Teacher Outduels Pupil: Alabama Wins 5th Title In 9 Years

In an all SEC National Championship game for only the 2nd time in college football history, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime at Mercedes-Benz Stadium tonight.

This win also marks the 5th title that the Crimson Tide has won in the last 9 seasons. That’s a 56% clip of winning a championship. Unheard of and will probably never be duplicated again or at leas anytime soon.

Both offenses struggled mightily in the first half. Alabama didn’t crack 100 yards of total offense and punted the ball 4 times. Georgia had 223 total yards of offense, but they only managed two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals through the first 24 minutes of the game.

At last, Georgia finally broke through for the game’s first TD. It was a 4 yard rushing touchdown by WR Mecole Hardman out of the wildcat formation. It was a perfectly designed play that drew the Alabama defense to the middle of the field and gave Hardman the left corner of the field to skate in for the score.

The first half was thoroughly dominated by Georgia as they headed into the locker room with a 13-0 lead. They only allowed 95 total yards and forced Jalen Hurts into a lot of rushed plays as he floundered under the intense pressure of the Georgia Bulldogs’ defense.

Hurts would finish the game with 6 carries for 47 yards, but only completed 3/8 of his passes. He was benched at the start of the 2nd half for true freshman Tia Tagovalioa, a guy who the ‘Bama coaching staff believed could generate a better passing offense.

The second half of this game would prove to be a lot more interesting. Alabama’s offense established a slight rhythm throwing the ball with Tagovalioa in the game. The freshman QB was also very impressive with his legs, breaking 3 potential tackles on a 3rd down scramble that resulted in a 9 yard gain and a 1st down.

Later on during that drive on 1st and Goal at the Georgia 6 yard line, he hit WR Henry Ruggs III on a slant route in the endzone to cut the Georgia lead to 13-7 with an Andy Pappanastos converted extra point.

Georgia would punch right back. Jake Fromm hit Mecole Hardman in stride for an 80 yard score on a 3rd and 11 play deep in their own territory. The score would push the Bulldogs lead to 20-7. Georgia seemed to be on cruise control after this play.

Nonetheless, the Crimson Tide never folded. After an ill advised INT thrown by Tagovalioa in which he threw a ball into triple coverage, they would go on to score touchdowns on two of their last three drives of regulation.

The last one was an absolute dime thrown by Tia Tagovalioa on 4th and 4 with just under 4 minutes to go from the Georgia 8 yard line to Calvin Ridley, who somehow managed to get open near the back left corner of the end zone.

On Georgia’s last possession of regulation, the offense stalled as Alabama brought the heat and finally stopped Sonny Michel who had been running them wild for a good portion of this game.

In overtime, Georgia was given the ball after Alabama defered the coin toss. After failing to do much with the ball, Rodrigo Blankenship hit a 51 yard blast to give Georgia a 23-20 lead.

On Alabama’s first play of overtime, Tagovalioa took a bad sack which resulted in a 16 yard loss. Then, the absolute unreal happened. The freshman quarterback dropped back on 2nd and 26, threw an absolute rainbow to the left sideline and hit a wide open Devonta Smith for a 41 yard TD pass and the win. What an epic finish.

Tia Tagovalioa went from little known backup to savior and National Championship in a span of a half. He finished the game completing 14/24 of his passes for 166 yards, 3 TD’s and 1 INT. This performance should defintely trigger a quarterback competition next off season for Alabama.

For Alabama, the joy of winning the National Championship never grows old. This decade has been ruled by Alabama football. This time, however, they did it the hard way. Their suffocating defense and a backup QB was needed to complete the comeback. Bonus points for lineman Bradley Bozeman, who nailed the proposal after a huge win for ‘Bama.

As for the Bulldogs, you have nothing to hang your heads about. This season was absolutely magical and they have the absolute perfect guy to lead this program in the future with Kirby Smart. Most of your starters will return. This is just the beginning.

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