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Tide regroups in second half, routs Citadel to 11th straight win

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

After scaring its fan base and giving national media a reason to troll in the first half, the University of Alabama football program regrouped and played much better in earning a 50-17 win over the Citadel.

Tua Tagovailoa did not need the brace, as he returned to being a 300-yard passer with 340 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 22 completions. He continues to possess toughness, totaling 37 yards rushing with a score on four carries. Tagovailoa’s three scoring tosses has him atop the school’s record book for most in a season at 31 – supplanting former Tide signal-caller AJ McCarron, who held the record at 30 in 2012.  

When backup Jalen Hurts entered the game in the fourth quarter, a boisterous scream went through Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Not a lot of people thought he would play, since he hadn’t seen action following ankle surgery, but he tossed a 7-yard scoring pass to DeVonta Smith and chants of “Jalen, Jalen” echoed through the building. In discussing the toughness of both quarterbacks, redshirt junior linebacker Anfernee Jennings said he “is just glad to have both guys on his team.” 

Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III led his respective unit with 114 yards on six catches, with his longest play going for 54 yards. Behind him, the duo of Jaylen Waddle and Jerry Jeudy both collected six receptions each. Waddle was credited 90 yards receiving and two scores. 

With his output of 77 yards receiving, Jeudy becomes the fourth receiver of the Nick Saban era at Alabama to record a 1,000-yard season at 1,002. As for Irv Smith Jr, he totaled one reception but it went for a 68-yard touchdown – giving him seven on the season. 

Damien Harris carried the torch in rushing with 83 yards on seven touches. He sustained an injury in the second half and according to Nick Saban, he suffered a “mild concussion.”  

He also said the training staff looked at Harris’ neck, which was okay. Sophomore running back Najee Harris tallied 51 yards rushing, with his longest run being of 32 yards. Brian Robinson would record the Tide’s final score of the contest, as it came on a 2-yard run in the final quarter. 

On defense, Jennings was the alpha dog. 

The talented linebacker posted 11 total tackles, one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery that he returned for an 18-yard touchdown. Mack Wilson fell behind Jennings with nine tackles and safety Deionte Thompson turned in eight stops, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. 

While the duo of Dylan Moses and LaBryan Ray had seven tackles each, Quinnen Williams registered his sixth sack of the season and had six tackles. Alabama gave up 275 yards to the Bulldogs and its streak of shutouts is over, but Saban was pleased with how the team competed in the second half. The Tide will remain at home to host Auburn next week  for the Iron Bowl.

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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