Alabama gets 38-7 win at Mississippi State, but loses Tua Tagovailoa

Alabama Athletics
Christopher Walsh

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Alabama both won and lost on Saturday afternoon.

While it pulled off an impressive first half en route to 38-7 rout of Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium, the victory came at the cost of numerous players suffering injuries, including Tua Tagovaoiloa.

The junior quarterback, who was considered a game-time decision due to an ankle issue, started and went 14-for-18 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. However, he suffered a painful hip injury near the end of the first half.

Tagovailoa was helicoptered to Birmingham to be further evaluated.

“We hate it that he got injured,” Nick Saban said. “We hate it for him, we hate it for his family.

“Hopefully this is not so serious that there’s no long-term affect on his future as a player. I really don’t know the severity.”

Otherwise No. 5 Alabama had a strong performance with junior running back Najee Harris scoring four touchdowns and the defense giving up just one touchdown. Junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy had seven receptions for 114 yards, while freshman linebacker Shane Lee had a game-high 10 tackles an interception.

Mississippi State did manage to tally 270 yards, but was just 3-for-12 on third-down conversions and quarterback Tommy Stevens finished 12-for-21 for 82 yards passing.

Meanwhile, Alabama scored on each of its first five possessions to quickly to put the game out of reach.

The first went 55 yards with Harris going the last 10 for the touchdown. Although the key play was a 37-yard pass over the middle from Tagovailoa to junior Jeudy on third-and-10, it was just one of two pass attempts on the drive.

Tagovailoa only needed one throw for Alabama to score again. Following Lee’s pick, in which he stepped back into a passing lane and snared a slant pass, Harris wasn’t picked up out of the backfield and made a 19-yard touchdown catch.

Mississippi State counted with an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was aided by a face-mask penalty and both senior Raekwon Davis and freshman D.J. Dale leaving the game with injuries. Davis did return only to have another setback (ankle), leaving the Crimson Tide with just six defensive linemen who had made the trip.

However, that would be it for the Bulldogs (4-6, 2-5), who had their own injury issues as well. Coach Joe Moorehead said safety C.J. Morgan is expected to miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury, while running back Kaylen Hill is day-to-day.

“I don’t necessarily say it’s a step back,” Moorehead said about the lopsided loss. “I’d say it’s a combination of things.”

Harris ran in a pair of 5-yard touchdowns and sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Waddle caught a 35-yard score before the quarterback left the field on a cart. In relief, redshirt sophomore Mac Jones was 7-for-11 for 94 yards, but both teams seemed pretty eager to run the clock in the second half.

Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) hosts Western Carolina next week before heading to Auburn to wrap up the regular season.

“I’m just hurt about our quarterback,” Harris said. “I’m not in the mood to answer questions to be honest.” 

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