Tua Tagovailoa’s strong second half helps Alabama win Iron Bowl


By Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera and James Ogletree

In his first Iron Bowl, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led Alabama to a 52-21 win against Auburn. He threw for five touchdowns, which ties the single-season mark in Alabama history, alongside 324 yards. He also ran for a score.

Play of the game: Junior running back Josh Jacobs ran up the seam, leaving two Auburn defenders chasing behind him while Tua Tagovailoa lofted a perfect pass to him. He hauled it in and made a defender miss en route to his team-leading 12th total touchdown of the year.

Offensive player of the game:

Cody Estremera: Tua Tagovailoa

James Ogletree: Tua Tagovailoa

Defensive player of the game:

Cody Estremera: Shyheim Carter

James Ogletree: Anfernee Jennings

Fan players of the game:

Offense: Tua Tagovailoa

Defense: Anfernee Jennings


  • Sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy broke into the top five all-time in single-season receiving yards on Alabama’s opening drive. He finished the game in third place with 1,079 yards.
  • For just the second time this season, the Crimson Tide did not score on its first possession.
  • Tua Tagovailoa scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season on Alabama’s second drive with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
  • Auburn responded with a four-minute, 73-yard touchdown drive, including a conversion on third-and-13, to tie the game at seven points apiece.
  • Henry Ruggs III caught his ninth touchdown of the year early in the second quarter. He added a second early in the fourth quarter, putting his season total at 10.
  • Auburn blocked an Alabama punt with 4:57 left in the first half. On the second play of the drive, the Tigers ran a trick play with receiver Ryan Davis throwing the ball to wide-open running back Malik Miller, who ran in untouched. That got Auburn within three points.
  • Head coach Nick Saban told CBS at halftime that Auburn was doing a good job of limiting Alabama’s explosive pass plays. On the third play of the second half, Tagovailoa threw a perfectly-placed deep ball to Jeudy, who raced into the end zone for his 11th score of the year.
  • Four plays later Josh Jacobs ran up the seam and Tagovailoa lofted a pass over two defenders to him. Jacobs made a man miss just before the goal line and stretched the ball over for his team-leading 12th score of the year.
  • Safety Jared Mayden was ejected from the game (and the first half of next week’s SEC Championship) for targeting in the third quarter. Mayden is a backup safety whose only time with the first-team defense comes in Alabama’s dime package (six defensive backs).
  • DeVonta Smith scored his fourth touchdown of the year on a 40-yard catch-and-run. On the play Alabama set the team record for most passing yards in a season, per Ben Jones of The Tuscaloosa News.
  • Tagovailoa threw his career-high fifth touchdown pass of the night early in the fourth quarter, a 22-yard lob to Ruggs III in the back of the end zone.