Ta’amu vs. Tagovailoa – Ole Miss plays host to top-ranked Alabama on Saturday

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It will be a reunion of Hawaii quarterbacks on Saturday in the SEC as top-ranked Alabama led behind Tua Tagovailoa will travel to Ole Miss to face Jordan Ta’amu’s rebels.

Tagovailoa, a sophomore from Saint Louis and the senior Ta’amu have both gotten off to an impressive start to the 2018 season. Both players rank in the top-seven in the nation in quarterback rating and having combined for 13 touchdowns with no interceptions.

TUA TAGOVAILOA:

25-35, 455 yds, 6 TD, 0 INT,  237.20 QBR (2nd in nation)

JORDAN TA’AMU

45-65, 784 yds, 7 TD, 0 INT 206.09 QBR (7th in nation)

KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello spoke with Ta’amu recently about the anticipated matchup against the reigning national championship game MVP and 2016 Cover2 Marcus Mariota Award Winner as state player of the year.

“It gets me super excited, it’s just two Hawaii guys that when we were little was always training to be in the SEC, to be one of the top football players in college and it’s going to be a showdown. It’s going to come down to Hawaii vs Hawaii and I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited and I know Tua is excited too,” said Ta’amu. “There’s so many flashbacks. Playing against a Hawaii kid and just Hawaii against Hawaii and it’s going to feel like home again and I’m super excited for it.” 

ASSOCIATED PRESS GAME PREVIEW

No. 1 Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Mississippi (2-0, 0-0), 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Alabama by 21.

Series record: Alabama leads 49-11-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Alabama is trying to continue its impressive early-season play in its first Southeastern Conference game. The Crimson Tide has defeated 75 consecutive unranked teams under Nick Saban. Ole Miss will go for the huge upset under second-year coach Matt Luke. The Rebels have given Alabama trouble in the past, winning in 2014 and 2015, but the Crimson Tide crushed Ole Miss 66-3 last year.

KEY MATCHUP

The Ole Miss passing game against Alabama’s secondary. The Rebels have some of the most talented receivers in the nation with A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge. They’ll go against an Alabama secondary that’s relatively young and inexperienced by the program’s high standards.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: QB Tua Tagovailoa. The sophomore has looked fantastic through two games and hasn’t thrown an interception. Now he’ll try to keep that going on the road in a hostile environment.

Ole Miss: RB Scottie Phillips. The junior college transfer has been an impact player through two games, running for 311 yards and four touchdowns in wins over Texas Tech and Southern Illinois. He’s averaging 10 yards per carry.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ole Miss has a 1-12 record all-time against the top-ranked team in the nation. … Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu ranks first in the SEC and second nationally with 392 yards passing per game. … The Rebels had two defensive touchdowns against SIU, including an 88-yard interception return by Vernon Dasher. … Saban is coaching his 65th games as the No. 1 team in the country. He has a 57-7 record in those games. … Alabama has allowed just 187 touchdowns since the start of the 2009 season. That’s nearly 50 less than the No. 2 team, LSU. … Saban has a 13-3 record against Ole Miss during his career. He lost once while coaching at LSU in 2001 and twice at Alabama in 2014 and ’15.

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