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BAMA
UGA

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Walk-off: Alabama beats Georgia in OT for national title

ATLANTA (AP) To add another championship to the greatest dynasty college football has ever seen, Alabama turned to its quarterback of the future, and Tua Tagovailoa proved that his time is now.

The freshman quarterback, who had played mostly mop-up duty this season, came off the bench to spark a comeback and threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith that gave No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia on Monday night for the College Football Playoff national championship.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

''He just stepped in and did his thing,'' Hurts said. ''He's built for stuff like this. I'm so happy for him.'' The Tide might have a quarterback controversy ahead, but first Alabama will celebrate another title.

For the third straight season, Alabama played a classic CFP final. The Tide split two with Clemson, losing last season on a touchdown with a second left.

What was Saban thinking as the winning pass soared this time?

''I could not believe it,'' he said. ''There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight.''

Smith streaked into the end zone and moments later confetti rained and even Saban seemed almost giddy after watching maybe the most improbable victory of his unmatched career. A few hours later, Alabama was voted No. 1 in the final AP college football poll for the 11th time, three more than any other program.

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, losing 16 yards. On the next he found Smith, another freshman, and hit him in stride for the national championship.

Tagovailoa was brilliant at times, though he had a few freshman moments. He threw an interception when he tried to pass on a running play and all his receivers were blocking. He also darted away from pass rushers and made some impeccable throws, showing poise of a veteran. Facing fourth-and-goal from the 7, down seven, the left-hander moved to his left and zipped a pass through traffic that hit Calvin Ridley in the numbers for the tying score with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter.

He finished 14 for 24 for 166 yards. The winning play was, basically, four receivers going deep.

''After the sack, we just got up and took it to the next play,'' Tagovailoa said. ''I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open.'' Freshmen were everywhere for the Alabama offense in the second half: Najee Harris at running back; Henry Ruggs III at receiver; Alex Leatherwood at left tackle after All-American Jonah Williams was hurt. It's a testament to the relentless machine Saban has built.

But this game will be remembered most for his decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

''I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did,'' Saban said Tagovailoa. ''He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable.''

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.

This was nothing like the others.

With President Trump in attendance, the all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and the five-star recruit from Hawaii entered. The president watched the second half from Air Force One.

''I don't know how Coach Saban found me all the way in Hawaii from Alabama,'' Tagovailoa said. ''Thank God he found me and we're here right now.''

The Tide trailed 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

Fromm threw for 232 yards and for a while it looked as if he was going to be the freshman star of the game, the first to true freshman to lead his team to a national title season since Jamelle Holieway for Oklahoma in 1985.

''I mean, if you want to find out about Jake Fromm, go ask those guys on the other side of the ball, and they'll tell you because that's a really good defense he just went against,'' Georgia coach Smart said.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. Two years ago, Georgia brought in Smart, Saban's top lieutenant, to bring to his alma mater a dose of Alabama's Process.

Smart, who spent 11 seasons with Saban - eight as defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa - quickly built `Bama East. It was Georgia that won the SEC this season. Alabama had to slip into the playoff without even winning its division.

With the title game being played 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawgs fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama. Now Saban is 12-0 against his former assistants.

But not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a winning field goal to end the game. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball spotted in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble - second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety and threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrrussoAP

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More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
Overtime
No scoring this quarter
Touchdown
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 6-D.Smith. 6-D.Smith runs 41 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
25
yds
pos
26
23
Field Goal
98-R.Blankenship 51 yards Field Goal is Good.
3
plays
-9
yds
pos
20
23
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:49
12-A.Pappanastos extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
20
Touchdown 3:49
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 3-C.Ridley. 3-C.Ridley runs 7 yards for a touchdown.
9
plays
81
yds
03:21
pos
19
20
Field Goal 9:28
12-A.Pappanastos 30 yards Field Goal is Good.
7
plays
71
yds
02:11
pos
13
20
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 5:20
12-A.Pappanastos 43 yards Field Goal is Good.
5
plays
15
yds
01:01
pos
10
20
Point After TD 6:52
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
20
Touchdown 6:52
11-J.Fromm complete to 4-M.Hardman. 4-M.Hardman runs 80 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
93
yds
01:55
pos
7
19
Point After TD 8:52
12-A.Pappanastos extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
13
Touchdown 8:52
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 11-H.Ruggs. 11-H.Ruggs runs 6 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
56
yds
01:59
pos
6
13
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:07
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
13
Touchdown 0:07
4-M.Hardman runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
11
plays
75
yds
01:12
pos
0
12
Field Goal 7:37
98-R.Blankenship 27 yards Field Goal is Good.
12
plays
70
yds
05:15
pos
0
6
Field Goal 14:20
98-R.Blankenship 41 yards Field Goal is Good.
14
plays
50
yds
06:24
pos
0
3
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Team Stats
1st Downs 20 22
Rushing 10 8
Passing 8 11
Penalty 2 3
3rd Down Conv 3-14 8-19
4th Down Conv 1-1 0-0
Total Net Yards 353 333
Total Plays 71 77
Avg Gain 5.0 4.3
Net Yards Rushing 184 133
Rush Attempts 39 45
Avg Rush Yards 4.7 3.0
Net Yards Passing 169 200
Comp. - Att. 17-32 16-32
Yards Per Pass 5.3 6.3
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-18 4-32
Penalties - Yards 6-41 6-65
Touchdowns 3 2
Rushing TDs 0 1
Passing TDs 3 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 0-0
Int. Thrown 1 2
Punts - Avg 6-47.5 7-42.1
Return Yards 99 74
Punts - Returns 5-38 2-34
Kickoffs - Returns 2-42 3-40
Int. - Returns 2-19 1-0
Kicking 4/6 5/5
Extra Points 2/2 2/2
Field Goals 2/4 3/3
Safeties 0 0
1234 OTT
4 Alabama 12-1 001010626
3 Georgia 13-1 01370323
169 PASS YDS 200
184 RUSH YDS 133
353 TOTAL YDS 333
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58.3% 166 3 1 149.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
63.6% 636 11 2 175.0
T. Tagovailoa 14/24 166 3 1
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
37.5% 21 0 0 59.6
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
60.4% 2081 17 1 150.2
J. Hurts 3/8 21 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
N. Harris 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 64 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
61 370 3
N. Harris 6 64 0 35
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 47 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
154 855 8
J. Hurts 6 47 0 31
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 27 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
27 133 2
T. Tagovailoa 12 27 0 9
B. Scarbrough 9 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 23 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
124 596 8
B. Scarbrough 4 23 0 16
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 17 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
135 1000 11
D. Harris 6 17 0 6
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 8 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
46 284 1
J. Jacobs 3 8 0 5
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Smith 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 41 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 156 3
D. Smith 1 41 1 41
C. Ridley 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 32 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
63 967 5
C. Ridley 4 32 1 9
H. Ruggs 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 29 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 229 6
H. Ruggs 3 29 1 14
R. Foster 1 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 28 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 174 1
R. Foster 3 28 0 15
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 21 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
12 91 0
D. Harris 2 21 0 17
J. Jeudy 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 20 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 264 2
J. Jeudy 1 20 0 20
C. Sims 17 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 13 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 207 1
C. Sims 1 13 0 13
H. Hentges 84 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 75 3
H. Hentges 1 2 0 2
B. Scarbrough 9 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 1 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
17 109 0
B. Scarbrough 1 1 0 1
I. Smith Jr. 82 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 128 3
I. Smith Jr. 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
M. Wilson 30 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
9-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-2 4 0.0
M. Wilson 9-2 0.0 0
A. Averett 28 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 1 1.0
A. Averett 7-0 1.0 0
R. Evans 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
R. Evans 6-2 0.0 0
D. Payne 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 1 0.0
D. Payne 6-0 0.0 0
R. Harrison 15 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 3 0.0
R. Harrison 4-1 0.0 0
R. Davis 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 1.0
R. Davis 4-1 1.0 1
M. Fitzpatrick 29 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 1 0.0
M. Fitzpatrick 4-1 0.0 0
D. Thompson 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
D. Thompson 3-0 0.0 0
L. Wallace 39 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 3 0.0
L. Wallace 3-0 0.0 0
I. Buggs 49 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
I. Buggs 2-2 0.0 0
J. Frazier 69 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Frazier 1-0 0.0 0
Q. Williams 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
Q. Williams 0-2 0.0 0
T. Brown 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-0 1 0.0
T. Brown 0-0 0.0 1
D. Hand 9 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
D. Hand 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
A. Pappanastos 12 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/4 2/2
SEASON FG XP
18/25 56/56
A. Pappanastos 2/4 43 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Scott 10 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 47.5 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
54 43.0 2
J. Scott 6 47.5 2 56
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 21.0 22 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 21.5 22 0
J. Jacobs 2 21.0 22 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Diggs 7 DB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
5 7.6 14 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
18 8.6 14 0
T. Diggs 5 7.6 14 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
50% 232 1 2 108.7
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.2% 2615 24 7 160.1
J. Fromm 16/32 232 1 2
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
S. Michel 1 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 98 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
156 1227 16
S. Michel 14 98 0 26
N. Chubb 27 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 25 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
223 1345 15
N. Chubb 18 25 0 7
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
81 618 3
D. Swift 4 15 0 7
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 10 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 61 2
M. Hardman 2 10 1 9
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
7 -15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
55 79 3
J. Fromm 7 -15 0 14
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
R. Ridley 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 82 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
14 218 2
R. Ridley 6 82 0 23
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 80 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 418 4
M. Hardman 2 80 1 80
T. Godwin 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 48 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
38 639 6
T. Godwin 4 48 0 16
J. Wims 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 16 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
45 720 7
J. Wims 1 16 0 16
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
17 153 1
D. Swift 2 7 0 15
C. Payne 47 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
0 0 0
C. Payne 0 0 0 0
S. Michel 1 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 96 1
S. Michel 0 0 0 0
N. Chubb 27 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 -1 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 30 0
N. Chubb 1 -1 0 -1
Defense T-A SACK INT
R. Smith 3 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
11-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-1 0 1.0
R. Smith 11-1 1.0 0
M. Parrish 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
M. Parrish 5-0 0.0 0
T. Clark 52 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
T. Clark 4-1 0.0 0
R. Carter 45 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
R. Carter 4-1 0.0 0
L. Carter 7 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
L. Carter 3-0 0.0 0
D. Walker 15 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
D. Walker 3-0 0.0 0
D. Bellamy 17 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.5
D. Bellamy 2-1 1.5 0
D. Sanders 24 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 4 0.0
D. Sanders 2-0 0.0 0
A. Davis 35 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
A. Davis 2-0 0.0 0
T. Thompson 78 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
T. Thompson 2-1 0.0 0
J. Reed 20 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 2 0.0
J. Reed 2-1 0.0 0
J. Atkins 97 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Atkins 2-0 0.0 0
D. Baker 18 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 3 0.0
D. Baker 2-1 0.0 1
J. Ledbetter 13 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.5
J. Ledbetter 2-1 0.5 0
D. Marshall 51 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
D. Marshall 2-2 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Blankenship 98 K
IN-GAME FG XP
3/3 2/2
SEASON FG XP
20/23 63/63
R. Blankenship 3/3 51 2/2 11
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
C. Nizialek 92 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 46.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
61 45.0 1
C. Nizialek 6 46.0 1 51
B. Ramsey 12 QB
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 19.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
1 19.0 0
B. Ramsey 1 19.0 0 19
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 13.3 20 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
20 25.3 20 0
M. Hardman 3 13.3 20 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 17.0 19 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
23 11.8 19 0
M. Hardman 2 17.0 19 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:38 BAMA 36 3:40 11 37 FG Miss
9:04 BAMA 20 1:58 3 6 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:14 BAMA 25 1:09 3 4 Punt
7:33 BAMA 25 2:11 4 31 Punt
2:14 BAMA 25 0:48 3 7 Punt
0:07 BAMA 25 0:00 1 -1 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 BAMA 22 1:41 3 2 Punt
10:51 BAMA 44 1:59 7 56 TD
6:47 BAMA 26 0:08 2 35 INT
6:21 UGA 40 1:01 5 15 FG
1:55 BAMA 20 1:39 4 24 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:39 BAMA 17 2:11 7 71 FG
7:10 BAMA 34 3:21 9 66 TD
2:55 BAMA 35 2:52 9 48 FG Miss
OT POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
UGA 25 2 25 End of Quarter
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 UGA 25 1:14 3 11 INT
9:54 UGA 22 0:43 5 9 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
6:54 UGA 21 6:24 14 55 FG
12:52 UGA 20 5:15 12 70 FG
5:14 UGA 5 2:48 6 23 Punt
1:19 UGA 31 1:12 11 69 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:03 UGA 36 2:03 3 -7 Punt
8:47 UGA 7 1:55 5 93 TD
6:32 BAMA 39 0:00 1 39 INT
5:15 UGA 25 3:13 7 21 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:08 UGA 10 0:00 7 28 Punt
9:20 UGA 14 2:00 3 9 Punt
3:44 UGA 21 0:38 3 7 Punt
OT POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
BAMA 25 3 15 FG