TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Alabama made its toughest challenge of the 2018 season look pretty easy.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide cruised past Texas A&M 45-23 on Saturday, improving their record to 4-0.
Leading Alabama offensively was quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had a career day. Tagovailoa threw for 387 yards on 22 of 30 passing. He threw for four touchdowns and added a rushing score in three quarters. Tagovailoa had career highs in completions, attempts and total touchdowns.
“He does a really good job," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "Some of those plays are RPOs, some are play action passes. He does a good job, in terms of moving keys. They definitely had an extra guy in the box most of the time, so we were pulling the ball and throwing it and it was effective for us, but when we tried to run it we didn’t have as much luck. That’s something we are going to need to improve on, and I think create some balance in our offense.”
Eight Alabama players had at least 20 yards receiving. Henry Ruggs III led the team with 84 yards, while Jerry Jeudy had 79 yards and Irv Smith Jr. had 74. Ruggs, Smith and Hale Hentges all had touchdown receptions.
“Today felt good for everyone," Ruggs said. "We came out as a team. It’s a conference game; we know the opponent. We knew we had competition coming into town, but we had to do what we had to do and defend our home field.”
Despite Alabama scoring a season low in total points, the Crimson Tide had 524 total yards, including 415 through the air. Jalen Hurts replaced Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter and was a perfect 3 of 3 passing for 28 yards.
Saturday’s win improves Nick Saban’s record against his former assistant coaches to 13-0. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was an assistant during Saban’s tenure at LSU.
Alabama faces Louisana-Lafayette next Saturday at 11 a.m.
Alabama 7, Texas A&M 0 - Tagovailoa to Smith pass, 30 yards (14:10 left)
UA 7, A&M 7 - Mond to Sternberger pass, 15 yards (4:55 left)
UA 14, A&M 7 - Tagovailoa run, 1 yard (0:45 left)
UA 14, A&M 10 - Small 52-yard field goal
UA 21, A&M 10 - Tagovailoa to Hentges pass, 23 yards (6:50 left)
UA 21, A&M 13 - Small 32-yard field goal (3:24 left)
UA 28, A&M 13 - Tagovailoa to Hentges, 6 yards (1:09 left)
UA 31, A&M 13 - Bulovas 47-yard field goal
UA 38, A&M 13 - Jacobs run, 3 yards (10:03 left)
UA 38, A&M 16 - Small 25-yard field goal (4:30 left)
UA 45, A&M 16 - Tagovailoa to Ruggs pass, 57 yards (2:01 left)
UA 45, A&M 23 - Mond run, 9 yards (7:36 left)