“Dixieland Delight” made an appearance in the fourth quarter.
Tua Tagovailoa did not, although perhaps not for the same reason that he has missed all of Alabama’s other fourth quarters in the 2018 season.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide coasted to a 39-10 win against Missouri at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night, moving to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play. But it was Tagovailoa’s slow departure from the field and a short visit to the medical tent that seemed to drag endlessly for Crimson Tide fans.
The play was a scramble, not a designed rush, and Tagovailoa slid after gaining nine yards, avoiding any oncoming Tiger defender. But the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback was playing with a knee sprain, got up slowly to jog off the field and did not return to the game. Alabama was leading 30-10 in the third quarter and Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones finished up.
“Tua could have (gone) back in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “He wanted to go back in the game. I didn’t think we needed to put him back in. We don’t think there are any issues or problems with (his knee).”
Before the injury, Tagovailoa had another strong game although he did not amass his usual eye-popping statistics. The sophomore completed 12 of 22 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
The first touchdown connection came on the second play of the game with Tagovailoa hitting Jerry Jeudy for an 81-yard score. But on two other first quarter drives, Alabama bogged down in the red zone and settled for short Joseph Bulovas field goals.
That allowed Missouri (3-3, 0-3 SEC) to stick around for at least one quarter. When Tiger quarterback Drew Lock hit a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Knox with two seconds remaining in the quarter, Missouri was within 13-10.
Things did not go well for the visitors after that. Alabama’s defense shut out Mizzou for the final three quarters (and recorded a safety). The offense added three more touchdowns, two on Tagovailoa passes and a third on a 2-yard run by senior running back Damien Harris.
“I was pleased with how we responded to the challenge,” Saban said.
Alabama ultimately outgained Missouri 564 yards to 212.
The victory was Alabama’s 46th in its last 48 games, the best 48-game stretch in school history.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.