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Old 01-09-2018, 01:55 AM
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Default Alabama 26 Georgia 23 (OT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

"He just stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said. "He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him." The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead of it but first Alabama will celebrate another national title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played in a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

"I could not believe it," he said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbably victory of his unmatched career.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation , Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from the pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing the poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

"After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play," Tagovailoa said. "I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open." Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense: Najee Harris at running back, Henry Ruggs III at receiver, Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

"I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama," Tagovailoa said. "Thank God he found me and we're here right now."

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star for the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

"I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against," Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Saban's top lieutenant, Kirby Smart, to coach the Bulldogs and bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban -- eight as his defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa -- quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its own division.

With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama and now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble -- second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nca...D=ansmsnnews11
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:17 AM
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Great game.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:19 AM
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Saban is a smart man, but making that QB change was the smartest decision I have ever seen in football. Took guts, patience, and an extreme amount of confidence to pull a guy with the record of Hurts and go with a true Freshman.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:44 AM
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I didn't get to watch the game, but it sounded like a gutsy call. I'm not a Bama fan, but you have to respect their program.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:22 AM
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What a game! The move to the backup QB will go down as one of the greatest coaching decisions to ever happen. Kid can ball and now Hurts will be playing somewhere else next year possibly with a 25-2 record because he didn’t show up to this year championship.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:26 AM
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Great game and good call by Saban to change QB’s in second half...I guess Hurt will be looking for a new school next year...
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:21 PM
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Saban took a desperate risk. An EDUCATED desperate risk. It worked out for him.

This Hawaiian kid is somebody I want to see next year! Smooth as Kentucky whiskey and football smart. He loves his mom, too.

Can't ask for more than that!!
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:13 PM
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This gamble worked out for Saban. Some may argue the gamble of replacing Kiffin before the national championship game last year did not.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Spud6 View Post
What a game! The move to the backup QB will go down as one of the greatest coaching decisions to ever happen. Kid can ball and now Hurts will be playing somewhere else next year possibly with a 25-2 record because he didn’t show up to this year championship.
I don't look for him to bail out just yet. I think he comes back next year and competes for the starting job, which i think he loses. But and a big but, I think if he stays then look at the wildcat package they can put in. He can run like a running back, and sometimes he can throw the ball. My biggest question mark going forward is Brian Daboll as the OC..I don't know if it was because of Hurts inability to throw downfield (Probably) or what, but this offense has been stale this season, I know he's no Lane Kiffin but he has been around in the NFL with little Success, then again it could all be me still tired from last night. LOL. There just hasnt been that explosiveness and like i said, It could be because of the QB play. One thing for sure, i think the lack of a QB has been solved. Tua is gonna be very good, and his younger brother may be just as good or better in high school. As a lifelong BAMA fan, i'm really excited to go see him play next season in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Westside View Post
This gamble worked out for Saban. Some may argue the gamble of replacing Kiffin before the national championship game last year did not.
That was a stupid gamble that cost them that game. I do believe Kiffin would have won that game. I think Kiffin wins with Hurts last night. In my post above this is what worries me as a fan for the future. I just don't know if Brian Daboll is the man for OC. It could have been Hurts limited his play calling, now with Tua in, it did open up last night somewhat. We shall see.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:37 PM
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I'm seeing a lot of people hating the decision of Saban taking Hurts out because the kid has went 25-2 as a starter and in some games carried the tide on his back. But the way I look at it is this is a business whether people want to see it as that or not. I know they are 17-23 year olds but this is some people's jobs on the line. You have to play to win the game especially in the biggest game of the year.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:28 AM
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Tua will solve a lot of ills in the Bama offense. Being able to throw it down field opens up the whole offense.
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