Sophomore Tua Tagovailoa threw his 31st touchdown pass to break the previous school record held by AJ McCarron
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 1 Alabama football team scored four times in the third quarter to cruise to a 50-17 win over The Citadel at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday after the game was tied 10-10 at halftime. The Crimson Tide (11-0) outscored the Bulldogs (4-6) 40-7 in the second half.
Tagovailoa led the Alabama offense going 18-of-22 for 340 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Tagovailoa also added 37 rushing yards, including a one-yard touchdown plunge. Sophomore wide out Henry Ruggs III caught six passes for a team-high 116 yards while freshman receiver Jaylen Waddle ended the day with six catches for 90 yards and two scores.
Junior linebacker Anfernee Jennings finished with 11 tackles to lead the Tide defenders and returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown as part of the third quarter scoring barrage.
After a Citadel punt set up the Tide offense at its own 20-yard line for its opening possession, UA used an eight-play, 80-yard drive for its first score, capped by Tagovailoa finding Waddle from 21 yards out to get on the scoreboard. Following the extra point from redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas, Alabama led 7-0 with 3:29 remaining in the quarter. The score marked the 10th time in 11 games this season that the Crimson Tide has scored on its opening possession.
In the second quarter, The Citadel used a 45-yard run to tie the game up at 7-7 with 11:42 left before the halftime break.
Alabama responded with a nine-play, 86-yard drive finished off by Bulovas’ 23-yard field goal with 4:59 on the clock. The Bulldogs tied up the game at 10-10 as time expired in the half with a 48-yard field goal.
Following an Alabama fumble and a missed Citadel field goal to start the second half, Tagovailoa found Ruggs III on three-straight passes, including a 54-yard pitch-and-catch to set the Tide up at the Bulldogs three-yard line. Two plays later, Tagovailoa hooked up with Waddle for their second touchdown of the day, this time from five yards out. Bulovas’ extra point made it 17-10 with 10:26 in the third quarter.
Twelve seconds later, Alabama found the end zone again when junior Deionte Thompson forced a fumble and Jennings picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown from 18 yards out. The extra point from Bulovas made it 24-10 with 10:14 in the third.
The Tide continued to pour on the points in third quarter when Tagovailoa found junior tight end Irv Smith Jr. wide open across the middle. Smith Jr. then rumbled 68 yards to the end zone, giving UA a 30-10 lead with 6:16 to go in the quarter. Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass was his 31st of the season which broke the previous school record of 30 set by AJ McCarron in 2013.
Later in the third quarter, Tagovailoa picked up his fourth touchdown of the game, this one on the ground, punching it in from one-yard out. The touchdown plunge finished the six-play, 63-yard drive and Bulovas’ extra point extended the advantage to 37-10 heading into the fourth.
On the next Alabama offensive possession, senior running back Damien Harris broke free for a 73-yard gain, to setup the Tide at the Bulldogs seven-yard line. On the following play, junior quarterback Jalen Hurts roped a pass to sophomore wide out DeVonta Smith for a seven-yard score. UA held the 43-10 lead with 13:27 to go in the game.
The Citadel scored its second TD of the day on a 44-yard sideline run with 7:44 to go in the game. Alabama answered with a final touchdown of its own when sophomore running back Brian Robinson Jr. bulldozed his way into the end zone from one yard out. The PAT from Austin Jones made it 50-17 with 4:25 left on the clock.
With the victory, Alabama has now won at least 11 games 22 times in school history and 10 times under Nick Saban. The Tide has also won 11 games or more the last eight years in a row, the longest streak in Southeastern Conference history.
The Tide returns to action next Saturday for its final regular-season home game against Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Iron Bowl is set for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff on CBS.