Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remained near-perfect on third down in the early goings against Ole Miss. He’s now 13 of 13 passing for 298 yards with six passing touchdowns on third down. He also has three conversions while running to keep drives moving.
Alabama converted on 5 of 6 third down tries in the first half, and Tagovailoa kept his hot streak going. He hit sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy for a 79-yard touchdown while facing third-and-nine in the first quarter.
He scrambled 15 yards while facing third-and-four on Alabama’s next drive. That set up a 10-yard touchdown run from Najee Harris two plays later.
Tight end Irv Smith Jr. caught a 12-yard touchdown pass on third-and-seven later in the first quarter.
The only third down Tagovailoa and Alabama didn’t convert was a completion to Damien Harris that didn’t gain any ground on third-and-four early in the second quarter. Tagovailoa left the game in the second quarter, reportedly suffering cramps.
Tagovailoa entered the game 10-10 passing on third down for 207 yards with four touchdowns and four more first downs. He had also converted a pair of third downs on runs.
Junior quarterback Jalen Hurts, who entered at quarterback on the final two drives of the first half, also helped Alabama convert twice on third down. He completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jeudy on the first drive while facing third-and-seven, then scrambled for one yard on third-and-one on the next drive.
Alabama included 11 true freshmen among its group that traveled to Oxford on Saturday. Listed alphabetically, they included outside linebacker Eyabi Anoma, defensive lineman Christian Barmore, punter Skyler DeLong, center Emil Ekiyor Jr., running back Jerome Ford, defensive back Josh Jobe, inside linebacker Ale Kaho, outside linebacker Cameron Latu, inside linebacker Jaylen Moody, defensive back Patrick Surtain Jr., wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and defensive lineman Stephon Wynn Jr.
Game captains were junior safety Deionte Thompson, senior outside linebacker Christian Miller and senior center Ross Pierschbacher. … Ole Mis won the toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff. Alabama is 1-2 in coin tosses this season. … Alabama has now won 76 consecutive games against unranked opponents. … Paid attendance was announced as 62,919, the eighth-largest crowd in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium history. … Tua Tagovailoa’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy in the first quarter was a career-long pass for the quarterback and a career-long reception for his receiver. … Alabama’s 49 points in the first half were the third most in the history of the program. Alabama led Marion Military Institute 55-0 at halftime in 1922 and led Vanderbilt 52-7 at the half in 1990.