The Alabama Crimson Tide continue their domination leading many to pose the question, “who is the greatest college football coach of all time?”. For those of us that have lived in this era of the game, there would be few that would doubt the answer is Nick Saban. Last night, the Tide won their fifth title in the last nine years under Saban, 26-23, with a walk-off touchdown pass from true freshman Tua Tagovailoa to a true freshman, DeVonta Smith.
Georgia got rolling first by kicking two field goals to go with a Mecole Hardman one-yard score for a 13-0 lead. Their defense and Alabama’s lack of offense held the Tide scoreless in the first half. I don’t know about the rest of you, but despite the 13-point advantage, I believed that the Bulldogs were in trouble.
Tagovailoa was forced into action after starter, Jalen Hurts, failed to move the Tide offense. The kid responded by throwing for three second-half touchdowns showing America the arm he has in the process. After the game, he said “I don’t know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama,” Tagovailoa added. “Thank God he found me and we’re here right now.”
When the score 20-7 in favor of the Dawgz, many fans felt that this game was probably over. A Bama drive stalled and they were forced to kick a field goal that made it 20-10 with 5:15 to go in the third. After Georgia could only muster three punts, suddenly one had to feel this game was far from over. Another field goal by the Tide made it 20-13 and we now had a game.
Alabama had the ball first and ten from their own 34 when Tagovailoa went back to work. On a third and three from the Georgia seven, Damien Harris was stopped for a one-yard loss and it looked like Bama would have to settle for a field goal. Saban said no and on fourth down Tagovailoa hit Calvin Ridley to tie the game at 20-20.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 9, 2018
The Tide had a chance to win it in regulation, but kicker, Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yarder to send the game to overtime. Georgia would win the toss and elect to get the ball first. A huge sack by Alabama’s Terrell Lewis for a loss of 13 yards forced Georgia to kick a long 51-yard field goal. Rodrigo Blankenship’s boot came up big and the Bulldogs had a 23-20 lead and all they had to do was stop the Tide.
A huge sack on first down put the ball back to the Georgia 41. At this point, I prepared for what was about to come. You do not give Nick Saban the chance to kill your dreams and think you will get away with it. So, on second down, he got creative and called a fly pattern down the right sideline for Smith and just like that, Alabama was once again the champion of the college football world.
What a game. What a finish.
Alabama does what Alabama does. pic.twitter.com/OITczvp4n1
— ESPN (@espn) January 9, 2018
A great finish to a great game that put the SEC back on top in college football. With the performance put on by multiple freshmen in this game, there is a lot to look forward to when we see these teams next year.