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Saban Wins His 6th National Championship
13 January 2018, 04:40 | Kelvin Horton
Georgia Bulldogs upbeat about future despite disappointment of national title game loss
Alabama'sNick Saban approached the unflappable sophomore who, despite 25 wins in 27 career starts, he was benching in favor of true freshman Tua Tagovailoa on the sport's grandest stage.
The 10-win Spartans will return as many as 21 starters, including emerging QB Brian Lewerke, and RB LJ Scott. It should be noted that Ole Miss was given odds even though the Rebels are banned from postseason play next year. He joins late Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant as the only coaches with five AP titles.
Fans were lined up at Academy after the game Monday night to nab their national championship gear.
So 2018 begins with the kind of game and the kind of memory that we had throughout 2017.
Is it possible to be shocked when Alabama wins a national championship?
We saw all that, and more, before Tagovailoa had his movie moment at the end of overtime.
Tagovailoa took a sack on first down, losing 16 yards, and putting Alabama in a 2nd and 26 predicament they figured unlikely to wrestle out of. The ball was intercepted in Alabama territory. Georgia had stopped Hurts completely in the first half.
Going into the second half, Georgia was leading 13-0. Overtime started out with Georgia getting on the board first with a field goal before a lovely pass from Tua Tagovailoa ended things with one final touchdown. Now the Bulldogs were back ahead, 23-20.
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The next play, Tagovailoa found DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard score.
"I found out when we were in the locker room", he said after the game.
And on this night, when everything worked out the way it did for Alabama, when Tua Tagovailoa threw like a champ off the bench, the guy he replaced, a kid just 19 himself, acted like one when it was over, and with such uncommon grace. Saban's decision to pull Jalen Hurts and insert the kid from Hawaii - yes, I'm avoiding trying to pronounce his name - was the difference. It would spark greater interest during the regular season since more teams would have a chance to make the playoffs.
"He's good for stuff like this and he has the "it" factor", Hurts said.
Tagovailoa had a big arm and could clearly throw the ball longer and deeper than Hurts.
But character, poise and maturity took over and he knew to think and speak first of his team.
"It's a blessing as well", Tagovailoa said Tuesday.
He made it sound easy. But a fluky interception later in the 3rd, off an Alabama defenders helmet, helped grease the skids for the Tide's comeback. And then the freshman quarterback showed uncommon poise, looking to his right to freeze the safety, and throwing a rope to a wide open receiver for the game-winning touchdown.
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