Tago­v­ailoa probes No. 1 Alabama

Quar­ter­back tal­lies 387 yards pass­ing, four TDs as Crim­son Tide roll over Ag­gies in SEC blowout.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - SPORT SUNDAY - By John Zenor

TUSCALOOSA, ALA. — Tua Tago­v­ailoa passed for 387 yards and four touch­downs and ran for an­other score to lead No. 1 Alabama to a 45-23 rout of No. 22 Texas A&M on Satur­day.

The Crim­son Tide (4-0, 2-0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) eas­ily passed the first test against a ranked team. Kellen Mond and the Ag­gies (2-2, 0-1) couldn’t put up nearly the fight they had in a 28-26 loss to No. 3 Clem­son.

Tago­v­ailoa com­pleted 22 of 30 passes be­fore leav­ing af­ter Henry Ruggs III took a shut­tle pass 57 yards for a score late in the third. His first at­tempt went for a 30-yard touch­down to a div­ing DeVonta Smith, and he hit tight end Hale Hent­ges for two more scores.

Damien Har­ris didn’t get many touches but had a 35-yard run and a 52-yard catch.

“We were for­tu­nate that we made a lot of big plays on of­fense,” Tide coach Nick Sa­ban said. “We re­ally threw the ball ef­fec­tively and scored a lot of points, but we re­ally didn’t con­trol the game. We didn’t con­trol the line of scrimmage. We strug­gled to run the ball of­fen­sively.”

Mond com­pleted 16 of 33 passes for 196 yards with a touch­down but was in­ter­cepted twice, in­clud­ing on his first throw. He col­lected 98 yards rush­ing de­spite get­ting sacked seven times.

The SEC’s top rusher, Trayveon Wil­liams, found lit­tle room to run. He gained 31 yards on eight car­ries.

Texas A&M seemed poised for a while to give the Tide its first test of the sea­son. But Tago­v­ailoa & Co. kept an­swer­ing and scored 10 points in the fi­nal 1:09 be­fore half­time for a 31-13 lead.

Tago­v­ailoa set up a touch­down with a 52-yard pass down the right side­line to Har­ris. Then fresh­man cor­ner­back Pa­trick Sur­tain Jr. in­ter­cepted Mond’s deep ball and the Tide drove for a field goal.

THE TAKE­AWAY

Texas A&M: The Ag­gies had flirted with an up­set of No. 3 Clem­son, when Mond passed for most of his 430 yards in the sec­ond half. The Ag­gies couldn’t muster any kind of threat af­ter trail­ing just 21-13 in the sec- ond quar­ter.

Alabama: Once again, the Tide all but put a game away be­fore half­time with the big- play ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Tago­v­ailoa. Bama had a pair of scor­ing drives un­der a minute be­fore the half, mak­ing it 10 al­ready this sea­son. The Tide has outscored oppo- nents 148-20 in the first half.

SA­BAN VS. AS­SIS­TANTS

Alabama coach Nick Sa­ban im­proved to 13-0 against his for­mer as­sis­tants. Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is 0-2, in­clud­ing last sea­son’s opener at Florida State. He was LSU’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor un­der Sa­ban from 2000-04.

POLL IM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Texas A&M might drop out of the Top 25. Alabama fur­ther ce­mented its No. 1 rank­ing.

UP NEXT

A&M faces Arkansas in Ar­ling­ton, Texas.

Alabama gets a break from league games when Louisiana-Lafayette vis­its.

WES­LEY HITT / GETTY IMAGES

Texas A&M quar­ter­back Kellen Mond is sacked in the first quar­ter by Isa­iah Buggs as No. 1 Alabama dom­i­nated the Ag­gies is Satur­day’s matchup be­tween the two SEC teams at Bryant-Denny Sta­dium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

WES­LEY HITT / GETTY IMAGES

Jerry Judy jumps over a Texas A&M de­fender dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter Satur­day as the Crim­son Tide de­feated the Ag­gies be­hind a stel­lar per­for­mance by Bama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa, who passed for 387 yards and four touch­downs.

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