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Tua Tagovailoa’s Remarkable Success

By BJ Bennett
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There isn't much of an all-time parallel for all that Tua Tagovailoa is doing.

History simply hasn't seen many players like Tua Tagovailoa -- and the focus here isn't on his unprecedented and now-iconic performance in last season's national championship game. That, alone, made Tagovailoa a legend; that, apparently, was just the beginning. Even after playing merely a few series in Saturday's 56-14 win over Louisiana, Tagovailoa just continues to build on his remarkable, record-setting success. Given the program he plays for and the pressure he stepped into, there isn't much of an all-time parallel for all that Tagovailoa is doing.

The single season FBS record for passing efficiency was recently set by reigning Heisman Trophy winner and number one overall NFL Draft pick Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma at 196.9. Currently, Tagovailoa's rating is at 238.3. 

This fall, Tagovailoa is 66-for-88 for 1,161 yards, with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He ranks number one in the country with his unprecedented passer rating and slots second in both completion percentage at 75% and yards per pass attempt with 13.2. Tagovailoa, for good measure, also has 115 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. Keep in mind, he has accomplished the aforementioned without taking a single snap in any fourth quarter.  

Alabama, with Tagovailoa out in front, leads all of college football with 54.2 points per game and has scored at least three more touchdowns than any other team. For point of reference, the Crimson Tide, with touchdowns alone, have scored more points than Arkansas and Tennessee, their next two road opponents, combined. Notably, Alabama ranks second in the nation at 59.7% on third down conversions and with 8.23 yards per offensive play. Per ESPN's rating index, the Crimson Tide have the most efficient attack in the country.  

In addition to his unfathomable overall production and proficiency, Tagovailoa has continued to be absolutely staggering when it matters most, not surprising given his formal introduction this past January. Tagovailoa, on third downs this year, is 18-of-21 passing for 392 yards with seven touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 352.51. We haven't yet seen him in the fourth quarter in 2018 because he has been so effective, none of the final periods have mattered. Tagovailoa was at his best in Alabama's biggest game to date, throwing for 387 yards and scoring five total times in a 45-23 victory over Texas A&M. 

Entering Saturday's outing with Arkansas, Tagovailoa has touchdown passes in three of his last nine throws. No defense has been able to keep up. At this point, the box score barely can.

Tagovailoa, early competition with the talented Jalen Hurts aside, has somehow exceeded the highest of expectations. Not long after rewriting college football history with his relief performance and dramatic game-winning throw in the national title game, Tagovailoa has only added to the narrative. We had already not seen anything quite like that; now we have not seen anything quite like this.

Fresh off a championship where he was the catalyst for the moment, Tagovailoa, still in the first half of his first season as starter, has found a way to be better than best.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports