-0, Tennessee is 2-5 and the Tide has now beaten the Vols 13 straight times, the final score almost takes a back seat to all the moments inside this wild game.

For starters, Tua Tagovailoa left the game in the second quarter and did not return. The junior signal caller completed 11-of-12 passes for 155 yards before heading to the locker room with what Alabama called a “lower body injury” but the human eye determined to be his ankle. He was taken via ambulance to a local hospital but later returned to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Tagovailoa’s one incompletion was one of the turning points of the game. Leading 7-0 and with the ball at the Tennessee 2-yard line, Tagovailoa forced the issue on first down and fired directly to Tennessee’s Nigel Warrior, who raced the ball 59 yards to Alabama’s 41. The Volunteers cashed in on a 1-yard Tim Jordan rush to knot the game at 7-7 at the 7:28 mark of the first quarter.

Alabama scored back-to-back touchdowns, runs by Brian Robinson, Jr., and Najee Harris, to take a 21-10 lead when Tagovailoa injured late in the second quarter on a sack by Greg Emerson.

Mac Jones entered the game from there and Alabama’s offense stalled out and Tennessee, trailing 21-13, was set to get the ball back when Darrell Taylor sacked Jones on 3rd-and-10 midway through the third quarter when he was flagged for a personal foul in climbing off Jones.

Alabama later scored, pushing the lead to 28-13.

With the score still 28-13, Tennessee put together a 14-play drive that consumed the entire first half of the fourth quarter. On a first-and-goal from the 2, Tennessee lost a yard on first down, gained that yard back on second down, gained one more on third down and then saw disaster strike on fourth down when Jarrett Guarantano, who entered the game in the first quarter for an injured Brian Maurer, fumbled the ball into the end zone, which was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Trevon Diggs.

Cameras caught Jeremy Pruitt briefly yanking Guarantano’s face mask, and third-stringer JT Shrout played the remainder of the game at quarterback for Tennessee.

Nick Saban estimated to ESPN’s cameras after the game that Tagovailoa will miss 1-2 weeks with a high ankle sprain, which is a good thing for Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC), who has Arkansas and an off week before No. 2 LSU comes to Tuscaloosa. Jones completed 6-of-11 passes for 72 yards in relief.

For Tennessee (2-5, 1-3 SEC), Guarantano was just 7-of-16 for 55 yards, while Maurer went 5-of-7 for 62 yards and an interception. Tim Jordan managed to rush for 94 yards on 17 carries, while Harris led all runners with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

No. 2 Alabama leads Tennessee, but Tua getting checked out

Getty Images
Leave a comment

No. 2 Alabama holds a 21-10 lead over Tennessee at the break in Tuscaloosa. But, in more pressing matters than the game at hand, Tua Tagovailoa left the game with an ankle injury and was taken to the locker room for evaluation.

The Alabama Heisman candidate was actually the second starting quarterback to leave the game. Tennessee’s Brian Maurer was taken to the locker room in the first quarter.

Before he left the game, Tagovailoa completed 11-of-12 passes for 155 yards and an interception. His interception came on first-and-goal and hit Tennessee’s Nigel Warrior in the chest, who raced the ball 59 yards from the goal line to the Alabama 41. Tennessee capitalized with a 2-yard Maurer run, tying the score at 7-7 with 4:21 left in the first quarter.

Alabama scored touchdowns on its next two drives, finding paydirt on a 9-yard Brian Robinson, Jr., run and a 1-yard Najee Harris plunge.

Tennessee threatened to tie the game down 14-7, pushing to a 1st-and-goal from the 10, but the Vols went backwards and settled for a 37-yard Brent Cimaglia field goal.

Mac Jones entered and completed 2-of-5 passes for 34 yards, leading a late drive to set up a 41-yard Joseph Bulovas field goal try just before the halftime gun, but the kick was wide left.

Anthony Gordon throws 4 TDs to lead Wazzu past Colorado

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Some times, one stat line really does tell the whole story. Anthony Gordon threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, while Steven Montez mustered only 129 yards and two interceptions. Those numbers add up to a blowout score and, sure enough, Washington State beat Colorado 41-10.

The game was pretty much over in the first quarter, when Gordon threw touchdowns to Max Borghi and Dezmon Patton and Borghi added a 47-yard scoring scamper to give the Cougars a 21-3 lead.

Washington State (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) led 24-3 when Laviska Shenault made his presence known with a 6-yard touchdown run to pull the Buffs within 24-10, but Gordon answered with a 44-yard scoring strike to Brandon Arconado.

Gordon posted his fourth and final touchdown pass on a 1-yard toss to Davontavean Martin with 11:31 left in the game.

Colorado (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12) rushed for 179 yards to Washington State’s 128, but the Buffs lost the passing game, 369-141, while backup Blake Stenstrom was intercepted once to go with Montez’s two.

Washington State leading Colorado on the Palouse

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Washington State’s Anthony Gordon has thrown two touchdowns, Colorado’s Steven Montez has thrown two interceptions, and that pretty much tells the story thus far in Pullman. The Cougars hold a 24-3 lead over the visiting Buffaloes.

Gordon hit Max Borghi for a 4-yarder to put Washington State up 7-0, then found Dezmon Patton from 22 yards out to give Wazzu a 14-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game.

James Stefanou got CU on the board with a 24-yard field goal, but Washington State answered with a 47-yard Borghi touchdown run to close the first quarter.

Neither team scored in the second frame until Blake Mazza booted a 20-yard field goal with five seconds left before halftime.

Pony Express keeps chugging as No. 19 SMU thumps Temple

Getty Images
Leave a comment

They’re (still) partying like it’s 1982 in Dallas, as No. 19 SMU rolled past Temple 45-21 to move to 7-0 for the first time in 37 years.

Shane Buechele threw for career highs of 457 yards and six touchdowns, with most of the damage coming to Reggie Roberson, Jr., as the pair hooked up seven times for 250 yards and three touchdowns. The first score came on a 33-yarder on the game’s opening drive, giving the Mustangs a lead they would not relinquish.

The pair’s longest connection effectively put the game away — a 75-yard bomb that gave SMU a 17-0 lead with 7:15 to go in the second quarter.

Temple managed to pull within 10 three times — 17-7, 24-14 and 31-21 — but each time Buechele answered with touchdown passes. The first came on a 10-yarder to James Proche with 20 seconds left in the first half, the second a 10-yard strike to Kyle Granson at the 8:22 mark of the third quarter, and the third a 60-yard connection to Roberson, putting SMU up 38-21 with 11:54 left in the game.

Buechele’s sixth and final touchdown was a 5-yard toss to running back Xavier Jones, who led all runners with 37 yards on 18 carries.

Temple (5-2, 2-1 American) had a chance to make a game of it in the first half, but a handful of crucial drops halted the Owls’ offense while the Mustangs managed to separate for good. SMU’s biggest advantage of the day was in simple possession of the ball: Temple ran 69 plays on the day, while SMU (7-0, 3-0 American) snapped it 108 times. SMU out-gained Temple 655-273 and held the advantage in first downs 34-15.

While SMU is 7-0 for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Mustangs have already matched their most wins in a season since 2011 and are two wins shy of the program’s high-water mark post-death penalty.