Another game. Another set of personal passing records for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa’s five touchdown passes led the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide to a 49-7 victory over Southern Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday although there was some variety in the performance from Alabama (4-0).
Najee Harris carried 14 times for 110 yards in the game, giving Alabama its first 100-yard rusher since Damien Harris had 107 yards against LSU last season. The defense, in Nick Saban’s estimation, got off to a strong start and allowed only one score, a USM drive late in the first half.
“There were a lot of reasons that the players could have not played well today,” Saban said. “With the early start, the guys came out of the box and scored the first four times we had the ball. I thought the defense played well. I was pleased with the way they came out and got after it.”
Tagovailoa finished his day, which ended early in the third quarter, completing 17 of 21 passes for 293 yards and no interceptions. His younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, played in the fourth quarter and had his first career pass completion, a 20-yarder to Slade Bolden.
The first two Tua Tagovailoa touchdown passes were both to Henry Ruggs III, who outran the defense on a slant pattern to go 45 yards for the first score. He got behind the Golden Eagle secondary on the second touchdown, a deep ball that covered 74 yards.
“I think everyone on our offense is pretty explosive but the plays that were called (in those two passes) were aligned for Henry to make big plays,” Tagovailoa said. “But you give anyone on our team the ball and they’re going to make big plays.”
Tagovailoa added a 5-yard touchdown pass to Harris and a 17-yarder to Jerry Jeudy in the second quarter, then capped his five-touchdown day with a 20-yard pass to Jeudy early in the third quarter.
Southern Miss’ lone touchdown came on a four-yard pass from Jack Abraham to De’Michael Harris with just over a minute left in the first half.
Brian Robinson Jr. and Jerome Ford added short touchdown runs to cap Alabama’s scoring in its 27th consecutive won at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Crimson Tide will be back at home on Saturday, hosting Ole Miss is a nationally-televised afternoon contest.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt