– Former college football coach Tommy Tuberville beat former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Tuesday’s Alabama Republican Senate runoff.

Familiar to Alabamians from his decade as Auburn University’s head football coach, Tuberville, 65, is positioned for a strong challenge against Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones. With Alabama’s strong GOP tilt, the seat is widely viewed as the Republicans’ best chance for a pickup as they try to maintain their thin Senate majority.

Sessions, 73, was wounded by President Donald Trump’s criticism after he recused himself in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump endorsed Tuberville after Alabama’s March primary, when Sessions finished just ahead of Tuberville with a third of the vote but well shy of the majority required for the nomination. The president tweeted: “3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville @TTuberville, the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”

Tuberville ran a risk-averse campaign, declining media interviews and Sessions’ challenges to debate in the closing weeks. Despite Alabama’s fundamental Republican advantage, Tuberville is almost certain to face more scrutiny in a general election campaign against Jones.

Sessions has maintained loyalty to Trump, noting his early decision to back Trump and arguing that he would be more effective in advancing Trump’s agenda.

When he wasn’t defending his loyalty to the president, Sessions tried to focus on his long history in office and questions about Tuberville’s background.

“You know me,” Sessions told voters during a recent campaign stop. “You know I can be trusted.”

In 21 seasons as a head coach, Tuberville won 159 games with Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. He stepped down at Cincinnati after the Bearcats went 4-8 in 2016.