Alabama's Jaylen Waddle shakes off vicious facemask penalty on electric punt return TD

Alabama wide receiver <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/292117/" data-ylk="slk:Jaylen Waddle">Jaylen Waddle</a> had an epic punt return TD vs. LSU. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle had an epic punt return TD vs. LSU. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

In just one play, Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle proved why he is one of the most exciting players in college football. 

With his team trailing LSU 10-0 late in the first quarter, Waddle was lined up deep to receive a punt. When Waddle fielded the kick, LSU’s Racey McMath was right in his face and got a handful of facemask as Waddle looked to advance up the field. 

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It wouldn’t matter. Waddle somehow shook off the vicious facemask and escaped to his left with a convoy of blockers in front of him. He let his speed take things from there and raced 77 yards for a highlight-reel touchdown. 

Waddle’s punt-return score, the second of his career, cut LSU’s lead to 10-7 with 1:14 left in the quarter. 

To that point in the quarter, not much had gone right for the Crimson Tide. Tua Tagovailoa, in his first start after returning from an ankle injury, fumbled at the LSU 8-yard line on Alabama’s first drive. 

From there, LSU marched right down the field and took a 7-0 lead on a 92-yard drive. Alabama’s next drive ended when punter Ty Perine failed to field a snap and fumbled. On the next play, an Alabama interception was wiped off the board because the Tide had 12 men on the field on the play. Instead of a turnover, the Alabama defense allowed an LSU field goal. 

Waddle’s punt return would give the Tide some much-needed positive vibes entering the second quarter, but it was not enough to completely flip the momentum as LSU went on to win 46-41.

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