Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle was a major storyline ahead of No. 5 Alabama’s game on Saturday at Mississippi State. His health will continue to be a storyline moving forward as Tagovailoa had to be carted off the field in the first half after taking a nasty hit in a 38-7 win.
Tagovailoa was unable to put any weight on the right side of his body after injuring his right hip. He was reportedly “screaming in pain” when being removed from the cart in the locker room area, according to ESPN sideline reporter Molly McGrath. Trainers also treated Tagovailoa for a bloody nose suffered when his facemask hit the turf head-on.
“It’s a hip injury and probably something that could be pretty serious,” coach Nick Saban said after the game. During a halftime interview, Saban noted that Tagovailoa was injured on what was supposed to be his last series of the game. “We were going to do 2-minute before the half with him, just for practice,” Saban said.
Tagovailoa was then taken to a local hospital via ambulance before flown to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham by way of helicopter, according to Tide beat writer Cecil Hurt. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds scans and an MRI will be conducted on what is considered to be a “very serious” injury.
Tagovailoa was playing well to that point and looked OK after he gritted through last week’s 46-41 loss to No. 1 LSU. At the time of his injury, he was 14 of 18 for 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Alabama had a 35-7 lead with touchdowns on its first five possessions, and Saban made it clear Tagovailoa was on his way to being pulled from the game.
Saban will undoubtedly receive a ton of questions about the decision to play Tagovailoa — at all and especially that late into the second quarter given the score.
Mac Jones played the rest of the way for the Crimson Tide and finished 7-of-11 passing for 94 yards. He had one start this season previously against Arkansas when Tagovailoa was initially unavailable to play because of his high-ankle sprain. Jones was solid against the Razorbacks, going 18 of 22 for 235 yards passing and three touchdowns. Jones was an option to start on Saturday against the Bulldogs with Tagovailoa considered a game-time decision.