Alabama football is doing just fine with Mac Jones starting for an injured Tua Tagovailoa.
Yes, the Crimson Tide faced Arkansas on Saturday as 31.5-point favorites, but the redshirt sophomore proved to anyone questioning his ability that he’s more than capable of filling in for the starter and Heisman Trophy candidate.
Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s Week 8 win over Tennessee and had surgery on his ankle Sunday. Coach Nick Saban said the surgery was successful, but he said Tagovailoa’s timeline for returning to the field is unclear. That’s OK for now because after Arkansas, the Crimson Tide have a bye week before playing LSU on November 9.
And in the meantime, Jones stepped up in his first start and thoroughly impressed fans Saturday in Alabama’s 48-7 win.
By the time Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother, came in about midway through the third quarter, Jones had put up some incredible numbers, showing off how good he can be as a starter. (It helps that Alabama has some unbelievably talented receivers too.)
He completed 18-of-22 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns. The first was on a one-play drive following an Arkansas fumble when Jones, facing no pressure from the Razorbacks, found wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown.
With the extra point, Alabama took a 10-0 lead with about four minutes left in the first. But that was only Jones’ first score of the quarter.
The next time, Jones found receiver Jerry Jeudy with 34 seconds left in the first for another 14-yard touchdown.
But the real stunner was his third touchdown pass when he connected with Jeudy again. On 2nd-and-8 from Arkansas’ 40-yard line, Jones went deep for a perfect pass that landed in Jeudy’s hands as he crossed the goal line, helping the Crimson Tide take a 48-0 lead with the extra point.
Needless to say, Alabama fans are very happy Jones is Tagovailoa’s backup and were pumped about his performance.
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Mac Jones looked really impressive tonight.
— Lifelong Washington Nationals Fan (@bobbyhogs20) October 27, 2019
I just wanna give Mac Jones a hug.
I guess it’s the mom in me.. but I’m so proud. The way he has handled this pressure and delivered. 🤗🙌🏻
— Bama Bo™ (@BamaBo17) October 27, 2019
Assuming Mac Jones’ night is done, he will finish 18-of-22 for 235 yards, three touchdown passes and a 216.5 efficiency rating.
Taulia Tagovailoa expediting his development now.
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) October 27, 2019