A career day from Najee Harris along with a standout defensive performance led No. 5 Alabama to a dominant 38-7 road win against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.
On offense, Harris continued his impressive stretch with another career day, totaling four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half. Harris recorded three of his four scores in the first quarter alone, making him the first Alabama running back to score three touchdowns in the first quarter of a single game. He totaled 88 rushing yards on 17 carries to go along with three rushing touchdowns while also catching three passes for 51 yards and a score.
Tua Tagovailoa went 14 of 18 for 256 yards and two scores before exiting in the second quarter. Jerry Jeudy led the way among Tide wideouts with seven catches for 114 yards.
On the defensive side, Shane Lee had the best game of his young career with a career-high 10 tackles. The freshman added his first interception, picking off State’s first play from scrimmage and returning it 10 yards. Anfernee Jennings (Dadeville) was second on the Tide (9-1, 6-1) with eight tackles, including one for loss (-3 yards).
Alabama got on the board first with Harris running it in from 10 yards out to cap a five-play, 55-yard drive in less than two minutes into the game.
Fourteen seconds after the score, Lee came up with an interception to set up the Tide at the MSU 19-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, Tagovailoa found Harris for a 19-yard score to put UA up, 14-0.
Following a touchdown by Mississippi State (4-6, 2-5), Harris rumbled in for his third score, this time from 5 yards out to make it 21-7 with 3:22 remaining in the first.
To begin the second quarter, Tagovailoa connected with Jaylen Waddle for a 35-yard pitch-and-catch with 14:15 left before the half.
Harris scored his career-best fourth touchdown after running it in for another 5-yard score to cap the 13-play, 70-yard drive. Alabama led 35-7 at the halftime break.
The defenses took control in the second half with the only score coming on a 22-yard field goal from Joseph Bulovas in the third quarter to put UA up 38-7, the eventual final.
Harris recorded his sixth receiving touchdown of the season. That mark set the Alabama single-season record for receiving touchdowns by a running back.
With his rushing and receiving touchdowns in today’s game, paired with last weekend’s matchup versus LSU (Nov. 9), Harris became the first UA player to record rushing and receiving scores in back-to-back games since Mark Ingram in 2009.
Jeudy went over 100 yards for the ninth time in his career after totaling 114 yards in Saturday’s win.
The Crimson Tide outgained the Bulldogs, 510-270, including 350-82 through the air.
Alabama picked up 24 first downs compared to MSU’s 11 by game’s end.
The Tide offense was a perfect 5 of 5 in the red zone, scoring four touchdowns and a field goal.
The Crimson Tide dominated the Bulldogs in the first half, recording 16 first downs compared to MSU’s four. Alabama also outgained State, 328-92 yards, in the first 30 minutes of play.
Alabama’s defense recorded six tackles for loss (-20 yards), including one sack (-8 yards).
Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury during Saturday’s game and had surgery Monday. Alabama’s team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain, of Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Clinic, released a statement Saturday evening.
“Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium,” Cain said. “He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season.”