Alabama Secures 26-23 OT Win Vs. Georgia In CFP Championship Game After Switching QB At Halftime
Alabama vs. Georgia CFP Game Score
Alabama had to make one major change at halftime, however. Coach Nick Saban decided to replace sophomore starter Jalen Hurts with freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who had never started a college game. Hurts had started 28 of the 29 other games he had played in with the Crimson Tide.
Tagovailoa delivered a stunning performance to lift Alabama to their 12th national title and fifth under Saban.
“I thought Tua would give us a better chance,” Saban said, and he turned out to be correct.
The freshman threw for 166 yards in the second half and overtime, and three touchdowns including the winner. The latter was an excellently executed 41-yard pass on 2nd-and-26 that freshman DeVonta Smith deftly caught for his first reception of the game and that gave the Crimson Tide their only lead of the evening.
Coincidentally enough, Georgia Coach Kirby Smart spent nine years as an assistant to Saban at Alabama before taking over for the Bulldogs two years ago. On Monday, Smart became the sixth former Saban assistant to lose to him (they are 0-12 over all).
“We told everybody at halftime there was no question they were going to him because they were struggling and they needed some momentum,” Smart said. “He provided them some juice.”
Georgia’s QB Jake Fromm, another freshman, had led the Bulldogs to 13 victories this season and fell just short of giving the team its first national title since the 1980 season.
Even Hurts — who was 25-2 as a starter heading into the game — praised his coach’s decision to replace him.
Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 37-yard field goal that would have secured the win for the tide in the final seconds of regulation, but Georgia then took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime. This came after Fromm was sacked for a 13-yard loss.
With six total national trophies, Saban has tied Bear Bryant, who won six titles at Alabama. Saban’s other championship win came at Louisiana State, and Monday’s victory helped momentarily wipe away the memory of the Tide’s brutal loss to Clemson in last year’s championship game.
Shortly after the victory, somebody attempted to put a game ball in Saban’s hands to commemorate his team’s latest achievement.
“I don’t think you give anybody a game ball,” said Saban. “It has to be a team ball, and that’s exactly what we’ll do with it.”
The game was also not bereft of political tension, as President Donald Trump was in attendance and was reportedly booed by fans, while Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough yelled what sounded like “F— Trump” in the tunnel on the way to the field.
However, Scarbrough later tweeted that was a lie and that he said “Georgia” and not the President’s name. The local NCAA chapter said in a statement they were upset by Trump’s presence at the game.
If y’all really listen I said Georgia smh about y’all people in this world https://t.co/VXKFBk7Vnh
— Bo Scarbrough (@starbo06) January 9, 2018