Injury to Tua Tagovailoa overshadows Alabama's win over Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Alabama’s high-powered offense scored touchdowns on its opening five possessions while its defense showed improvement following a disastrous performance the week before. The Crimson Tide rebounded from its loss to LSU and rolled to a 38-7 victory over Mississippi State inside of Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.
However, none of that seemed to matter as Tua Tagovailoa was carted off the field in the second quarter.
The Alabama starting quarterback injured his right hip while rolling to his left on the Crimson Tide’s sixth possession of the game. Throwing the ball away, Tagovailoa was hit by two Mississippi State defenders, causing him to land awkwardly on his right leg. The collision also appeared to bloody his face.
Tagovailoa initially tried to limp off the field under the aid of trainers. However, a cart was later needed to transport him to the Crimson Tide’s locker room. ESPN reported that the quarterback was screaming in pain and was taken to get X-rays on his hip.
“He hurt his hip, so I don’t know anything else more than that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN at the start of halftime. “They took him in to look at him, so we’ll see what’s happening.”
Tagovailoa started for the Crimson Tide despite being a game-time decision due to his injured right ankle. The left-hander completed his first nine passes and led Alabama to scoring drives on its first five possessions. He finished the day 14 of 18 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama was leading 35-7 late in the second quarter at the time of the injury.
“That was going to be his last series, we were going to do two-minute (drill) before the half with him just for practice,” Saban told ESPN. “And of course we’ve got to block them better so he doesn’t get sacked. Too bad.”
Tagovailoa wasn’t the only Alabama player to pick up a knock during the game. Defensive lineman Raekwon Davis left the game on a cart just before the half as he could not put pressure on his left leg. Freshman defensive tackle D.J. Dale appeared to injure his right knee and did not play in the second half. Henry Ruggs III landed awkwardly following a hit in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
Aside from injuries, it was a worry-free day for Alabama. For a second-straight week, running back Najee Harris went on a rampage, carrying the ball 17 times for 88 yards and three touchdowns while adding three catches and 51 yards with another score through the air. Harris’ 19-yard touchdown reception from Tagovailoa was his sixth of the season, setting Alabama’s single-season record for most by a running back.
Mac Jones was solid after coming on for an injured Tagovailoa in the second half. The redshirt sophomore completed his first seven passes en route to going 7 of 11 for 94 yards on the day.
Jerry Jeudy led the Crimson Tide with seven catches for 114 yards, while SEC receiving leader DeVonta Smith pulled in six receptions for 92 yards.
After allowing 559 yards last week against LSU, Alabama’s defense showed signs of improvement. The Crimson Tide limited Mississippi State to 270 yards of total offense and held SEC rushing leader Kylin Hill to 35 yards on 16 carries. Freshman linebacker Shane Lee led Alabama with 10 tackles and intercepted Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens on the Bulldogs’ first offensive play of the game.
The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 in the SEC) has now won its last 12 games over the Bulldogs (4-6, 2-5) dating back to 2008.
Alabama will return home to Bryant-Denny Stadium next week for a game against FCS foe Western Carolina on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.
Tagovailoa is carted off the field in the 2nd quarter
Najee Harris has four touchdowns
Najee Harris has 4 touchdowns— Alabama Crimson Tide | BamaInsider.com (@bamainsider) November 16, 2019
Alabama leads Miss State 35-7 with 6:00 in the 2nd quarter
Najee Harris has three touchdowns in the first quarter
Najee Harris has 79 total yards with three touchdowns in the 1st quarter 😳— Kyle Henderson (@Rivals_Kyle) November 16, 2019
Najee Harris with a 19-yard touchdown catch to make it 14-0
Alabama scores on their first drive of the game
Alabama 7, Miss. State 0 with 13:08 in the 1st— Alabama Crimson Tide | BamaInsider.com (@bamainsider) November 16, 2019
(Scoring Drive: 5 plays, 55 yards, 1:52)
Key play - Tua Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy for a 37-yards reception
10-yard TD by Najee Harris
Watch Tua Tagovailoa warm up before Mississippi State
Kickoff temperature: 46 degrees
Did you know: Alabama has won it's last 11 meetings against the Bulldogs
Last year: Alabama 24, Mississippi State 0
Questionable for today: QB Tua Tagovailoa