Alabama fans call Tua Tagovailoa their “Sweet Hawaiian Prince.”
The Southeastern Conference crowned him Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, the league announced.
The Crimson Tide’s sophomore quarterback completed 19 of his 29 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns last weekend as Alabama defeated Tennessee 58-21 on the road. His touchdowns passes went for 9, 11, 41 and 77 yards. Each was to different receiver.
“I am very confident,” Tagovailoa said after the game. “But it makes it more fun when you don’t just have one person to throw to, but you have running backs that you can make plays with too. It is just fun out there.”
That includes his tight ends.
Along with wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle, tight end Irv Smith Jr. caught a touchdown pass from Tagovailoa.
The Ewa Beach, Hawaii, native also had a rush for 6 yards. He was never sacked.
This season, Tagovailoa has started all eight of the Crimson Tide’s game. He’s at 2,066 passing yards. He has thrown 25 touchdowns, good for third-most in the country and tied him for fourth on the Alabama single-season list. He’s completing 70.4 percent of his passes and averaging 19.31 yards per completion, which leads the nation.
Of the 62 drives Tagovailoa has directed, 41 have finished with a touchdown and five ended with a field goal. He has had at least three touchdown passes in the first half alone in the Crimson Tide’s last four SEC games.
Tagovailoa has been dealing with a knee injury for two weeks now. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa is “getting better and better” and “was a lot better this week (before Tennessee) compared to last week in terms of practice.”
Speaking of practice, Tagovailoa’s work on the field during games – as standout and record-breaking as it might be – isn’t what has propelled him into a leadership role among his teammates.
“It’s more so what we do in practice,” Tagovailoa said. “That is how you get respect from our guys. I don’t do as much talking with them, but just going out there and executing with them. And understanding this is what I have and this is what I have to do, we all work together good and we will benefit from it.”
Players of the week
UA’s coaching staff selected six players of the week after the Crimson Tide returned from Tennessee. Each area of play had two apiece.
Tagovailoa and offensive lineman Jonah Williams were offensive players of the week. Williams graded out at a team-high and career-high 94 percent. He had six knockdown blocks to lead the team and help Alabama average 5.2 yards per carry. He was on the field for 66 plays and, according to UA, was perfect on all assignments. He did not allow a sack or a quarterback hurry.
Defensive back Xavier McKinney and lineman Quinnen Williams were chosen on the other side of the ball. McKinney made five total tackles with 1.5 for a loss of 23 yards. His first-quarter sack for a loss of 22 yards resulted in a fumble. Meanwhile, Williams had four total tackles with one for a loss. He was credited with a quarterback hurry in the game, but the coaching staff had him at four pressures overall.
Mike Bernier and Ruggs received the honors on special teams. Making his first career start, Bernier punted twice. Both went for 41 yards. Neither was returned. Ruggs made a tackle on kickoff coverage and helped out on returns.
LSU kickoff set
The Alabama-LSU game on Nov. 3 has been scheduled for 7 p.m. and will air on CBS. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl are set to call the matchup from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s the eighth straight year the meeting between SEC West foes will be a night game.
Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers are currently on their bye week. Alabama enters next weekend’s game undefeated (8-0), while the Tigers are 7-1.
Reach Terrin Waack at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.