Notebook: Mac Jones Leads Alabama Offense to 66-3 Rout of Western Carolina

Alabama Athletics
Tyler Martin

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  In his second career start, redshirt sophomore Mac Jones completed 10 of his 12 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, leading Alabama to a decisive 66-3 victory over Western Carolina.

“I thought Mac was pretty efficient,” Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said. “He made some explosive plays. He did not throw it much, but I was pleased with the overall performance.”

The Jacksonville, Fla., native showed off his arm strength when he completed deep balls of 44 and 37 yards in the second quarter to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle. 

Jones shared the wealth around the field throwing all three touchdowns to different pass catchers: receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and running back Najee Harris.

Harris also carried the ball 14 times for 66 yards and another score on the ground. He becomes the first player in the SEC over the last 20 years with at least one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown in three straight games.

On the second possession of the third quarter, freshman quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa relieved Jones and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Smith. His appearance marked the fifth game he has played in this season, meaning he can no longer redshirt. The touchdown to Smith was the first of Tagovailoa’s career.

With 4:43 remaining in the game, freshman quarterback Paul Tyson, the great-grandson of Paul W. Bryant, made his first appearance of the season.

Tua returns to Bryant-Denny Stadium after hip surgery earlier this week

Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entered Bryant-Denny Stadium on a cart Saturday afternoon to a standing ovation from the Crimson Tide faithful. During the Million Dollar Band's halftime show, one of the color-guard members twirled a flag that read, "Tua 13." He was shown on the jumbotron multiple times, but never formally introduced. 

After the game, Jones shared what advice the injured Tagovailoa told him as he takes on the task of being the starting quarterback moving forward. 

"He told me just to be myself," Jones said. "Do what you do and do your best and everything will be fine. He is a great leader for our team and we look forward to him coming back and having a good recovery."

Tide-bits

Today's captains were senior defensive backs Shyheim Carter and Jared Mayden and senior offensive linemen Matt Womack. The announced attendance was 101,821. The head referee was Lee Hendrick. ...

The Crimson Tide recorded 541 yards of total offense on Saturday, marking the 32nd time in the last 70 games that Alabama has eclipsed the 500-plus yard mark dating back to the start of the 2015 season. ...

Waddle finished with three catches for 101 yards. It was fourth time in his career he has had 100 or more yards in a game. Smith had four catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. ...

Under Saban, the Crimson Tide has defeated 91 straight unranked opponents, which is the longest streak in FBS history. ...

Saturday was the 35th time in 70 games that the Alabama defense has held their opponents to 10 points or less. 

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