He returned on the biggest stage in college football, and for a team that had endured a multitude of injuries on defense, the 6-foot-1 giant killer delivered it to a 17th national championship.
Ohio State finished fifth in the CFB rankings and its argument was that it was a conference champion and had more quality wins than Alabama. Instead, it will likely only inspire the Georgia players to work out harder and practice harder so when they get that chance again, they'll be the ones getting the trophy handed to them. Four plays later, Rodrigo Blankenship hit the first of his three field goals to put Georgia up 3-0.
On his motions immediately after the game...
"I think everybody can see that Georgia's going to be a force to be reckoned with", Smart said. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left. "I couldn't be prouder of a group of players, especially the resiliency they showed in the game", coach Nick Saban said after the game. Tagovailoa and Najee Harris were five-star recruits, but they entered the night as freshman backups. Alabama was a bobbled interception away from disaster on third down before the field goal. After winning the toss and electing for defense first, the Tide held Nick Chubb to two short runs.
Below is a video of Tagovailoa's postgame interview.
Dylan Davis drew these for #4 Mecole Hardman & #1 Sony Michel.
The deadline to make a decision is Monday.
Alabama's game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the national championship game was one that will forever be remembered.
The next most watched bowl game was the Orange Bowl as 11.7 million viewers tuned in to see Wisconsin beat Miami, 34-24.
His touchdown catch against Vanderbilt was nice, but what sold me on Smith was watching him account for the deciding score against Mississippi State on the road.
Saban apparently saw what the fans saw, what his weary team saw.
If it might be understandable to overlook, say, Walt Hobt (1919-1920) or Boni Petcoff (1926-29); it is a little less so to forget the greatest college football coach of all time.
"The record-breaking audiences, over the course of multiple years, clearly reinforce how the College Football Playoff has quickly established itself as an elite event", said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling.
Meanwhile, at least seven players are considering leaving early to enter the NFL draft, Saban said. Tua Tagovailoa replaced Jalen Hurts in the second half, pumped life into a sagging offense and threw his way into Alabama football history. He had two atrocious misses in the game, including a 36-yard chip shot that would've won the game at the end of regulation. Energizing Alabama's offense, he was the change-up that was Saban's ace in the hole. But with the absence of a passing game and being able to make explosive plays and being able to convert on third down, I just didn't feel we could run the ball well enough, and I thought Tua would give us a better chance and a spark, which he certainly did.
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