LOOK: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa defends Jalen Hurts in wake of fan hate

Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa replaced sophomore Jalen Hurts -- a man who has two losses in two years as Alabama's starter under center -- at halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship against Georgia on Monday night. The gutsy change by head coach Nick Saban gave the Crimson Tide a spark they desperately needed on offense.

Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winning, 41-yard strike in overtime to DeVonta Smith, to cap off a 13-point comeback and give Alabama the national championship.

He also flipped the script in what was likely to be an offseason quarterback battle, and is likely the favorite to win the job in 2018 over Hurts. But don't be so quick to lash out and criticize Hurts, because Tagovailoa has his back.

Hurts echoed the sentiments of Tagovailoa in his response.

This exchange between the two quarterbacks shouldn't come as a surprise. Hurts had the same message for Tagovailoa when the true freshman tossed his first touchdown pass of the second half, and he was the first person to greet him on the sideline.

"It's been like that all year with me and him," a joyous Hurts said immediately after the game. "He had an opportunity to step up, and he did. He stepped up when his team needed him -- that's what he does. He's a ball player. I'm so happy for him, happy for this team."

That national championship Crimson Tide team was defined by its two quarterbacks. Without them, they might not be champs. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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