Nick Saban asked about Jalen Hurts before Tua Tagovaolia on Monday

Christopher Walsh

Here’s Nick Saban’s response: “I think that Jalen set a great example when he was here, when he was a player. He was a good leader. He was a good performer. And I also think when things didn’t go his way he showed a lot of character as a person to continue to try to improve himself and do everything he could to help his team. And in this day and age you don’t often see that. But I think it was a really, really great example on his part and because he did it that way when he got an opportunity he was able to do extremely well, and actually won the SEC Championship Game for us. Now because he’s got that kind of character and attitude — I didn’t see the game last night, we worked on Sunday nights. But I hear he played extremely well and an outstanding job, and that doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. And we’re really happy for him, not only in the way he handled himself throughout this entire process, but now that he’s having success as well.”

Hurts completed 20 of 23 passes for 332 yards, ran for 176 yards on 16 carries and helped the Sooners gain 686 total yards against Houston. The quarterback passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more, and his 508 total yards were the fifth-most in school history.

Tagovailoa in three quarters against Duke:

Accounted for 351 yards of total offense with 336 passing and 15 on the ground.

He finished 26-of-31 for 336 yards and four scores, averaging 12.9 yards per completion.

Tagovailoa completed a pass to nine different receivers, including five wideouts, two tight ends and two running backs.

Saban finally was asked about him:

“He did a good job in the game. There were a couple of things he could have done a little differently from a decision-making standpoint. And we’ll correct those things and hopefully we’ll continue to improve on that. We were pleased with his performance, and I think he would be the first one to say that we left some money on the table at times if we’d made a little different choices and decisions or whatever. But I thought he played really, really well overall. He’d be the first one to say I have some things I want to improve on and we want to help him do that.”