Alabama vs. Georgia: Freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa replaces Jalen Hurts at halftime

Alabama coach Nick Saban saw enough offensive inefficiency in the first half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship vs. Georgia. To start the second half, down 13-0, Saban went with a change at quarterback.

Taking over the offense for sophomore Jalen Hurts was freshman Tua Tagovailoa, a former five-star prospect and the No. 1 dual-threat signal caller in the 2016 recruiting class, per the 247Sports Composite. Tagovailoa played few meaningful snaps this season as Hurts' backup, but a lot of buzz has been accumulating over the past year about him as a passer. 

And that's what Alabama needs against Georgia. The Crimson Tide had just 89 first-half yards, including only 21 yards through the air. Hurts was 3 for 8 passing and had nothing going down the field. 

Tagovailoa's first possession didn't go much smoother: a three-and-out for 7 yards. However, his second possession inspired much more confidence that this could be an interesting game. Tagovailoa went 4 of 5 for 44 yards and a strike of a touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III. He also added 12 yards rushing, including a wild scramble for a first down. 

Saban's quarterback switch to Tagovailoa proved genius in the end, though, with the freshman phenom throwing the walk-off touchdown in overtime to beat Georgia 26-23. Tagovailoa finished with 166 yards passing and three touchdowns to one interception. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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