Former Alabama quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa will face off on Sunday Night Football as members of NFL teams that currently have the best records in the league at 5-1. What is the history between the teammates during their time at Alabama?
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The History of Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts at Alabama
This is the first time the former Alabama teammates will face off in their NFL careers. In regard to their college careers, the two have an interesting history.
At Alabama, Hurts was the star quarterback upon Tagovailoa’s arrival in 2017. Hurts had won a national championship as the Crimson Tide starter in 2016 and led them to another championship game appearance the following year.
In 2017, No. 4-ranked Alabama entered the College Football Playoff title game against Georgia with Hurts leading the way. After struggling during the game, Hurts was benched, and freshman QB Tagovailoa took the field in his place as Nick Saban hoped he would spark some momentum in the passing game.
Tagovailoa then led two touchdown drives and two field-goal drives in a comeback that sent the game into overtime. He threw a 41-yard walk-off touchdown to now Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith to win the game.
Tagovailoa then took over the starting role at Alabama and thrived under center. In 2018, he threw for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns, adding 190 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
In the 2018 SEC Championship Game, Hurts entered the game for an injured Tagovailoa and led two touchdown drives in the final minutes of the game to beat Georgia 35-28.
Hurts then transferred to Oklahoma, where he finished the 2019 season as a runner-up for the Heisman and led the team to the College Football Playoff. He thrived at OU and had his best college season, passing for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 1,298 yards and tacking on 20 more touchdowns.
MORE: Why Did Jalen Hurts Leave Alabama?
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa was drafted No. 5 overall by Miami, while Hurts was taken by Philadelphia in Round 2 (53 overall). The two have emerged as some of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Hurts finished second in last season’s MVP voting and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance. Tagovailoa, meanwhile, currently leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns this season.
“It’s been great to see the things he’s been able to do over his career,” Hurts said of Tagovailoa. “Hopefully, hoping for continued success.”
Tagovailoa also had nothing but positive remarks to make about Hurts in his press conference.
“I got a lot of respect for Jalen. He’s been a great competitor since I got there to Alabama,” Tagovailoa said. “He’s been a special player since I’ve been there, and he’s been a special player throughout his entire college career.”