Smith and Tagovailoa broke multiple school records on the day
TUSCALOOSA, Ala – Junior wideout DeVonta Smith had himself more than a day as he shattered multiple school records and tied the Southeastern Conference receiving touchdowns mark, while junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa broke several records of his own as No. 2 Alabama beat Ole Miss, 59-31 in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide moves to 5-0, 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Rebels drop to 2-3 and 1-1 in SEC competition.
Smith finished his day with career-high 11 receptions for a school-record 274 yards, all while tying an SEC record with five receiving scores. Tagovailoa broke the UA career record for touchdown responsibility, after throwing six touchdowns, and running in another. The six passing touchdowns and the seven total touchdowns are also Alabama records. The junior went 26-of-36 for 418 yards through the air.
On defense, junior defensive back Xavier McKinney led the Tide with a career-best 13 tackles along with a quarterback hurry, while redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings was second on the squad with nine tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. Senior Jared Mayden had his first career interception and a 36-yard return in the fourth quarter.
How It Happened
- It did not take long for Alabama to get on the board as Tagovailoa connected with Smith for a 74-yard touchdown to go up 7-0 with 13:50 in the first quarter.
- Following an Alabama muffed punt in its own territory, Ole Miss scored on a one-yard rush from quarterback J.R. Plumlee to make it a 7-7 game. The Rebels added a field goal to take the 10-7 advantage after 15 minutes of play.
- From there, Alabama scored 31 unanswered points starting with Tagovailoa scampering in from five yards out to put the Tide up 14-10. Following a Joseph Bulovas field goal and a defensive stop, Tagovailoa connected with Smith for three scores (25, 23, 33) in less than five minutes to put Alabama up 38-10 at the half.
- The Tagovailoa and Smith show continued with the first drive of the second half when the two linked up with Smith making a leaping 27-yard grab to give him his fifth score of the game and extending Alabama’s lead to 45-10.
- With the score at 45-17 in the third quarter, sophomore linebacker Ale Kaho blocked the Ole Miss punt and recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown, pushing the lead to 52-17.
- Tagovailoa and the Tide offense continued to pour on the points when he found redshirt junior tight end Miller Forristall for a 19-yard score to put the score at 59-24.
- The Rebels added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the last coming with five seconds left in the game to make the final score, 59-31.
Players of the Game
- Smith set career highs in receptions with 11, yards with 248, touchdowns with five and his longest reception of his career with the 74-yard first quarter score. The Amite, La., native caught 11 of his 12 targets on the day and averaged 24.9 yards per catch. He also had eight catches, four scores and 221 yards in the first half.
- Tagovailoa set career-best and school record marks with six passing touchdowns and total touchdowns with seven. He finished with a near-perfect 224.8 passer rating.
- Kaho both blocked and recovered the Ole Miss punt for a touchdown in the third quarter.
- McKinney anchored the secondary with his career high 13 tackles.
- The Crimson Tide outscored the Rebels 31-0 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
- Alabama outgained Ole Miss through the air 418-197.
- The Tide moved the ball down the field to the tune of 8.6 yards per play.
- Alabama is off next week before traveling to College Station, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 12 to take on No. 23 Texas A&M. A kickoff time for the Crimson Tide and Aggies has yet to be announced.