TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (HawaiiNewsNow) -In a game that was billed as the ‘Game of the Year’, the Tigers and Crimson Tide put on a show for college football fans around the world.
Just three weeks removed from ankle surgery, Ewa Beach’s Tua Tagovailoa returned to the gridiron Saturday in time to play in the much anticipated showdown.
The Crimson Tide made up a 20-point deficit to pull within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough, as the comeback effort fell short in a 46-41 loss in Tuscaloosa.
The loss marked No. 3 Alabama’s first loss to the No. 2 LSU Tigers since 2011, and their first home loss in four years.
“I thought his mobility was probably not 100 percent. But I thought he had short-area quickness in the pocket, maybe he couldn’t run 100 percent, maybe he was 90 percent, I don’t really know,” said Head Coach Nick Saban.
The former St. Louis Quarterback and Heisman hopeful has been off the gridiron since October, after suffering what Saban described as a high-ankle injury.
“The docs cleared him to play, they cleared him to practice all week. He practiced all week, he didn’t have any issues," Saban said at a post-game press conference. “He said he could play in the game, and he wanted to play in the game, and he thought he could go out there and do his job.”
Still, Saban described Tagovailoa as a “warrior.”
Tagovailoa threw for 418 yards to go along with four touchdowns an interception, and a fumble.