Alabama benched starting quarterback Jalen Hurts after halftime of Monday’s National Championship against Georgia. It ended paying dividends, to say the least, as Alabama secured its sixth national championship under Nick Saban.
Saban turned to five-star freshman backup Tua Tagovailoa to start the second half, and Tagovailoa rewarded him quickly.
For a true freshman quarterback, it was a performance we’ll remember for a long time.
Alabama scored its first points of the game on Tagovailoa’s second drive.
Tagovailoa threw a 6-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Henry Ruggs III, to make it a 13-7 game, and give the Tide momentum they needed.
That was nice. Much nicer was a 9-yard scramble on a third-and-7 earlier in the drive, where Tagovailoa eluded a horde of Bama rushers, reversed the field, and muscled his way past the line to preserve Bama’s drive.
He threw an interception in the third quarter that he appeared to mean to throw out of bounds, but was hit on the play. But the Tide stayed persistent.
He would tie the game with a beautiful off-balance throw.
Down 20-13 and faced with a fourth-and-four from Georgia’ seven-yard line, the freshman threw a touchdown pass to tie the game at 20 with less than four minutes to go:
Then, he sealed his legacy.
The game went into overtime after Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter and another missed Alabama field goal. Georgia got just a field goal on their possession, a 51-yarder from Rodrigo Blankenship.
After taking a 16-yard sack that placed Alabama at Georgia’s 41-yard line, he threw a touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith to win the game.
Then what made Tua fans all around the world, his first interview after the game, he talks about Jesus Christ.