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Alabama notebook: Trump shows, Tide loses for first time in front of sitting president

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Fans take pictures of President Donald Trump at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. LSU defeated Alabama 46-41.

TUSCALOOSA — President Donald Trump attended Alabama's 46-41 loss to LSU as scheduled.

He sat in the luxury box that belongs to Montgomery real-estate developer Jim Wilson, which put Trump and wife Melania on about the 35-yard line.

Could Trump be bad luck for the Crimson Tide? Trump has seen two Alabama games, including Saturday's loss, which was the Tide's first of the year. He also attended Alabama's 26-23 win over Georgia in the national championship game two years ago, but the Tide was trailing 13-0 when he left at halftime.

According to informal research and help from longtime Bama Magazine publisher Kirk McNair, this marked the third time Alabama's football team has played in front of a sitting president.

The others:

—Jan. 1, 1963, Orange Bowl in Miami, President Kennedy sat in the stands and watched Alabama beat Oklahoma 17-0.

—Jan. 8, 2018, national title game in Atlanta, President Trump watched the first half as Alabama beat Georgia 26-23.

Other brushes with the executive office:

—Nov. 16, 1968, Miami, President-elect Richard Nixon sat in the stands and watched Alabama beat Miami 14-6.

—Sept. 19, 1992, Little Rock, Ark., Bill Clinton, campaigning for president, watched Alabama beat Arkansas 38-11.

—Former President Gerald Ford came to an Alabama practice in Tuscaloosa in 1978, and Ronald Reagan watched Alabama practice in Tuscaloosa before ever running for president. He was in town for a charity event, showed up at practice in a tuxedo, and threw a ball around with some of the Alabama players.

Tua's health

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played Saturday nearly three weeks after having tightrope surgery on his right foot to help heal a high ankle sprain.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tagovailoa wasn't completely healthy.

“I think he was 100 percent. I think obviously missing some time and missing some practice," Saban said. "I think that he played well. He made good plays in the game. I thought his mobility was probably not 100 percent, but I thought he had quickness in the pocket and he couldn't run 100 percent, maybe 90 percent.

"I don't really know. This was a medical decision and his decision. The docs cleared him to play, and they cleared him to practice all week. He practiced all week He didn't have any issues. He said he could play in the game, and he wanted to play in the game and he thought he could go out there and do his job."

Saban called Tagovailoa a "warrior."

"I think probably missing the practice that he missed over the last couple weeks, he may not have been quite as sharp as normal, but I thought he did a good job in the game and I'm proud of the way he competed in the game,” Saban said.

Burrow's day

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State, threw for 393 yards and ran for 64 in the Tigers' win.

His teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders, which made Burrow say, "This is weird."

“That was pretty special, having these guys embrace me the way they have," Burrow said. "Some quarterback from Ohio that came in last June before the season, and the way they have embraced me, I can't say, I mean it means a lot to me that this entire program has embraced me and the whole state as well.”

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.