Before Saturday’s game against Mizzou, Tua Tagovailoa had yet to play in the 4th quarter of any of Alabama’s six games this season.
This in itself is a frightening statistic. In each of those six games (the mid point of the College football season), Alabama’s lead was so significant that they could do without the services of their first choice quarterback in the final quarter of these games. To hammer this point home, Alabama is averaging 53.6 points per game and has scored 50 touchdowns in seven games so far.
I’m really not a stats person but the following is quite stunning for someone in his first full season as a starter.
– By the sixth game Tagovailoa had a QB rating of 258.7. This is an all time record beating the previous holder, Baker Mayfield who’s rating was 198.7.
– He is averaging 19.7 yards per completion and this season has thrown only seven more incompletions than touchdowns.
– He has thrown zero, yes zero interceptions this season.
– On Saturday against MIssouri, he continued an incredible run of scoring a touchdown in every one of his opening drives. And it gets better. Those seven possessions average 89 seconds in length.
– In the opening six games, 31 of 44 drives led by Tagovailoa have resulted in touchdown’s.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Tagovailoa is a special talent. Perhaps the like of which College football has never seen. And this is only his first full year as a starter having spent his Freshman year as back up to Jalen Hurts. Meaning there is more to come from this young man.
I refuse to talk about the Heisman trophy in October but I can see why he is being talked about as a runaway winner.
So it was no surprise when Tuscaloosa and most of Alabama (save for the lovely town of Auburn) went in to meltdown on Saturday when Tagovailoa lay on the turf clutching his knee. The good news is (for Alabama anyway) that the injury does not appear serious and he is rated as “probable” for the game against Tennessee on Saturday.
And this is where it gets interesting. Alabama has been accused of playing a soft schedule. But Saturday starts a period where four of their last five games are against Tennessee (in Knoxville), LSU (in Baton Rouge), Mississippi State (in Tuscaloosa) and a final game against Auburn (in Tuscaloosa). This is the SEC at its best and is quite possibly the hardest finishing schedule in Division I football. And Auburn in the last game of the regular season, playing for the Iron Bowl? Well its like Rangers v Celtic or Liverpool v Man U playing to the death on the last day of the season.
And that will be the test of not only Tua, but also of this multi-talented Alabama side. A side so good that it is being suggested is the best ever under the leadership of Nick Saban.
A side so good that the Coach has called out the student section at Bryant-Denny for being too quiet. Saban recognises that complacency is his biggest enemy in his quest for another National Championship.
Time will tell if Tua Tagovailoa will lead this Alabama team to a National Championship. But if he does it will cement his name in Crimson Tide folklore. You may recall last season that Tagovailoa was summoned from the bench to complete a stunning second half comeback against Georgia to secure his first National Championship.
Two National Championships in his first two seasons (bearing in mind his very limited starts in season one) would be nothing short of remarkable.
All Hail the Boy King of Tuscaloosa.
photo credit: sports spectrum.com