Alabama vs. Missouri

Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings (33) dives on a Missouri fumble in first half action at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday October 13, 2018.

TUSCALOOSA — Tua Tagovailoa still accounted for three first-half touchdowns Saturday, but couldn’t do much more after re-injuring his sprained right knee early in the third quarter.

Of course, by that point, No. 1 Alabama already had its seventh win well in hand, holding on for a 39-10 victory over Missouri in its annual homecoming game.

Tagovailoa, who finished 12-of-22 passing for 265 yards and three first-half scores, struggled to get off the field after an awkward slide at the end of a 9-yard scramble on Alabama’s first offensive series of the second half, and had to be helped off the field with 11:54 remaining in the third.

“Tua could have went back in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “He wanted to go back in the game. … We don’t think there are any issues or problems.”

Tagovailoa immediately went to the team medical tent, where he stayed for roughly 7½ minutes of game time and was even joined by his parents, Galu and Diane Tagovailoa.

ESPN sideline reporter Todd McShay reported Alabama personnel described Tagovailoa’s status as “questionable” though made it clear that was more to do with the 20-point score differential than his injury.

With his three first-half touchdown passes, Tagovailoa became just the second SEC quarterback in the last 15 years to throw for three scores in the first half of three straight conference games, joining Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.

Despite the injury, Tagovailoa continued to make his own Heisman case with his play on the field, connecting with sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy on an 81-yard touchdown on Alabama’s second play from scrimmage to take an early 7-0 lead on Mizzou just 23 seconds into the game.

Jeudy finished with three catches for 147 yards, including a 44-yard completion late in the third quarter.

That completion, thrown by junior backup quarterback Jalen Hurts, didn’t result in any offensive points but led to a defensive safety after Missouri quarterback Drew Lock was sacked by Quinnen Williams in the end zone after Tide tailback Damien Harris was stuffed at the goal line on fourth-and-1 for a turnover on downs.

Hurts completed 7 of 8 passes for 115 yards.

“I think we have every confidence that Jalen — 7-for-8. (He) has really improved as a pocket passer,” Saban said.