Crimson Tide stuns the Bulldogs in overtime miracle
After two tough fought college football playoff games were played, the stage was set for the national championship game. For the first time in the playoff’s four year history, two teams from the same conference, the Southeastern Conference, would be in the biggest game of the season. The SEC’s two best teams, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide, would be fighting for a chance to win the hardware.
The Crimson Tide had been in the National Championship game the previous two years before this matchup, with their last win coming over Clemson in 2016. Unlike Alabama, the Bulldogs had never even been in the playoffs and had not won a national title since 1980. Alabama has been a force to be reckoned with in college football, winning 17 National Championships and being arguably one of the best football programs ever.
The 2018 national championship games were played on Monday, January 8th, and is one that will go down in history. After Alabama was shut out in the first half, head coach Nick Saban made what may be seen as a risky move that might not have paid off. He benched their sophomore starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, and replaced him with the backup quarterback and true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa. It was a coaching decision that helped ‘Bama raise the trophy.
Georgia, after leading the game 20-10 in the third quarter, did not score another point in regulation, while Alabama offense thrived when it most needed to. Tagovailoa made a game-saving touchdown pass with a little bit more than three minutes left in in regulation gameplay. After the Alabama defense forced Georgia to punt the ball all Tagovailoa had to do was get them in field goal range, and they would have a chance at stunning the Georgia Bulldogs. Their hope of winning the game in regulation would not last long though when the kicker for the Crimson Tide, Andy Pappanastos, missed a game-winning 36-yard field goal.
In overtime, Alabama won the coin flip and started on defense. After Georgia’s kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, made a season-saving 51-yard field goal, the Alabama offense was set to take the field. Tagovailoa was sacked on the first play, and the odds for Georgia looked increasingly better until Tagovailoa threw a dagger 41-yard touchdown pass.
Alabama won its fifth title under Nick Saban and continued their football dynasty. Despite their come-from-behind victory against Georgia, Alabama is ranked second in the preseason poll behind Georgia. The top five is rounded out by Clemson, Ohio State, and Auburn. After Monday night’s game, fans will have to wait two months until spring practice starts again, and then wait until September to see how well The Crimson Tide can defend their title and which teams will be tough competitions for the defending national champs.