Alabama QB Tago­v­ailoa feel­ing bet­ter about an­kle

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Sports -

Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa said his sprained an­kle is feel­ing good two days be­fore the Crim­son Tide plays Clem­son for the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

“I can only say we’re con­tin­u­ing to get bet­ter,” Tago­v­ailoa said at me­dia day Sat­ur­day in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia. “Just one more game then I can rest.”

Tago­v­ailoa was hurt against Ge­or­gia in the SEC ti­tle game.

Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Lock­sley said Tago­v­ailoa, who also dealt with a knee in­jury this sea­son, was as healthy as he has been in months.

Backup quar­ter­back Jalen Hurts, mean­while, is ready to do what­ever he can to help de­feat Clem­son. He’s not ready, how­ever, to talk about his fu­ture at Alabama.

Hurts is a ju­nior who started his first two sea­sons, but was the backup this sea­son.

Asked whether he’ll be back for his se­nior sea­son, trans­fer or try for the NFL, Hurts quickly turned away and walked off.

Bama LB ail­ing: Alabama line­backer Chris­tian Miller is ques­tion­able for Mon­day night’s game be­cause of a pulled ham­string. Coach Nick Sa­ban said Miller has not been able to do much work in prac­tice.

Nice sur­prise: Be­fore head­ing to the cham­pi­onship game, Clem­son coach Dabo Swin­ney had good news for three of his lesser­known play­ers.

Swin­ney awarded schol­ar­ships to walk-ons Carter Groomes, Re­gan Up­shaw and Austin Jack­son, car­ry­ing on the Tigers’ tra­di­tion of re­ward­ing those who put in the time and ef­fort to help the team dur­ing the week, with­out the hope of get­ting a whole lot of ac­tual play­ing time. Jug­gling act: Alabama of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Lock­sley is not sleep­ing much. He is the lat­est Tide as­sis­tant to coach in the play­off af­ter ac­cept­ing at an­other school.

Lock­sley was hired by Mary­land last month. He is re­cruit­ing for the Terps and try­ing to hire staff, but does that at 10 p.m. when he’s done for the day with Alabama.

Out in Cal­i­for­nia, he’s been get­ting up at 3:30 a.m. to jug­gle both jobs.

“I owe it to these play­ers and this team.” Lock­sley said.

An­other champ crowned: North Dakota State (15-0) won its record sev­enth FCS cham­pi­onship, as Eas­ton Stick ran for three touch­downs and threw two quick scor­ing passes to Dar­rius Shep­herd in a wild start to the sec­ond half of a 38-24 vic­tory over Eastern Wash­ing­ton (12-3) in Frisco, Texas.

North Dakota State has won all seven ti­tles over the past eight sea­sons. Stick, who suc­ceeded Car­son Wentz, ran for 121 yards in his 49th vic­tory to be­come the win­ningest FCS quar­ter­back.

It was also the last game for the Bi­son’s Chris Klie­man, who now be­comes Kansas State’s coach. He went 69-6 with a record-match­ing four FCS ti­tles in five sea­sons.

No­table

Wash­ing­ton State: Run­ning back James Williams is for­go­ing his se­nior sea­son to en­ter the NFL draft. Williams and the Cougars closed out their sea­son on Dec. 28 with a 28-26 win over Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.

Cal­i­for­nia: De­fen­sive back Bryce Turner has died af­ter be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized for a med­i­cal emer­gency dur­ing a non-team work­out. He was 19. Cal­i­for­nia an­nounced Turner’s death Sat­ur­day. No cause of death was given.

Turner was hos­pi­tal­ized fol­low­ing a work­out this week near his South­ern Cal­i­for­nia home. The school called it a “med­i­cal emer­gency” and has pro­vided no other de­tails. Iowa: Ju­nior de­fen­sive back Amani Hooker said he will en­ter the NFL draft. He was a first-team All-Big Ten pick and the league’s de­fen­sive back of the year. Texas Tech: Paul Ran­dolph has been hired as de­fen­sive line coach af­ter the past three sea­sons at Mem­phis. Ran­dolph be­came the eighth mem­ber on the coach­ing staff of new coach Matt Wells.

JEF­FREY MCWHORTER AP

North Dakota State de­fen­sive end Der­rek Tuszka waves his arms like an ea­gle, Eastern Wash­ing­ton's mas­cot, af­ter sack­ing quar­ter­back Eric Bar­riere late in the ti­tle game.

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