Freshman Quarterback Stuns Georgia in Title Game
ATLANTA (AP) — A 13-point halftime lead wasn't enough against Alabama. Neither was a 20-7 advantage in the third quarter, or a field goal on the first possession of overtime.
The Crimson Tide earned their fifth national championship since 2009 by outlasting SEC-rival Georgia 26-23 in OT. Tua Tagovailoa threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith on the Crimson Tide's second play of overtime to complete the comeback victory over the Bulldogs in Atlanta. The freshman quarterback was sacked for a 16-yard loss on the previous play before sending Alabama to its 11th national championship.
Georgia had the ball first in overtime, and Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 51-yard field goal. The long kick came after Andy Pappanastos missed from 37 yards out in the final seconds of regulation.
Tagovailoa entered the game at the start of the third quarter with the Tide trailing 13-0. He led Alabama to two touchdowns and two field goals in regulation, including a game-tying, seven-yard scoring strike to Calvin Ridley on fourth-and-4 with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.
Tagaovailoa was 14 of 24 for 166 yards after replacing Hurts, who completed just three of eight passes for 21 yards.
Jake Fromm was 16 of 32 for 232 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He heaved an 80-yard scoring pass to Mecole Hardman to put Georgia ahead 20-7 with 6:52 left in the third period before Alabama came storming back.
Hardman also had a one-yard TD run for the Bulldogs, who end up 13-2. Georgia is still seeking its first national title since 1980.
It's the sixth national title for Alabama coach Nick Saban, tying him with former Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant for the most all time.