Tua Tagovailoa limped off the field after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sometimes does things that only Tua Tagovailoa can do.
With a 9-0 record for No. 1 Alabama, Tagovailoa played in the fourth quarter for the first time and threw his first interception of the year in Saturday's 29-0 win over LSU. But Tagovailoa has had one constant issue haunting him during his solid Heisman-worthy season: a sprained right knee.
The troubled knee pestered him again on Saturday night as Tagovailoa, wearing a knee brace, dominated against the Tigers. Going 25-for-42, Tagovailoa recorded 295 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also added 49 rushing yards with one score on three carries.
In the third quarter, Tagovailoa showed off his wheels with a 44-yard touchdown run to put the Tide up 22-0. However, Tagovailoa appeared to be limping as he walked from the end zone to the sidelines. The sophomore entered the injury tent briefly before getting on a stationary bike. Tagovailoa played in the next series, which resulted in a punt.
It was a painful night all around for Tagovailoa. The signal-caller took an unfortunate hit to the groin from a LSU defender in the first quarter and knelt over on the field. He was subbed out of the game and replaced by freshman Mac Jones. While Tagovailoa returned to action a play later, he was clearly working through the knee pain he's had since early October.
Coach Nick Saban revealed on Oct. 10 that Tagovailoa had a sprained knee but was "taking every rep in practice." Three days later, Tagovailoa re-sprained his knee against Missouri and left the game in the third quarter. The sophomore quarterback entered the injury tent but later joined his teammates on the sidelines. Tagovailoa indicated to ESPN sideline reporter Todd McShay that he could have returned to the game if the score had been closer.
Tagovailoa leads the race for the Heisman Trophy, while Alabama continues its push to return to the national championship. But his knee may be the only thing that stands between Tagovailoa and a perfect season.