OXFORD, Miss. — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa put his arms up to signal touchdown before his teammate even crossed into the end zone.
Tagovailoa had just handed the ball off to Najee Harris and was watching the running back do what he does best when Harris broke right around the line. Tagovailoa called what was just five yards away from happening. Touchdown.
Harris scored on a 10-yard run.
That marked the Crimson Tide’s third touchdown in its 62-7 win over the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday night in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“Regardless of the score, one of the things that I thought we did well was we came out after halftime and started the second half well,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “I was concerned about the first game on the road. This is a tough place to play.”
Didn’t look like it. The game was decided within two quarters.
Running back Damien Harris initiated Alabama’s first-half end-zone party that saw seven visits overall. He ran 43 yards to score during UA’s first drive. The next series ended with a fumble by wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, but the one after that closed out with a 79-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
The points just kept on coming. From different players, too.
“It’s tough,” tight end Irv Smith Jr. said. “Each of us will win our one-on-one matchups I feel, so if they want to play man to man it’s going to be tough on them.”
Smith had a 12-yard scoring catch from Tagovailoa. Running back Josh Jacobs had a 4-yard rushing score. Jeudy caught another touchdown pass from Tagovailoa, and this time it was a 22-yarder. Ruggs redeemed himself with a 13-yard reception-turned-touchdown from quarterback Jalen Hurts.
This was all in the first half alone. Alabama went into halftime with a 49-7 advantage that resulted from 170 rushing yards and 248 passing yards. UA is now 120-7 under Saban when leading at the half.
“They couldn’t stop our offense really,” Jeudy said. “We did a good job of executing our plays. Coach (Mike) Locksley did a good job calling the right plays. The O-line did a good job block. And the wide receivers did a good job executing.”
The Crimson Tide calmed down during the final two quarters but still added 58 yards on the ground and 40 through the air. There were two field goals and a non-offensive touchdown.
Tagovailoa, who didn’t play at all during the second half, completed 11 of his 15 passes for 191 yards and led six of the scoring drives.
“He had a very good game really,” Jeudy said. “He did everything right.”
Hurts was 7-of-10 for 85 yards. Mac Jones contributed 30 yards.
Alabama became the first SEC team to ever score 50 points in three-straight games to start a seaosn.
“We have good skill players and good quarterbacks who have been able to make plays,” Saban said. “I’m pleased with what we’re doing.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.