Tua Tagovailoa tough on himself after solid showing

Cary L. Clark

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had another solid performance in Alabama’s 62-10 home win over New Mexico State. The Heisman candidate went 16-24 passing for 227 yards, three touchdowns, no picks and no sacks. He exited midway thought the third quarter and Mac Jones finished up while going 5-9 for 58 yards and one score.

The starting quarterback led sustained touchdown drives of, 89, 50, 84 and 55 yards. That’s a change from last year’s quick-scoring attack under then-coordinator Mike Locksley.

“When you can sustain a drive, I think that’s pretty good as an offense,”  Tagovailoa said. “We didn’t have too much of that last year, so it’s good that we have some of those (long drives) this year so when we get into tougher games, we know what it’s like to go down and take our time driving the ball.”

Asked how many offensive players could say they played better than they did a week ago, Tagovailoa said, “I’m not too sure. I think everyone did their job pretty well today.

“On my part, I feel like I didn’t improve. There were things that were open and I just didn’t take advantage of it. You’ve got to take what they give you.”

Tua said that about an offense that rolled up 603 yards on 65 snaps.

“Some things they were running, we didn’t run in practice that I didn’t get looks at,” he added. “We came to the sideline, we fixed it and I still didn’t adjust. I think the quarterback play, just speaking for myself, needs to get better.”

On a play that was called a rush after Tua’s flip to Henry Ruggs resulted in a 75-yard rush, Tagovailoa was asked if he was disappointed to lose what was initially ruled a 73- yard touchdown pass.

He said no: ”At least we scored. I wasn’t expecting to score on the first play on a little bubble pass. It just shows what kind of guys we’ve got with (receivers) Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. You can throw something as short as that and they’ll make it into a big play.”

Counting Ruggs’ 75-yard lateral touchdown, the Tide rushed for 318 yards on 32 carries after struggling last week on the ground against Duke. Tua noticed.

“I was pleased with the run game,” he said. “Like I said, I think on my part the passing game needs to get better.

“I think our offensive coordinator (Steve Sarkisian) did a great job putting us in good situations, there’s just me executing it with the guys.”

Tua Tagovailoa against New Mexico State
Tua Tagovailoa helped lead Alabama to a 62-10 victoryT.G. Paschal/BamaCentral

Next up is a much bigger challenge than the 2-0 Tide has faced in its first two games: a road trip to Columbia, SC. Does Tua think the Tide is ready to face a tough road crowd in SEC play?

“This is going to be the first road game for us, so I mean you really can’t tell,” he said. “We’ve got to just take it one day at a time. We’re going to enjoy this win, and then when it comes time to preparing for South Carolina then we’ll prepare the best we can.”