By PAUL JONES, Associated Press
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip while being dragged down by tacklers late in the first half on what was likely his last series and No. 4 Alabama went on to bear Mississippi State 38-7 Saturday in a game that might have cost the Crimson Tide its star quarterback.
Tagovailoa was injured after a scramble when he was taken down hard by Bulldogs linebacker Leo Lewis. Tagovailoa needed help getting to his feet and was carted off the field with 3:01 left in the second quarter.
The junior had been nursing an ankle injury that needed surgery four weeks ago, but Alabama coach Nick Saban said it was unrelated. Saban called it “freak injury.”
Alabama officials confirmed Tagovailoa was flown by helicopter to the St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The junior was 14 of 18 for 256 yards and two touchdown passes, giving him 31 on the season. He was replaced in the second half by Mac Jones.
The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a touchdown run and a touchdown catch by Najee Harris, who finished with four TDs.
Mississippi State (4-6, 2-5) cut the lead to 14-7 on a 1-yard scoring run by Kylin Hill. The Bulldogs must now win out to be bowl eligible.
Harris finished with 88 yards rushing and 51 yards receiving. Jerry Jeudy had seven catches for 114 yards to pace the Alabama passing attack.
Tommy Stevens was 12 of 21 passing for Mississippi State and had just 82 yards passing. Stevens did rush for 96 yards on 10 carries.
Alabama: Tide defensive tackle Raekwon Davis was also taken off the field with an apparent leg injury.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs’ struggles on offensive continued against Alabama. Mississippi State had just 270 yards of offense and had only 82 yards passing against the Crimson Tide. In the past two meetings with Alabama, the Bulldogs have mustered seven points.