ORLANDO — After months of talk about Alabama’s quarterback competition, Tua Tagovailoa put the debate to rest in the first half of top-ranked Alabama’s 51-14 win Saturday night over Louisville.
Tua’s the man.
The sophomore from Hawaii followed up a great clutch performance in Alabama’s comeback overtime win in the College Football Playoff title game with three total touchdowns in leading the Crimson Tide to a 28-0 lead at Camping World Stadium.
Tagovailoa went 11-of-15 for 195 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the first half. He also ran for a nine-yard score as Alabama (1-0) racked up 341 yards of total offense in the first half.
For the game, Tagovailoa completed 12 of 16 for 227 yards with a quarterback rating of 235.4 and rushed for 26 yards on five carries.
Jalen Hurts is 26-2 as a starter, led Alabama to consecutive national championship games as a true freshman and sophomore, but that doesn’t matter when the other guy plays the position better. Tagovailoa showed once again he can make throws Hurts struggles to make, extend plays and is an effective runner.
Not the breakaway runner Hurts is, but Tagovailoa is shiftier and can make people miss in the open field, too.
Now he’s going to continue make some ill-advised throws like his first touchdown to Jerry Jeudy in which he seemed to just throw the ball in the direction of the receiver after spinning out of trouble.
Tagovailoa doesn't give up on the play and it may cost him against tougher competition he'll face in SEC play. However, Nick Saban can live with Tagovailoa's risky plays if the remaining results are as good as they were Saturday night.
Both Tagovailao and Hurts will probably play in Alabama’s home opener next week against Arkansas State. The Tide should stomp the Red Wolves in the home opener, but going into Week 3’s SEC opener at Ole Miss, Saban should make it official and say Tagovailoa is the team’s starting quarterback.
Yep. Tua’s the man.