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Andy Wittry | | September 20, 2021

Tua Tagovailoa: College football career, stats, highlights, records

Alabama dominates The Citadel, 50-17

Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson to a come-from-behind victory in the national championship game as a freshman, he was the Heisman Trophy runner-up as a sophomore and he was on pace to potentially contend for the Heisman again as a junior before suffering a season-ending injury. He finished his college career as one of the most efficient passers the sport has ever seen.

Here's everything you need to know about Tua Tagovailoa's college career.

The vitals on Tua Tagovailoa

School: Alabama
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6-0
Weight: 217 pounds
Years active: 2017-19

Here are Tua Tagovailoa's career stats in college. Scroll to the right to view the complete stats.

Year games completions attempts comp. % Yards Y/A TD int rating
2017 8 49 77 63.6 636 8.3 11 2 175.0
2018 15 245 355 69.0 3,966 11.2 43 6 199.4
2019 9 180 252 71.4 2,840 11.3 33 3 206.9
Career 32 474 684 69.2 7,442 10.9 87 11 199.1

Where did Tua Tagovailoa go to college?

Tua Tagovailoa attended the University of Alabama, where he started his career as Jalen Hurts' backup before entering the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and helping the Crimson Tide win the national championship. He then became Alabama's starter during the fall 2018 season and put together one of the most efficient passing seasons in the history of the sport.

What kind of prospect was Tua Tagovailoa in high school?

Tagovailoa was ranked as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2017 recruiting class and one of the top 40 players nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

What was Tua Tagovailoa's record in college?

In the 32 games in which Tua Tagovailoa played in college, Alabama went 30-2. He was 22-2 as a starter.

Records set by Tua Tagovailoa

Here are the records and statistical rankings set by Tagovailoa in college:

  • 1st in FBS history in career passing efficiency rating (min. 325 completions): 199.45
  • 1st in FBS history in percentage of passes for touchdowns in a season (min. 175 attempts): 12.1 percent (2018)
  • 1st in FBS history in percentage of passes for touchdowns in a career (min. 500 attempts): 12.7 percent
  • 1st in FBS history in average gain per play in a career (min. 7,500 yards): 9.84 yards
  • 1st in FBS history in career passing efficiency among players with 400-499 completions: 199.5
  • 1st in Alabama history in total offense per game in a career: 235.7 yards
  • 1st in Alabama history in touchdowns in a game: Seven touchdowns (Sept. 28, 2019 vs. Ole Miss)
  • 1st in Alabama history in touchdowns in a season: 48 touchdowns (2018)
  • 1st in Alabama history in touchdowns in a career: 96 touchdowns
  • 1st in Alabama history in completion percentage in a game (min. eight attempts): 100 percent (Sept. 29, 2018 vs. Louisiana)
  • 2nd in Alabama history in total offense in a season: 4,156 yards (2018)
  • 2nd, 3rd in Alabama history in total yards of offense per game in a season: 317.4 yards (2019); 277.1 yards per game (2018)
  • 2nd in Alabama history in yards per play in a game (min. 20 plays): 14.5 yards (Nov. 17, 2018 vs. The Citadel)
  • 2nd in Alabama history in passing yards in a season: 3,966 yards (2018)
  • 3rd in FBS history in passing efficiency rating in a season (min. 15 attempts per game): 199.4 (2018)
  • 3rd in Alabama history in total offense in a career: 7,782 yards
  • 3rd in Alabama history in career passing yards: 7,442 yards
  • 6th, 7th, 9th in Alabama history in total offense in a game: 432 yards; 419 yards; 413 yards

What were some of Tua Tagovailoa's best games in college?

Here are some of Tagovailoa's most notable performances in college:

College Football Playoff National Championship: Alabama 26, Georgia 23 (OT) | Jan. 8, 2018

With Alabama trailing SEC foe Georgia 13-0 at halftime of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Alabama coach Nick Saban sent then-backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to try to ignite the Crimson Tide's offense in the second half. Tagovailoa had backed up starter Jalen Hurts all season and he was 35-for-53 passing for 470 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in his reserve role in the regular season. So he had played some and performed very well — typically in the second halves of blowout wins — but this was the second half of the national championship game.

Given the circumstances, Tagovailoa was just what the doctor order. He went 14-for-24 passing for 166 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, including the game-winning strike to DeVonta Smith in overtime, giving the Crimson Tide another national championship.

Alabama 45, Texas A&M 23 | Sept. 22, 2018

For the second game in a row, Tagovailoa completed 73.3 percent of his passes as he threw for a then-career-high 387 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for another score, giving him five for the game. His first passing touchdown came 50 seconds into the game to who else but DeVonta Smith and Tagovailoa's final passing touchdown went for 57 yards to Henry Ruggs III.

Alabama 52, Auburn 21 | Nov. 24, 2018

Playing in his first Iron Bowl, Tagovailoa was exceptional, completing 25-of-32 passes (78.1 percent) for 324 yards and five touchdowns, without any interceptions, and he rushed for a touchdown as well, giving him six for the game. It was a thorough domination of Alabama's archrival.

Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34 | Dec. 29, 2018

In Tagovailoa's first and only College Football Playoff win as a starting quarterback, the sophomore quarterback powered a dominant first half as the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 28-0 lead over No. 4 seed Oklahoma in the game's first 17 minutes. When Oklahoma made the margin more respectable in the second half, Tagovailoa responded with two more touchdown passes — one to DeVonta Smith and another to Jerry Jeudy, which gave Tagovailoa 318 yards and four touchdowns for the game. His 88.9 completion percentage (24-for-27) was the third-best of his career, behind only his 8-for-8 performance against Louisiana in 2018 and his 11-for-12 effort against Tennessee in 2019.

Alabama 59, Ole Miss 31 | Sept. 28, 2019

Tagovailoa was responsible for seven touchdowns in this 28-point win, which was the most of his career. He completed 72 percent of his passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for a touchdown, too.

What awards did Tua Tagovailoa win in college?

Here are the awards and honors Tagovailoa won in college:

  • 2017 College Football Playoff national champion
  • 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Offensive MVP
  • 2018 Orange Bowl MVP
  • 2018 Sporting News College Football Player of the Tear
  • 2018 Maxwell Award winner
  • 2018 Walter Camp Award winner
  • 2018 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
  • 2018 consensus All-American
  • 2018 First Team All-SEC
  • 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up
  • 2019 Second Team All-SEC

What did people say about Tua Tagovailoa?

Former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, after Tagovailoa replaced him in the 2018 CFP National Championship and led Alabama to a win: "He just stepped in and did his thing. He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him."

Alabama coach Nick Saban, after Alabama won the 2018 CFP National Championship: "I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did. He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, after Alabama defeated Texas A&M 45-23 in 2018: "He's good. I mean he's good. He's got good people around him. I mean he's got really good people around him, and we tried to pressure him and he scrambled and they've got a good scheme, and they did a good job. He was very effective at what he did."

Former Arkansas coach Chad Morris, after Alabama defeated Arkansas 65-31 in 2018: "He is a fantastic leader and you can definitely see that. They do a good job of moving him around and his receivers do a good job of finding holes."

Saban, after Alabama defeated Auburn 52-21 in 2018: "I thought Tua was into it. His leadership was really important for our offense.

Saban, after Alabama defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl: "Our offense really controlled the tempo of the game. The only time we really got stopped in the game is when we stopped ourselves."

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