Alabama beats Georgia in OT to win 5th national title in 9 years
ATLANTA — Nick Saban has his fifth national championship at Alabama. And it came in overtime.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown pass in the first overtime to complete a crazy second-half comeback to win the College Football Playoff 26-23 over Georgia.
Much like he did two years ago with an onside kick in the second half against Clemson in the national championship game, Saban made an aggressive decision in the final half Monday night. He benched quarterback Jalen Hurts after a porous first half and gave the offensive reins to freshman Tagovailoa.
The decision worked out. Tagovailoa threw his second touchdown of the evening with 3:49 left in the game when he bought time and found Calvin Ridley in the end zone for a 7-yard score. The throw came on a fourth-and-4 and tied the score at 20-20.
THREAD. THE. NEEDLE.
Tua Tagovailoa with the PERFECT pass. #NationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/5WSnz0QE16
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 9, 2018
After forcing a Georgia punt, Alabama drove down the field to set up a potential game-winning field-goal attempt by Andy Pappanastos as time expired. But Pappanastos missed his second field try of the game badly to the left, sending the game to overtime.
— ESPN (@espn) January 9, 2018
Georgia took a 13-0 lead into halftime thanks to a great drive to end the half. After starting the scoring with two field goals, wide receiver Mecole Hardman scored a rushing touchdown with seven seconds left to cap a nine-play drive.