Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts Shine in Alabama's Blowout Win over Ole Miss

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2018

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 01: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pats the helmet of teammate Jalen Hurts #2 prior to a game against the Louisville Cardinals at Camping World Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Alabama won 51-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts saw action under center and performed well in the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide's 62-7 rout of the Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi, on Saturday night.

Tagovailoa started and did nothing to hurt his status as Alabama's No. 1 quarterback and a Heisman Trophy candidate.

The sophomore signal-caller went 11-of-15 for 191 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed five times for 47 yards in less than one half of play.

Tagovailoa gave way to Hurts with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, and the junior played until Mac Jones came in for the fourth.

Hurts completed seven of his 10 pass attempts for 85 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. He also rushed four times for 20 yards.

After Ole Miss scored a touchdown on the game's first offensive play, Tagovailoa and the Tide took control.

Just over five minutes into the opening quarter, Tagovailoa threw a perfect deep ball to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who took it the distance for 79 yards:

That helped put the Crimson Tide up 14-7, and they never relinquished the lead.

Two drives later, Tagovailoa threw another touchdown when he connected with tight end Irv Smith Jr. from 12 yards out.

Connor O'Gara of Saturday Down South provided a look at Tagovailoa's ridiculous first-quarter stats for the season:

Both of Tagovailoa's touchdowns came on third down.

Per Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel, Tagovailoa has yet to throw an incompletion on third down this year:

After Tagovailoa led another touchdown drive to make it 35-7 in the second quarter, head coach Nick Saban pulled him from the game.

That prevented Tagovailoa from putting up huge numbers, but it didn't make his performance any less impressive.

Rodger Sherman of The Ringer believes he is the clear front-runner for the Heisman Trophy:

College Football Hall of Fame head coach Lou Holtz agreed and tweeted that Tagovailoa's Heisman win is a foregone conclusion:

In three games, Tagovailoa has thrown for 646 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.

There was little pressure on Hurts when he entered with a huge lead, but he extended it with solid play.

The veteran signal-caller with a 26-2 career record as a starter threw a perfectly placed ball to Jeudy on his first drive for a 22-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 42-7.

On the next drive, Hurts threw a short pass to receiver Henry Ruggs III that the receiver took 13 yards for another score.

Hurts met little resistance, which Jeffrey Wright of 92.9 ESPN felt was an indictment of the Ole Miss defense:

The only blemish on Hurts' stat line was an interception he threw with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter. Bama was on the move in Ole Miss territory when safety C.J. Moore picked him off.

Marq Burnett of SEC Country questioned whether Hurts was aware Moore was lurking when he released the pass:

While the play was inconsequential, it was a reminder why Tagovailoa has become the unquestioned starter.

The biggest Hurts-related news from Saturday is the fact that he has appeared in three contests this season. That means he can only appear in one more game before the possibility of a redshirt season disappears.

Redshirting would give Hurts a chance to play two more seasons elsewhere if he transfers after this year, but Alabama could need him should an injury strike Tagovailoa.

The Crimson Tide are fortunate to have two quality quarterbacks, and there is no question after Saturday's blowout that they are well-equipped to repeat as national champions.


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