Alabama beats Georgia in overtime to win another memorable National Championship game
ATLANTA – Leave it to the College Football Playoff to provide an impressive amount of drama when a champion is decided. Alabama has played a big part in doing so.
After winning a memorable title game over Clemson in 2016, then losing a classic to the Tigers in 2017, the Crimson Tide outdid themselves in their title tilt with Georgia at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
This time Nick Saban’s team used a comeback to make this championship game epic, rallying from a 13-point halftime deficit behind a freshman quarterback to beat the Bulldogs 27-23 in overtime on Monday night.
Tua Tagovailoa, who replaced a struggling Jalen Hurts at quarterback in the second half, won the game in the extra session with a 41-yard touchdown pass to DaVonta Smith to set of a celebration for the Crimson Tide and their fans. It’s the 17th National Championship for Alabama and the sixth overall for Saban, who ties Paul “Bear” Bryant for the FBS record.
For Georgia, who was playing the championship game just an hour from their Athens campus, it’s a bitter pill to swallow as the school’s championship drought extends to 38 years.
It seemed for a majority of the game that Bulldogs fans would be able to celebrate their first National Title since 1980 after a strong start to the game. Mecole Hardman’s one-yard run gave Georgia a 13-0 halftime lead as their defense shut down the tied and kept Hurts struggling.
Because of that, Saban made the move to freshman Tagovailoa and it paid off. He got the Crimson Tide on the board with a six-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III to make it 13-7. Even after Georgia got it back on an 80-yard touchdown throw from Jake Fromm to Hardman, Tagovailoa remained poised.
A turnover led to a Andy Pappanastos field goal in the third and a 71-yard drive led to another Alabama kick to cut the lead to seven. Tagovailoa got the Crimson Tide the lead when he found Calvin Ridley for a touchdown on fourth down with 3.49 to play. It appeared he’d led the game-winning drive in the final seconds, but Pappanastos’ game-winning field goal attempt went wide to force overtime.
Rodrigo Blankenship saved a bad offensive series for Georgia in the first overtime session with a 55-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a short-lived lead. Tagovailoa got sacked for a loss of 16-yard on his first overtime play, but made it up with the 41-yard strike to Smith that put Alabama on top of the College Football world again.