HAWAII GROWN: Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, Kana’i Mauga’s huge first start

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) walked off the field after suffering a high-ankle sprain against Tennessee during the first half. Associated Press photo.

Alabama junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered what coach Nick Saban called a high-ankle sprain in Saturday’s 35-13 win over Tennessee.

Tagovailoa was 11-for-12 for 155 yards with his lone incompletion just the second interception he has thrown this season when he was injured in the second quarter.

Saban said after the game that he expected Tagovailoa to be out “a week or two” but recovery times for a high-ankle sprain can be a lot longer. Tagovailoa is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday.

“He said he felt like he twisted his ankle,” Saban told reporters after the game.

The injury is to the other ankle from the one that bothered him last season. Backup Mac Jones came in to replace Tagovailoa and finish the game. Alabama also has Tua’s brother, Taulia, a true freshman, on its roster.

Alabama hosts Arkansas next week and then has a well-timed bye before the LSU game on Nov. 9. Tagovailoa entered the week as the front-runner in the Heisman Trophy race.

>> Former Honolulu Star-Advertiser defensive player of the year and current USC sophomore linebacker Kana’i Mauga made the most of his first collegiate start on Saturday against Arizona.

The 2018 Waianae alumnus, who had made nine tackles in six games this season, finished with a career-high 13 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception in a 41-14 win over the Wildcats.

Mauga started for injured linebacker Palaie Gaoteote. Senior linebacker Jordan Iosefa, a 2016 Saint Louis alumnus, has yet to play this season after injuring his knee in August. Running back Vavae Malepeai (Mililani ’16) also missed the game with an injury. True freshmen Kaulana Makaula (Punahou ’19) and Maninoa Tufono (Punahou ’19) both played with Makaula recording three tackles and a pass breakup and Tufono adding two solo tackles.

Mauga said after the game, “it was a team effort. Palaie was right there by my side. He was just there telling me all of my rights from wrongs and coaching me up on the sideline, and especially Jordan Iosefa … it was just a great experience.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


  1. Hau’ulaBoy October 19, 2019 11:13 pm

    Way to go. This kid reps the West Side very well. Played for Waianae and never heard or saw this kid put his head down. Even when Waianae wasn’t having a great season. That shows great character. Wish this kid a great career.

  2. Hau’ulaBoy October 19, 2019 11:33 pm

    Dang. Poor Tua. Hope this doesn’t hurt his Heisman race. QB’s from St. Louis not having a good week. Hope they both bounce back and bring it when they get the chance!!! RR4L

  3. Aiea 7 October 20, 2019 7:00 am

    too bad about tua’s injury, but this might be a blessing in disguise. obviously this injury will factor into the Heisman trophy race; but winners of this trophy, especially qbs, have not done professionally. believe tua can play professionally and without the curse of the Heisman win on his back, he should do well. lot’s of examples of Heisman qbs who have not done well, johnny, Winston, Mariota, etc.

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