Tua Tagovailoa’s record-setting day sends Alabama flying past South Carolina

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

Tua Tagovailoa is good at football.

The Alabama quarterback reminded the college football world of that fact on Saturday, snapping plenty of records in the process.

Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and tied his personal best with five touchdowns to lead No. 2 Alabama past South Carolina 47-23 at Williams-Brice Stadium — marking a dominant start to SEC play for the Crimson Tide.

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The 21-year-old became the first Alabama quarterback to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in a single game with the win, and his five touchdowns tied a school record. He went 28-of-36 to pick up the 444 yards, too, which marked the second-best performance by an Alabama quarterback since 1969.

Tagovailoa’s showing on Saturday was also his eighth game with four or more passing touchdowns, also an Alabama record.

“I think as a quarterback you have to expect to throw the ball a lot, whether you want to or not,” Tagovailoa said. “I think the game plan coming into this game was for us to be aggressive, within the perimeter, so bubble throws, because of how much they stack the box. We took our chances, took our shots, and I’m pretty good with it.”

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only one who shined in South Carolina. Running back Najee Harris was right there with him.

Harris finished the day with 123 total yards and two touchdowns — both of which came through the air in the first half. His second trip to the end zone, off a 43-yard reception, was extremely impressive, too. Harris caught a pass over the middle near midfield on a fourth-and-3 in the second quarter before shaking off one defender and jumping over a second en route to the end zone.

While Alabama’s offense was extremely pass-heavy on Saturday, Alabama coach Nick Saban knows they can’t rely on that throughout the season. Against the Gamecocks, though, that’s just how it worked out.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Saban said. “If we’re making it work and we’re moving the ball and we’re making plays, why change? Again, I’m going to tell you that probably half of the passes today were run-pass options, RPOs … Those were all reads to throw. That’s the deal. I’m not apologizing for that, because we continue to make plays.

“But I don’t think that you can totally depend on that. I think last year, we got to where we were so good at doing that, we didn’t do other things well. We played really good teams at the end, and we couldn’t do enough other things to be effective.”

Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and five touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s win against South Carolina. (AP/Vasha Hunt)
Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and five touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s win against South Carolina. (AP/Vasha Hunt)

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