Alabama overcomes slow first half, blows out The Citadel 50-17

Nick Saban speaks after The Citadel game

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - There were a lot of questions at halftime, but Alabama answered the all in the second half.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide overcame a halftime tie with The Citadel to blow away the away team 50-17.

“I think we did respond really well in the second half of the game, and I thought they tried to shrink the game as much as they could, limit the possessions, which we had gone into the game knowing they would do that. We told the offense, ‘You have to take advantage of every opportunity that you have,' and in the first half, we turned the ball over, we went three-and-out once, we didn’t score a touchdown in the red zone, so we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had. In the second half, we did a much better job on defense," said Nick Saban.

“We made some halftime adjustments to cover the formations they were in, and I think it helped us a bit. Everybody has to fit their responsibilities on the option, and two times we had a guy not take the pitch when he was supposed to, and it resulted in two 40-plus yard runs. Other than that I thought that our guys tried to execute fairly well. Obviously, the pass defense must have been pretty good because this was the first time I have ever coached in a game where the other team didn’t have any yards passing. Hopefully our team will learn and grow from this, and you have to give their team a lot of credit as they played with a lot of heart and they were very tough, physical and aggressive.”

Tua Tagovailoa led the offensive charge despite the slow start, throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 22 passing. He connected with Henry Ruggs III six times for 114 yards and threw two touchdowns to Jaylen Waddle, who had 90 yards receiving. Alabama had 190 yards on the ground, including 83 from Damien Harris.

The Citadel brought a unique offensive threat to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Bulldogs' triple threat offense earned the away team two touchdowns by Dante Smith, who led the team with 130 yards. The Citadel did not throw a pass.

In the lopsided victory, Tagovailoa broke Alabama’s record for most touchdown passes in a season, throwing his 31st early in the third quarter.

Tua Tagovailoa speaks after The Citadel game

Alabama will now set its sights on the Iron Bowl, which is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

FIRST QUARTER

UA 7, Citadel 0 - Tagovailoa pass to Waddle, 21 yards (3:29 left)

SECOND QUARTER

UA 7, Citadel 7 - Smith 45-yard run (11:42 left)

UA 10, Citadel 7 - Bulovas 23-yard field goal (4:59 left)

UA 10, Citadel 10 - Godek 44-yard field goal (0:00 left)

THIRD QUARTER

UA 17, Citadel 10 - Tagovailoa pass to Waddle, 5 yards (10:26 left)

UA 24, Citadel 10 - Jennings fumble recovery for touchdown, 18 yards (10:14 left)

UA 31, Citadel 10 - Tagovailoa pass to Smith Jr., 68 yards (6:16 left)

UA 37, Citadel 10 - Tagovailoa run, 1 yard (1:24 left)

FOURTH QUARTER

UA 43, Citadel 10 - Hurts pass to Smith, 7 yards (13:27 left)

UA 43, Citadel 17 - Smith run, 44 yards (7:34 left)

UA 50, Citadel 17 - Robinson Jr. run, 2 yards (4:25 left)

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