COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The University of Alabama’s offensive line gave Tua Tagovailoa enough time to throw for 293 yards and four touchdowns on the road against a conference opponent. The throw that best exemplified their efforts was an incompletion.
On a first down from the Texas A&M 34-yard line, Tagovailoa had enough time for DeVonta Smith to run his deep route to Tagovailoa’s left, all 35 yards downfield. As nothing came open, Tagovailoa directed Smith to the right and gave Smith enough time to cross half of the field, diving after a ball just out of his reach.
All of it came without any real threat of a sack, pressure or hurry.
An offensive line starting a new combination for the first time — Landon Dickerson at center for the injured Chris Owens and Deonte Brown subbing in at right guard — put together an impressive performance in UA’s 47-28 win.
“I thought we had really good pass protection,” Dickerson said. “There’s a few here and there that I think we might have slipped up and we need some improvement, but overall I thought we had fairly decent pass protection today.”
The performance came against an Aggie defensive line that is the clear strength of its unit. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike was a preseason first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches; Buddy Johnson’s 5 1/2 tackles for a loss were tied for sixth in the SEC entering the day.
“We thought they were really decent, really good athletes. Had great get-off, great motors, great drive.,” Dickerson said. “Really this week, it was going to be about who was going to fight the longest. Obviously the second move is there, that’s what gets the most quarterback pressures and sacks, so really it’s going to be about you lasting longer than the other guy.”
The last time Ale Kaho blocked a punt, he was granted the honor scoring the ensuing touchdown thanks to the error of Tyrell Shavers.
Shavers dropped the punt block as it floated to the ground; the rebound went right to Kaho, running into the end zone to grab it.
Shavers was the subject of ridicule from his fellow wide receivers for that one. His redemption came on his next opportunity: he caught Kaho’s blocked punt this time, scoring UA’s final touchdown with fewer than 12 minutes left in the game.
Tua snaps streak, breaks record
Tagovailoa connected on five throws into the end zone. Four of them were touchdowns that helped him set a record; one of them was an interception that ended an impressive streak.
That interception, in the second quarter, ended Tagovailoa’s streak of 185 attempts without an interception. It was the longest active streak in the nation.
The first of the four touchdowns was the 78th in his career, breaking the UA record for career passing touchdowns previously held by AJ McCarron.
Discussing the significance of Tagovailoa now owning the record, Alabama coach Nick Saban would rather him not focus on such things.
Saban also couldn’t help but remember the significance of his seat.
“It also doesn’t mean much to what you’re going to do in the future,” Saban said. “I think he has an opportunity, based on the kind of offensive team we have, to have great production if he can just stay focused on what we want to do.
“This very seat is where rat poison was born. I remember that two years ago, and when I hear things in the media about guys being first-round Draft picks and they’re setting great records and all that type of thing, that’s not really what I like for players to be focusing on right now.”
teaitup likes this