Should Tua Have Played? Media and Fans Sound Off on The Alabama Quarterback's 'Serious' Injury

The hosts of ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday morning said Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should only be played during an emergency when the Crimson Tide faced SEC West foe Mississippi State for a noon kickoff.

Tagovailoa played in a loss to LSU last week in his first game back from surgery on an injured ankle. Playing a Mississippi State team Saturday that has a losing record, there was speculation Tagovailoa might not play at all this week, or even next week at home against Western Carolina, which would give him time to heel for the Nov. 30 game at Auburn.

None of that happened, though, as Tagovailoa started Saturday's game in Starkville, Mississippi. He looked crisp through the first quarter and a half before taking an awkward hit. Tagovailoa sustained an apparent hip injury. He was later carted off the field.

ESPN sideline reporter Molly McGrath said Tagovailoa screamed in pain, and that the training staff "had to pick him up and carry him off the cart."

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said the plan was to let Tagovailoa run the team's two-minute drill before halftime, and then take him out for the rest of the game.

"First, we've got to block them better so he doesn't get sacked. It's too bad," Saban said.

Alabama won the game, 38-7, and Tagovailoa had already been taken to a hospital in Birmingham. But not before media, players, fans and armchair quarterbacks began sounding off on Twitter.

Things considered among the tweets were:

  • Alabama was ranked No. 5 and jockeying for a spot in the College Football Playoffs
  • Saban makes millions of dollars to make health decisions on his players
  • Tagovailoa was among the top five Heisman Trophy favorites

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Saban called Tagovailoa's injury "very serious."

Russell Okung, an offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers, said "Nick Saban makes 4M this year, Tua Tagovailoa works for free and his draft stock goes down."

Stewart Mandel is editor-in-chief of The Athletic and a longtime college football writer. He said coaches don't go into games in the SEC West assuming they'll come out with a win, even if their best players are healthy.

"No coach thinks this way. Nick Saban does not go into a game assuming he's going to beat Mississippi State even with Tua," Mandel wrote in reply to State being a sure win.

One member wrote, "Did I hear that right. Did the commentators put this on Tua more-so than Saban?


Nick, to me, didn't look remotely concerned. He looked aggravated, like Tua's injury was a bother to him. That's just my perspective.

Hope Tua is okay though. Didn't look good."

"More from Saban on Tua: "Godspeed to him and his entire family ... and hope this is not so serious it has any long term impact on his future," Alex Sacarborough wrote.

Scarborough added, "Nick Saban says Tua has a hip injury that will be evaluated and "isn't related to any injury he had." He said, It's a "freak injury" you seldom see."

Alabama is the only team to make the College Football Playoff all five years since its inception. The Crimson Tide appeared to be on the outside looking in after a 46-41 loss last week to LSU and No. 5 ranking this week. The Tide would need some help to get into the playoff when final pairings are announced a little less than a month from now.

The CFP committee does take injuries to star players in consideration, according to past years in their playoff selections.

Tua Tagovailoa Alabama quarterback
Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is helped off the field after being injured on a play in the first half of a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images