By JOHN ZENOR
TUSCALOOSA — Tua Tagovailoa and DeVonta Smith hooked up for five touchdown passes and a few school records while No. 2 Alabama ran away from Mississippi 59-31 on Saturday.
The Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) actually trailed for the first time this season before flexing its muscles against the 37 1/2-point underdogs. The Rebels (2-3, 1-1) couldn’t even slow down Smith, who sometimes gets overshadowed in a loaded receiving group.
Not this game. Smith had 11 catches for school records of 274 yards and five TDs, all by early in the third quarter. He had 221 yards by halftime, and added a 27-yard score to punctuate the biggest game of any Tide receiver.
Tagovailoa passed for a school-record six touchdowns and rushed for a seventh. He had matched the record of five TD passes in two straight games but finally eclipsed it in the fourth quarter.
He completed 26 of 36 passes for 418 yards.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Tide, even with a blocked punt for a touchdown tossed in.
Ole Miss turned a muffed punt into a score and then took a 10-7 lead on Luke Logan’s 33-yard field goal. Alabama’s first deficit of the season lasted 3: 44.
Then Alabama scored 31 points in the second quarter.
The Rebels started backup quarterback John Rhys Plumlee with Matt Corral sidelined with bruised ribs sustained in a loss to California.
Plumlee passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third. He finished 10-of-28 passing for 141 yards with an interception, and ran 25 times for 109 yards.
TUA’S RECORD WATCH
Tagovailoa’s touchdown run in the second quarter was the 81st TD passing and rushing of his career, passing AJ McCarron for the school record. He also ultimately tied McCarron’s 77 scoring passes.
Former starting kicker Joseph Bulovas replaced an injured Will Reichard (hip flexor). Bulovas made a 36-yard field goal and hit the right upright on a 28-yarder.
Mississippi: Rebounded from a tough loss to Cal by starting 4 of 5 on third-down conversions. Had 476 total yards and 279 on the ground against the Tide.
Alabama: Had some struggles defensively but the offense produced even more big plays than usual. Ale Kaho both blocked and recovered the punt for a touchdown.