A week after seeing his season end due to injury, Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa receives a warm reception from the Bryant-Denny crowd.
The Alabama Crimson Tide has a lot of play for this season but will have to do so without their best player the rest of the way. Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa dislocated his hip in a blowout victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville last week. He underwent surgery in Houston and will be out for the rest of the year. Mac Jones will be the Alabama starter for now.
But even a devastating injury couldn’t keep Tagovailoa from cheering on his teammates on Saturday afternoon. He received a warm reception from the Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd in his return to Tuscaloosa. This was Alabama’s last game of the season at home vs. the FCS Western Carolina Catamounts. It was also Senior Day in Tuscaloosa.
It was great to see the Crimson Tide faithful to show its support for its injured star quarterback. There is a great chance that Tagovailoa has played his last game for Alabama, as he surely will be a first-round draft pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. But for him to show up and support Jones and the rest of his teammates, that’s exactly what you’d be looking for out of a leader.
Tagovailoa’s head coach Nick Saban had spoken Saturday night about his star quarterback’s return to the Tuscaloosa campus. “It was really good last night,” Saban said. “He came to the team dinner. He’s always very positive. Great spirit. Really good to have him back. He wanted to come to the game today, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Saturday afternoon’s game was really just a warmup for Jones before the Crimson Tide have to play the archrival Auburn Tigers on the road down on The Plains next week. Alabama still has a shot at making the College Football Playoff for the sixth year in a row, but likely won’t be playing in the SEC Championship Game this year. If the LSU Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, they’re in.
But for now, Alabama has to put all of its Playoff faith in Jones and Saban’s defense. Jones has played plenty of snaps this season due to Tagovailoa’s first injury of the year. Having Tagovailoa back on the sidelines may be good for morale, but it will be up to Jones if Alabama makes the Playoff and contends for a national title again this holiday season.