Tagovailoa, No. 1 Alabama race away from Auburn
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tua Tagovailoa came out of halftime firing touchdown strikes down the field, and the result was another runaway Alabama victory.Tagovailoa threw five touchdown passes, ran for a score and could scarcely miss in the second half to lead the topranked Crimson Tide to a 52-21 victory over rival Auburn on Saturday.
“We executed on all cylinders on offense coming into that opening drive in the second half, so it's really good,” he said.
Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) took over with an explosive third quarter when the Heisman Trophy contender threw three long touchdown passes. He's the first Alabama player to have a hand in six TDs in a game and matched the school record with the five scoring passes. Now 'Bama heads to the SEC championship game against No. 5 Georgia with a guaranteed playoff spot on the line.
With Alabama leading Auburn (7-5, 3-5) just 17-14 at halftime, Tagovailoa launched the Tide into another SEC blowout. He was 11-of-12 passing for 208 yards and four touchdowns in the second half, despite only finishing off one series in the fourth quarter.
Tagovailoa finished 25 of 32 for 324 yards and ran for 26 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown and a 21-yard third-down conversion on runs.
“I thought Tua was into it,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “His leadership was really important for our offense. Don't ask me why but it doesn't seem like we had the right kind of energy in the first half.”
The second-half numbers included touchdowns of 46 yards to Jerry Jeudy, 33 to Josh Jacobs, 40 to DeVonta Smith and 22 to Henry Ruggs III on an acrobatic, leaping grab.
The game was close until Tagovailoa threw a pair of long TD passes in a threeminute span of the third quarter. The first hit Jeudy down the left sideline and the second went to Jacobs, who shook off a few defenders on his way to the TD.
Georgia romps: Jake Fromm threw a career-best four touchdown passes, D'Andre Swift ran for 105 yards and No. 5 Georgia romped into the SEC championship game with a 45-21 rout of the ACC's Georgia Tech on Saturday. The host Bulldogs (11-1, No. 5 CFP) couldn't afford a slip-up, not with a rematch against the top-ranked Crimson Tide next week in Atlanta.
“I was hoping we'd have another chance to play them,” said linebacker D'Andre Walker, quickly turning his attention to the team that defeated Georgia in last season's national championship game. “I knew we had a good team to get back to this point and play them again. Now we've got to prepare like no other and take on the challenge.”
The rivalry game known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” was over by halftime. Georgia went to the locker room with a 38-7 lead — which, in an interesting twist, was the score of last year's dominating victory over the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs held a 343-66 edge in total yards, piling up 18 first downs to just four by Georgia Tech (7-5).
Vandy rolls: Kyle Shurmur completed his first 15 passes and finished with 367 yards and three touchdowns as host Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5 SEC) routed in-state rival Tennessee 38-13 to become bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons. The Vols finished 5-7, 2-6.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) jogs off the field after Tagovailoa threw five touchdown passes, ran for a score and could scarcely miss in the second half to lead the top-ranked Crimson Tide to a 52-21 victory over rival Auburn on Saturday.