Rolling with the Tide: Ruggs has career day in win over Southern Miss


CW / Joe Will Field

Carey Reeder, Staff Reporter

Alabama finished its early-season non-conference schedule with a 49-7 thumping of Southern Mississippi. For the second straight week, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa tied a school record with five touchdown passes. Henry Ruggs III was the leading receiver for Alabama for the first time this season and helped bury the Golden Eagles early as the offense scored touchdowns on its first four drives of the game. Najee Harris ran for over 100 yards to stabilize a balanced offensive attack. 

Player of the Game: Henry Ruggs III

“Ruggs is the fastest.” If you ask anyone close to the Alabama receiving corps, it’s the first comment about the junior, and he showed why on Saturday. It only took three plays for Ruggs to kick off the game with a 45-yard catch and run. On the next Alabama drive, Ruggs ran right past the Golden Eagles defense for a 74-yard score. On just four catches, he racked up 148 yards and two scores. His 148 yards were the most by an Alabama receiver since Calvin Ridley in November 2017. 

Play of the Game:

The aforementioned 74-yard score was the most eye-catching touchdown of the game. Ruggs’ route-running ability shouldn’t be forgotten when talking about his speed. The combination of those on this play was on full display as he turned the safety around at the top of his route, leaving it to Tagovailoa to deliver a proper ball.

Key to the Game:

Alabama’s offensive game plan changes on a weekly basis. On Saturday, however, the offense seemed to have as much balance as in any other game this year. Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes in the first half to bust open the scoring, and in the second half, the running game kept the pressure on. Although a running back hasn’t broken off a run for more than 19 yards this season, the constant pressure of 6-to-7-yard gains combined with the lethal passing attack is enough to make most defenses crack.



Tua Tagovailoa: 17-for-21, 293 yards and five touchdowns.


Najee Harris: 14 carries, 110 yards.


Henry Ruggs III: Four receptions, 148 yards and two touchdowns.