Tua Tagovailoa threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith to give No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia to win the College Football Playoff national championship last night.
Tagovailoa, considered Alabama’s quarterback of the future, showed his time is now. He entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes, including the game-ender to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.
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, streaking down the sideline and hit him in stride for the national championship.
This game will be remembered for Saban’s decision to change quarterbacks while trailing 13-0.
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.