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Alabama photo by Kent Gidley / Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa prepares to take one of his final snaps of the season during Saturday's 38-7 win at Mississippi State.

Alabama has won a staggering 148 college football games the past 12 seasons.

Saturday's 38-7 triumph at Mississippi State was the most disappointing of them all.

The Crimson Tide's ninth victory in 10 games this season came at a cost, with junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's season ended by a dislocated right hip during the second quarter. Last season's Heisman Trophy runner-up was assembling a typical performance, having completed 14 of 18 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Also leaving the game early for the Tide were receiver Henry Ruggs III (bruised ribs) and defensive linemen Raekwon Davis (sprained ankle) and DJ Dale (twisted knee).

"It's just the wear and tear of the season," junior tailback Najee Harris told reporters after admitting Tagovailoa's injury soured the win. "It's about that time when people go down."

Alabama announced Sunday night that Tagovailoa was being flown to Houston, where he was scheduled undergo hip surgery Monday.

The Tide have been losing players since inside linebackers Joshua McMillon and Dylan Moses sustained season-ending injuries in August. Defensive lineman LaBryan Ray has yet to return from a foot injury that happened during the third game, and coach Nick Saban will likely update the latest round of setbacks during his weekly news conference Monday in Tuscaloosa.

The Tide dropped behind Georgia and into fifth in Sunday's Associated Press poll, mirroring where those two programs stood in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings.

"I don't really make a lot of decisions based on worrying about guys getting hurt," Saban said Saturday in a news conference, "or else I would have taken Raekwon out and Ruggs out and everybody else who got hurt today out."

Tagovailoa, who on Oct. 20 had surgery to treat a high-ankle sprain that happened the day before against Tennessee, returned to action in a 46-41 loss to LSU on Nov. 9. In that pressure-packed contest, the 6-foot-1, 218-pounder threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

Saban said Tagovailoa worked out in front of staff members Saturday morning before pregame drills even started.

"He was at least as good as he was a week ago in terms of his ability to move," Saban said. "So he played, and I thought he played really well. We hate that he got injured. We hate it for him and for his family.

"I hate it if anybody on our team gets injured."

Longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said Sunday that Tagovailoa's durability issues this season and last could result in him being the third quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL draft behind LSU's Joe Burrow and Oregon's Justin Herbert. That assumes Tagovailoa bypasses his senior season, which is expected to be the case.

Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones replaced Tagovailoa in Starkville and helped the Tide take the air out of the game, completing seven of 11 passes for 94 yards.

"I thought Mac did a good job in the game, and I thought he had the right mindset," Saban said. "He practiced well all week, and I think he was well prepared for the game. We had confidence in him to go in and play."

 

Tide tidbits

Harris became the first player in Alabama history to score three first-quarter touchdowns. Western Carolina (3-8) of the Southern Conference travels this week to visit the Tide, who are 4-0 against the Catamounts by the combined score of 177-16.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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