As the National Championship drew closer, there was a lot of debate on if the dynasty in Tuscaloosa was coming to an end. By the end of the game, the Alabama Crimson Tide put an end to that discussion as they came from behind to win their second national championship of the playoff era.
Turning The Tide
Going into the game, there was no doubt that Alabama still had one of the best defenses in the nation. Many looked to the offense and began to question if they could score enough point to hold off Georgia. All of the doubts seemed confirmed by halftime of the game as Alabama failed to score a single point and only entered the redzone once.
At halftime, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made an executive decision that many would question. Saban chose to put in their Freshman Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. It would be a godsend for the struggling Alabama offense that would immediately turn the tide. Tagovailoa would lead Alabama to their first point on the second drive of the second half. Making accurate throws to the many weapons in the receiving corps, this was something that Alabama fans had not seen all year.
Coach Nick Saban said after the game that he thought “we couldn’t run the ball well enough and that Tua would give us a better chance to win.”
Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide from a 13 point deficit to throw a 41-yard touchdown to win the game-winning in overtime. Tua said, “when your number is called, you need to do what you have to do to give your team the best opportunity to win.”
BAMA WINS. TUA CONFIRMED GOAT pic.twitter.com/O3KkQtolbv
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 9, 2018
Another Tough Loss for Georgia Fans
It has been a tough year for sports fans in the state of Georgia. Having both their professional and collegiate football teams make their respective championships and losing in overtime of both.
Georgia fans had high hopes coming into the game. Having won a thrilling game in the semi-finals against Oklahoma on the backs of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, Georgia hoped to pound the rock again a strong Alabama defense. Georgia ran the ball 45 times during the game with Chubb and Michel being 32 of those carries. While neither player peaked over 100 yards, they both combined for 123 of Georgia’s 365 yards in the game.
While Alabama was determined to stop Nick Chubb, the Bulldogs were still able to run the ball and use their running game to help their passing game. Freshman Jake Fromm completed 16/32 for 232 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. A good game, but not good enough.
When Alabama brought in their freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the second half, Georgia began to lose control of the game. After the game, Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart said that there was “no question” that Tagovailoa was coming in. Smart wanted his team to be ready, but in the end, it was enough to swing the momentum to Alabama’s favor.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) January 9, 2018
The Future Is Bright
While one team will celebrate their victory, the other will have to go back to the drawing board. Georgia will be losing a lot of their starters entering the 2018 season including both of their star running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Even with this in mind, the future is bright for the Bulldogs. Jake Fromm will be returning as the starting quarterback. He is expected to make a big leap as he becomes the focal point of the offense. Georgia is expected to look a lot different next year compared to this one.
Georgia also represents the number one recruiting class up to this point. Kirby Smart looked like one of the best as he was able to commit six 5 stars and twelve 4 stars in the early signing day in December. Georgia will be younger and still very talented. Coach Smart said that while this loss stings, they are not going anywhere.