Alabama’s quarterback switch from Jalen Hurts to Tua Tagovailoa is paying off. The Tide’s offense has been unstoppable through the first four weeks of the season.
Tagovailoa was 22-of-30 passing for 387 yards and four touchdowns against No. 22 Texas A&M as No. 1 Alabama rolled 45-23 over the Aggies on Saturday.
Texas A&M was overmatched from the start of the game when Alabama had the ball. That’s been a common theme for opposing defenses throughout the first four games of Alabama’s 2018 season, though the Aggies can claim a small victory. Tagovailoa threw his first third-down incompletion of the season on Saturday.
Tagovailoa’s stats through the first four games of the season are ridiculous. He’s 58-of-80 passing overall for 1,033 yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. It was a bit of a head-scratcher why Tagovailoa was the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy at some sports books before the season. It isn’t now. He’s put himself on the short list of Heisman contenders through the first four starts of his career.
His success has diversified an Alabama offense that has been heavily predicated on the run in recent years. No longer does Alabama have to run to set up a deep pass. Teams have to be aware of Tagovailoa’s throwing ability on any down and distance and that’s allowed Alabama’s young receiving corps to shine.
With Calvin Ridley off to the NFL, passes are being spread around a lot more often than they were in 2017. Both Jerry Jeudy and Irv Smith have emerged as threats and DeVonta Smith caught a touchdown from Tagovailoa that wasn’t too dissimilar from the title-winning pass he caught from him in January against Georgia.
That pass came after Tagovailoa famously came off the bench in the second half to replace Jalen Hurts. It’s been Hurts who has been replacing Tagovailoa in 2018 and that pattern should continue throughout the season. Alabama coach Nick Saban said earlier in the week that both QBs would continue to play throughout the season, but it’s very clear that Tagovailoa is the top QB. And while Hurts has played well, it’s by a wide margin. Tagovailoa has been that good.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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