Alabama Wins National Championship, Capping Legendary Comeback With a Walk-Off TD
Freshman Tua Tagovailoa was the hero of the Crimson Tide’s victory over Georgia.
A snooze-worthy first half was followed by a nail-biter of a second half that gave way to a heart-stopping overtime in Tuesday’s all-S.E.C. College Football Playoff title game.
In the end, it was Alabama that emerged victorious, knocking off Georgia 26-23 in a dramatic game that gave head coach Nick Saban his sixth career national title.
“I’m so proud of our players, the way they came back in the game. The first half was not very good,” Saban said after the win.
He was right. There were 12 seconds left in the first half when the game produced its first highlight. With Georgia up 6-0 on two field goals, quarterback Jake Fromm went into motion, leaving wide receiver Mecole Hardman ready to take the snap. And that’s what he did, running the ball in from one yard out.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 9, 2018
After the half, Alabama coach Nick Saban made a decision that paid off hamsomely, benching starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, who’d struggled through two quarters, in favor freshman of Tua Tagovailoa.
“I just thought we had to throw the ball in the game and I thought he could do it better and he did,” Saban said when asked why he inserted his backup. Tagovailoa’s first drive was shaky, but Saban stuck with the kid, who repaid his coach’s confidence by leading his team on its first scoring drive.
— Fantasy Sports Degens (@FantasyDegens) January 9, 2018
The game’s first explosive play came with 6:52 left in the third quarter when Fromm dropped a dime into the hands of Hardman, who shook off his defender, tip-toed to stay in bounds and raced 80 yards for the score.
— The Fan Page (@TheFanPage247) January 9, 2018
That was followed by another explosive play of a different variety. Alabama linebacker Mekhi Brown blew up, first on the field then on his own sideline.
Mekhi Brown is gonna have to run back to Tuscaloosa if he keeps it up pic.twitter.com/iQwZPPnSfZ
— CFB Gif'er (@CFBgifer) January 9, 2018
The rest of the game belonged to Tagovailoa. First the freshman led Alabama down to Georgia’s seven and, on fourth-and-seven, fired a bullet to Riley Ridley to tie the game.
Tua to Calvin Ridley.
We're tied at 20.
What a game. pic.twitter.com/bDLAuln84g
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) January 9, 2018
Alabama’s defense stuffed Georgia and gave the ball back to Tagovailoa with a chance to win the game. He did his part, driving the offense to well within field goal range. But then this happened.
Georgia started on offense and did absolutely nothing. Actually, they did less than nothing, losing nine yards on a sack before be-goggled kicker Rodrigo Blankenship nailed a 51-yard field goal.
But then Tagovailoa got the ball back and after taking an awful sack of his, he delivered a 41-yard walkoff bomb to Devonta Smith.
Ball game. Bama wins. And the Bulldogs are feeling glum.