New Mexico State heads home impressed with Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was a normal day at the office for Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his talented cast of receivers against the New Mexico State Aggies.
The Hawaiian left hander completed over 65 percent of his passes, threw for 227 yards, and two touchdowns in less than three full quarters of action.
"Tua is so accurate throwing the ball," Aggies head coach Doug Martin said. "His knowledge of the game makes him so special. He is good at checking plays at the line of scrimmage and checking protections. He looks like he understands the game really well."
Tagovailoa had the Aggies defense on their back heels all afternoon taking whatever they gave him. With 3:49 remaining in the first half, he even showed his ability on his feet to evade defenders when the pocket was collapsing and scamper his way into the end-zone for a touchdown from 25 yards out.
"His playmaking ability is great," Aggies defensive back Shamad Lomax said. "He can extend plays and see the field very well. He has a lot of weapons around him that make it easier for him. He is by far the best quarterback we will face all year."
Reigning Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, Jerry Jeudy, led the receiving corp with eight catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
"I can see why he is a projected top five pick in the NFL draft," Lomax said. "Today he showed how he can get separation and get open and make plays."
While Jeudy filled up the stat sheet, it was his teammate, Henry Ruggs III, that impressed Lomax the most.
"I knew Ruggs was fast, but I did not know he was that fast," Lomax said. "His speed is something that I have never seen before and I do not think that our team will see anything else like it all season."
Ruggs' speed was on full display when he ran 75 yards to the end-zone on the opening play of the game. In addition, he added four catches for 66 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Fellow wideouts, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle got in on the action as well, with five catches for 47 yards and two catches for 52 yards, respectively.
"Alabama has electric players all over the field," Martin said. "Your margin of error is so small. If you give them a step, you know, a wide receiver can get behind you and a running back can break a tackle. They are just a very elite team."