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Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures hip, helicoptered to hospital

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) is carted off the field after getting injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa injured his hip being dragged down late in the first half on what was likely his final series of the day and No. 4 Alabama went on to beat Mississippi State 38-7 on Saturday.

Tagovailoa was injured after a scramble when he was tackled from behind by Bulldogs linebacker Leo Lewis. The star quarterback needed help getting to his feet and was carted off the field with 3:01 left in the second quarter.

The junior had been nursing an ankle injury that needed surgery four weeks ago and caused him to miss a game and a half. Alabama coach Nick Saban said the injury Saturday was unrelated to the ankle. Saban called it a “freak injury.” Saban told ESPN at halftime the plan was to remove Tagovailoa from the game before the series when the quarterback was injury. Alabama was already up 35-7, but it was decided to let Tagovailoa play one possession to get some work in the two-minute drill.

Alabama officials confirmed Tagovailoa was flown by helicopter to the St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 14 of 18 for 256 yards and two touchdown passes against Mississippi State, giving him 31 TD passes on the season. He was replaced in the second half by Mac Jones, who went 7 for 11 for 94 yards.

The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) were coming off a 46-41 loss to LSU that nudged it out of College Football Playoff position to fifth in the latest selection committee rankings. Now the Crimson Tide is facing the possibility of trying to impress the committee without Tagovailoa, the Heisman Trophy runner-up from last season and a potential top-10 selection in the NFL draft.

Tommy Stevens passed for 82 yards and ran for 96 for Mississippi State (4-6, 2-5).

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