Tua Tagovailoa threw for 444 yards and five scores, while Najee Harris caught the first two touchdowns of his Alabama career
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 2-ranked Alabama football team beat South Carolina 47-23 in the Crimson Tide’s Southeastern Conference opener in Columbia, S.C., Saturday. Alabama moved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC while the Gamecocks dropped to 1-2, 0-1 in the SEC.
On offense, junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa totaled a career-best 444 yards and five touchdowns through the air on 28-of-36 passing. Junior running back Najee Harris had a huge game, hauling in five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns to go with a team-best 36 yards on seven carries on the ground.
Junior wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III tallied 136 and 122 receiving yards, respectively, marking just the ninth time in school history that two Alabama receivers have gone over 100 yards in the same game. Smith caught two touchdown passes while Ruggs III hauled in another.
On defense, 22 players recorded a tackle, led by sophomore free safety Xavier McKinnery who tallied nine, including five solo stops. McKinney also recorded an interception and a tackle for loss. Senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings had a sack and caused a fumble while freshman defensive lineman DJ Dale and freshman Jordan Battle also recorded sacks on the day.
How It Happened
- Alabama scored on its first drive of the game when junior running back Najee Harris took a Tua Tagovailoa pass 24 yards for a touchdown.
- Overall, Tagovailoa threw five touchdown passes, including two to Harris, three to DeVonta Smith and one to Henry Ruggs III.
- In addition to his touchdown reception on the first drive, Harris also scored on a 42-yard catch and run in the second quarter, breaking two tackles and hurdling a defender on the way to the end zone.
- Smith had receiving touchdowns of 42 and 48 yards, coming in the third and fourth quarter, respectively.
- Ruggs III grabbed the Tide’s second touchdown of the day, taking Tagovailoa’s pass and racing 81 yards into the end zone in the first quarter.
- Freshman Will Reichard made a pair of field goals on the day, the first from 23 yards in the second quarter and the second from 21 yards in the third.
- Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mac Jones closed out the Tide’s scoring with a one-yard push up the middle.
- South Carolina scored a trio of field goals to go with two touchdowns, with the Gamecocks final score coming 11 seconds left in the game.
Players of the Game
- Harris scored the first two receiving touchdowns of his Alabama career and had five catches against South Carolina after having just 11 receptions all last year. He also tallied 36 yards rushing on seven carries to combine for 123 yards of total offense.
- Tagovailoa finished with four or more scores for the third consecutive game to begin his 2019 campaign and tallied a career-best 444 yards through the air.
- With Smith (136) and Ruggs (122) going over 100 yards receiving against South Carolina, it marked the ninth time in school history and the first time this season that two UA receivers have topped the century mark in the same game.
- After racing for a 75-yard rushing touchdown against New Mexico State, Ruggs exploded for a long score for the second game in a row, taking a Tagovailoa pass 81 yards for a touchdown.
- McKinney snagged an interception in the end zone to end a South Carolina scoring threat and led the team with nine tackles.
- Alabama outgained the South Carolina offense 571-124, including a 495-103 passing differential while outgaining the Gamecocks 76-21 on the ground.
- UA averaged 16 yards per catch after totaling 496 receiving yards on 31 catches and six scores from three different players.
- Alabama once again won the turnover battle with two takeaways to none after forcing a fumble and an interception.
Alabama returns home to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21 to face Southern Miss in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and Golden Eagles is set for 11 a.m. CT with the game airing live on either ESPN or ESPN2.