Alabama Mississippi St Football

Alabama running back Najee Harris (22) attempts to avoid a tackle by a Mississippi State player as he goes for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Alabama could not have asked for a better start from junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He started the contest against the Bulldogs 9-of-9 for 193 yards and two touchdowns while Alabama cruised to a 38-7 victory. However, what happened in the closing minutes of the first half drew silence from the visiting Crimson Tide fans and Bulldog faithful.

Alabama started the game with a five-play, 55-yard drive that ended when junior Najee Harris found the endzone from 10-yards out. A successful PAT gave the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead with 13:08 left in the first quarter.

On the Bulldogs opening possession, senior Tommy Stevens’ first pass attempt was picked off by freshman Shane Lee. One play later, Tagovailoa found Harris for a 19-yard touchdown reception to give the Crimson Tide their second score of the day with 19 seconds of one another.

The Bulldogs responded with a scoring drive of their own to pull within one score as junior Kylin Hill hopped into the endzone from one-yard out. The Bulldog drive lasted over four minutes on eight plays.

Harris found his third touchdown of the day in the first quarter when he finished off a 10-play, 70-yard drive with a five-yard rushing score that featured a 40-yard completion from Tagovailoa to junior Jerry Jeudy. The pass was called back due to a late hit, however, Tagovailoa found Harris for a 23-yard pass that set up the touchdown.

Tagovailoa’s second touchdown pass of the day came on a 35-yard reception to sophomore Jaylen Waddle to put the Crimson Tide up 28-7 in the second quarter.

Harris wrapped up his four-touchdown performance with a five-yard touchdown run with under six minutes to go in the second quarter.

The biggest story of the day came when Tagovailoa, scrambling to his left due to pressure, threw the ball away but was landed on by Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis. The two collided, but only one immediately got to his feet. 

After several minutes, a cart was brought out for Tagovailoa - the suspected future first-round pick - who went down with an apparent hip injury and bloodied nose. Tagovailoa would not return in the contest and Mac Jones subbed in.

Alabama’s only score of the second half came on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore Joseph Bulovas in the third quarter to give Alabama a 38-7 lead that led ultimately to the final score.

What’s Next

Mississippi State falls to 4-6 on the season - 2-5 in SEC play - and will face Abilene Christian next Saturday for homecoming. Alabama moves to 9-1 on the season - 6-1 in SEC play - and faces Western Carolina next Saturday.

Notes

Several players went down with injuries. Kylin Hill and C.J. Morgan both left the game in the second half for Mississippi State. Henry Ruggs III and Raekwon Davis also went down with injuries for the Crimson Tide.

Seminary native Nathan Pickering also recorded his second sack of the season for Mississippi State.

West Jones alumni Byron Young had four tackles on the day and Meridian native Raekwon Davis had one tackle.

Stats

Mississippi State

Tommy Stevens - 12-21, 82 yards, 1 interception, 10 rush attempts, 91 yards

Kylin Hill - 16 attempts, 56 yards, 1 rush touchdown, 3 receptions, 21 yards

Nick Gibson - 9 attempts, 56 yards

Stephen Guidry - 3 receptions, 18 yards

Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa - 14-18, 256 yards, 2 touchdowns

Mac Jones - 7-11, 94 yards

Najee Harris - 17 attempts, 88 yards, 3 rush touchdowns, 1 receiving touchdown

Jerry Jeudy - 7 receptions, 114 yards

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