Tua Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and tied his personal best with five touchdowns — including a spectacular scoring pass to former Antioch High running back Najee Harris that went viral on social media — to help No. 2 Alabama open SEC play with a 47-23 victory at South Carolina on Saturday.
Coach Nick Saban improved to 12-1 at Alabama in SEC openers and wiped away some bad memories of his last visit to Williams-Brice Stadium nine years ago.
Tagovailoa and his receivers got the Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0) rolling with first-quarter TD passes of 24 yards to Harris and 81 yards to Henry Ruggs III. Whenever the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1) drew within range, Tagovailoa came right back to restore Alabama’s edge.
But it was Harris’ eye-popping second touchdown that drew attention. Harris took a short pass from Tagovailoa that could have just ended in a first down as a South Carolina defender closed in on him. But Harris wasn’t satisfied. He dispatched the safety with a right stiff-arm, sprinted 12 yards up the sideline and hurdled another defender, shook off a third tackler near the 10 and rumbled into the end zone.
Harris’ 42-yard reception gave Alabama a 24-10 lead midway through the second quarter.
Photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
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“I always tell him not to do that. I think it could be dangerous,” Saban said about Harris’ jump. “But he’s got a good feel for it.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Harris became the first Crimson Tide running back in the past 20 seasons with multiple receiving TDs in a game. He’s also the first SEC running back to catch more than one touchdown in a game since Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara in 2015.
#1 Clemson 41, Syracuse 6: Trevor Lawrence threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and visiting Clemson beat nemesis Syracuse. Clemson (3-0, 2-0 ACC) has won 18 straight games, a school record and the longest streak in the nation. Lawrence finished 22 of 39 for 395 yards with two interceptions before departing in the fourth.
#3 Georgia 55, Arkansas State 0: Jake Fromm threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns before taking the rest of the day off and the host Bulldogs’ defense turned in a dominating performance. Thousands of Georgia fans wore pink instead of red to honor Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson’s wife, Wendy, who died last month from breast cancer.
#4 LSU 64, N’western State 14: Joe Burrow completed 21 of 24 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns and host LSU pulled away from Northwestern State in the second half for a victory. Burrow is 75 of 90 (83.3%) passing for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, making a case early on for the Heisman Trophy. Burrow also ran for 30 yards and a touchdown.
#6 Ohio St. 51, Indiana 10: J.K. Dobbins ran for 193 yards and scored twice and Justin Fields threw three touchdown passes for the visiting Buckeyes (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who have won each of their first three games by at least 24 points and extended their winning streak in the series to 24, dating to a tie in 1990.
#7 Notre Dame 66, New Mexico 14: Ian Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes and Notre Dame’s defense came up with three first-half interceptions in its final tuneup before a showdown at No. 3 Georgia. The host Fighting Irish (2-0) had their way with the Lobos (1-1), who were without head coach Bob Davie. Saga Tuitele acted as head coach for Davie, the former Irish head coach from 1997-2001 who was hospitalized following New Mexico’s opening victory over Sam Houston State.
#8 Auburn 55, Kent State 16: JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and Bo Nix ran and passed for scores to lead the host Tigers (3-0), who piled up 467 rushing yards — and three 100-yard rushers — in their final tuneup before SEC play.
#9 Florida 29, Kentucky 21: Kyle Trask relieved an injured Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida with three fourth-quarter touchdown drives, including his go-ahead, 4-yard scoring run with 4:11 remaining that lifted the Gators to victory over Kentucky. Franks was carted off with a right leg injury late in the third quarter with his team trailing 21-10.
#12 Texas 48, Rice 13: Sam Ehlinger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Smith caught six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns and No. 12 Texas rebounded from its first loss of the season with a rout of host Rice. Ehlinger threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Roschon Johnson to cap the opening drive before throwing touchdown passes of 53 yards and 12 yards to Smith in the first half. Ehlinger finished 23 of 27 passing in less than three quarters.
#13 Penn State 17, Pittsburgh 10: Journey Brown ran for 109 yards and a touchdown and the host Nittany Lions (3-0) held off the Panthers in their 100th meeting. Pitt (1-2) opted to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal at the Penn State 1, trailing by a touchdown with less than 4 minutes to go. Alex Kessman’s 19-yard attempt clanked off the upright and the Nittany Lions later turned away Pitt’s last-ditch possession to win their third straight in the series since it was renewed in 2016.
#16 Texas A&M 62, Lamar 3: Freshman Isaiah Spiller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and Kellen Mond threw for 317 yards with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run in three quarters to lead the host Aggies (2-1).
#19 Iowa 18, Iowa St. 17: Nate Stanley threw for 201 yards and ran for a score, and the visiting Hawkeyes (3-0) made a big fourth-down stop to beat the Cyclones (1-1) for the fifth straight time. Keith Duncan kicked four field goals for Iowa in a game delayed nearly three hours because of lightning.
Temple 20, #21 Maryland 17: Kenny Yeboah put Temple ahead on a one-handed touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, and the host Owls (2-0) used two clutch stops at the goal line to defeat an unbeaten Maryland team for the second straight season.
#25 Virginia 31, Florida State 24: Wayne Taulapapa ran for two touchdowns, the second with 2:34 remaining, and host Virginia hung on, barely, to beat Florida State. Virginia improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2005, and fans stormed the field after the frenetic final few plays.
College of San Mateo 43, San Joaquin Delta College 3: Serra High grad Luke Bottari threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Connell Ryans and the host Rams’ defense scored nine points in the game’s first 16 seconds when defensive back Jarvis Martin recovered a fumbled kickoff in the end zone and on the ensuing San Joaquin possession defensive lineman Noah Lavulo tackled running back Rahbert Woodie in the end zone for a safety.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Tua-Tagovailoa-Najee-Harris-lead-No-2-Alabama-14440843.php.