Roll Tide to Victory

Roll+Tide+to+Victory

Associated Press / David Goldman

Neiko Megrichian, Sports Editor

First Half

The Alabama Crimson Tide came up five points shy of a national title in the 2017 NCAA Championship matchup against Clemson. This year, the Crimson Tide found themselves back on the big stage facing the Georgia Bulldogs, whose hopes of their first national championship since 1980 were looking like a possibility heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs’ opening drive may have reflected the outcome of the game, however have no resemblance of the first half. Quarterback, Jake Fromm’s, first pass of the game resulted in an interception. Fortunately for the Georgia freshman, his defense was able to hold Alabama on every drive for the first half of the game. There may have been a bit of luck from a 38-year-long championship drought given that the Crimson Tide’s kicker, Andy Pappanastos botched a field goal attempt, leaving the score knotted at zero points each at the end of the first quarter.

Scoring in the second quarter is opened up by kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship who nailed a pair of field goal attempts to take the lead 6-o. As the end of the quarter approached, Georgia converted a touchdown on a direct snap to Hardman who ran the ball to the end zone from the one yard line.Georgia went into the second half leading 13-0.

Second Half

In hopes of turning the table, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made the executive decision to bring in freshman quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. His impact on the Crimson Tide’s offense was sudden, and he immediately began gaining yards down field, and hit Henry Ruggs III for a touchdown. 13-7. Georgia responded with a scoring drive of their own when Fromm went deep to Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass extending the lead to 20-7.

On a miscalculation by Tagovailoa, an interception by Deandre Baker at the Alabama 39 allowed Jake Fromm and the Bulldogs back on the field. This gets wild. In a seemingly panicking move, Fromm rushed a pass, and it resulted in another interception, this time by Raekwon Davis, after ricocheting off of the helmet of an Alabama defenseman. This puts the Crimson Tide back on the field at the Georgia 40.

Pappanastos comes through this time around with a 43-yard field goal to cut the lead in half to 20-10.

The fourth quarter opened up with Alabama steam rolling down the field to pick up 69 yards and landed in the red zone in under two minutes. On a short run and a pair of incomplete passes, Tagovailoa found themselves on third-and-eight. Saban called on Pappanastos again. His 30-yard attempt was good and Bama closed the gap 20-13 and now we have a ballgame, with a lot of time to go and only a one-score game to determine a National Championship.

Georgia failed to get the ball into scoring position and were forced to punt. From the Bama 34, the Crimson Tide picked up 17 yards on a play action pass to Damien Harris to put them at midfield. They gained yards on a third-and-nine pass interference, to put them at the Georgia 33.

Tagovailoa fires to Jeudy for a gain of 20, which was followed by a 7-yard keeper by the freshman quarterback to set them up at the 6, well within the red zone. On fourth and four, a reception in the end zone by Ridley puts the Crimson Tide down by one, with the point-after-attempt still left to play. Pappanastos took the field, and split the uprights. Tie ball game.

Bama got the ball back and began rolling down field. With six seconds left they go for a field goal to take the game by three. Pappanastos ran out on the field in attempt to give head coach Nick Saban, a record-tying six championship wins.

He missed. Overtime. Even from behind the screen at home, it was clear the stadium had been flooded with tension.

Overtime

Georgia got the ball first on the 25, and Fromm got sacked for a loss of 13 on third down. Their last hope was by the foot of kicker, Blankenship who hits the 51-yard attempt to take the lead by three.

Alabama took the field and Tua fell victim to a HUGE sack for a loss of 16 yards. The very next play, he finds Devonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown. Ballgame. Alabama came back for a historic championship victory to give Nick Saban his sixth National Title, tying the record with Bear Bryant, who also won six with the Crimson Tide throughout the span of 1961-1979.

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