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Najee Harris paced Alabama’s offense in first half vs. Mississippi State

Matt Bush - USA TODAY Sports

He had a career performance versus LSU and Najee Harris is not done. 

The junior paced Alabama’s offense against Mississippi State, as he accounted for four touchdowns the first half. Harris scored three times on the ground and once through the air from Tua Tagovailoa, in giving the Crimson Tide a 35-7 lead at halftime.

He has 59 rushing yards on 13 carries, while collecting 42 receiving yards on two catches.  

Tagovailoa was a ‘game-time decision’ per Nick Saban, but the junior got the starting nod in pregame warmups.

He completed 14 of 18 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns. 

RELATED: Final thoughts before Alabama takes on Mississippi State

Tagovailoa found Jerry Jeudy on six passes and the junior at wide receiver leads the group with 104 yards.

He could have had a touchdown catch in the first quarter; however, a facemask penalty negated it. Jaylen Waddle brought in Tagovailoa’s second scoring pass, which was a 35-yard reception in the second quarter.

DeVonta Smith totaled three catches for 50 yards and Jahlel Billingsley, a freshman, caught a 19-yard pass. 

Aside from a 27-yard from Tommy Stevens, Alabama’s defense looks more focused. 

Shane Lee leads the team in total tackles (eight) and recorded an interception. Anfernee Jennings had five total tackles and the duo of Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter each have four tackles. Christian Harris and Jared Mayden both were credited with quarterback pressures to Stevens.

The Tide held Mississippi State to 92 yards offensively, but it was penalized six times for 81 yards in the first half. 

Alabama will be on defense to start the second half. Not much confusion happened in the first half and Saban wants that to continue, as the team looks to prove it belong in the College Football Playoff conversation.

Prior to halftime, Tagovailoa suffered an injury to his hip. He was taken off the field on a golf cart. After having tightrope surgery to his right game– following the Tennessee game — he was back on the field 20 days later to play against LSU.

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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 15 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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