The highly anticipated match-up between Alabama and Georgia finally came to light in downtown Atlanta, Georgia in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the heart of SEC country. And now instead of playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, the stakes were higher, the National Title Game.
For Georgia, after the second drive, the game went as planned. The dogs ran the ball, but they also threw the ball very well. That was one of the questions coming into the game, would Georgia let Jake Fromm throw the ball on this Alabama defense? and they did.
Calvin and Riley Ridley exchange jerseys post game 👌🏾 #UGAvsBAMA #NationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/dNtVJxC4VT
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 9, 2018
After the first drive, where Fromm threw an interception, Georgia let Fromm lead this team. The game started off slow as expected with these two pro-style offenses. Alabama looked like they would score first on their first drive of the game, but their kicker would shank a field goal.
Georgia would later go on a 14 play drive that would set up Georgia for the first score of the game, and that is when the game started to take off for Georgia.
Jake Fromm diced up the Alabama secondary like Matt Ryan in last years Super Bowl (pun intended).
By half-time Jake Fromm and the Georgia offense looked as if they would shock the world.
Alabama had no answer for the Georgia offense, let alone any answer as to how to score on the Georgia Defense.
Alabama quarterback, Jalen Hurts, was complete ineffective against Georgia. Hurts at the end of the first half had only thrown 8 passes and completed 3. That would be all she wrote for Hurts in the national title game, as Nick Saban benched the 25-2 starter for the 5-star freshman quarterback, Tau Tagovailoa.
Jalen hurts being taken out after the 1st half and still supporting tau tagovailoa all the way down to the last play is the definition of a true team mate.
— Rob Allgood (@AllgoodRob) January 9, 2018
The Freshman quarterback was highly recruited coming out of high school, and many wounder if he possibly could win take the starting quarterback job away from the incumbent, Jalen Hurts, during the season.
But in the national title game and down 13-0 going into halftime, Nick Saban would pull his starter, for a guy who has done only mop-up duty in games.
Tau really sparked the comeback.
Tau would lead Alabama back, completing 14 of 24 for 166 yards and 3 touchdown; the last being the game winner.
Tau wasn’t the only Freshman on the field for Alabama in the pivotal moments in the fourth quarter. Alabama’s 1st-team all- American offensive tackle went down with an apparent ankle injury.
Alabama would throw 5-star offensive tackle, Alex Leatherwood, into the game to block for Tau. Alabama would also put in 5-star running back, Najee Harris, in the game as well. Najee provided fresh legs for Alabama, something they needed all game. Harris would end the game with 6 carries for 64 yards, with majority of his yards coming in the fourth quarter.
That’s not all.
In overtime, Tau, a freshman, would throw a beautiful 41-yard pass to another freshman, DeVonta Smith to win the National Title game. All these decisions came in the second half.
What a game. What a finish.
Alabama does what Alabama does. pic.twitter.com/OITczvp4n1
— ESPN (@espn) January 9, 2018
Decisions like the ones Nick Saban made in the second half is why he is the greatest head coach in college football history. Nick Saban ties former Alabama head coach, Bear Bryant, at 6 National Titles in the poll era.
Featured photo from The42: Rusty Costanza/PA Images