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.
January 9, 2018
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.