BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
On Monday Jan. 8, 2018, the Alabama Crimson Tide won its 17th National Championship by beating Georgia 26-23 in overtime. It was the first time in the playoff era which started in 2014 the National Championship Game went into overtime.
During the BCS era The Miami- Ohio State Championship Game went into double-overtime. Ohio State won 31-24.
In the first round, Alabama paid Clemson back for the loss in last year’s championship game winning 24-6. Georgia beat Oklahoma in double overtime 54-48. Georgia trailed 31-17 at the half the running attack and physical play vs finesse play of Oklahoma finally paid off for the Bulldogs.
Alabama won the toss and deferred to the second half. In the first quarter, Alabama intercepted Georgia on the third play of the game. Alabama attempted a field goal and it was good. Alabama moved and were charged with an offside penalty. The next kick try was no good.
Georgia punted and then Alabama punted. Georgia drove 55 yards to kick a 41-yard field goal. It was 3-0 beginning the second quarter. Alabama punted again. Georgia drove 70 yards in 13 plays, kicked a 27 yard field goal to go up 6-0.
Alabama punted twice and Georgia once. Georgia then drove the ball, nine plays, 69 yards in 1:12 to go up 13-0 before the half.
Hardeman scored on 1-yard run with seven seconds left. Alabama took a knee and the half was over. Alabama had 89 yards of offense. A friend texted me at the half, raising hell about the Tide’s quarterback Jalen Hurts.
He said there was no way Alabama was coming back if he was playing. Saban decided to make a change. Tua Tagovailoa, from Hawaii, started the second half. On the first drive with Tua, Alabama was forced to punt, and then Georgia punted.
Alabama drove 56 yards on seven plays and Tua to completed a six yard pass to Henry Ruggs to make the score 13-7. Georgia struck back on a 80-yard pass to go up 20-7.
Both teams threw interceptions on their next drives. Alabama took advantage by kicking a 30-yard field goal to make the score 20-10.
Georgia punted twice and Alabama once. Then Alabama drove the ball 71 yards in eight plays to kick a 30-yard FG to make the score 20-13. Georgia had to punt again. Alabama drove for 66 yards in eight plays.
On fourth down, Tua threw a seven yard pass to Calvin Ridley to tie the game 20-20. Defense forced another punt. Alabama then drove the ball 48 yards in 10 plays and missed a 36-yard field goal.
In overtime, Georgia got the ball first. On third down, Alabama sacked the Georgia quarterback for a big loss. The kicker nailed a 51-yard field to go up 23-20.
On first down, Tua was sacked for a 16-yard loss. That made it second and 26 and on that play it will be remembered for the ages. Tua looks to his right, then to his left and lets’ it fly.
He connects with freshman Devonta Smith for the win 26-23. Every recruiting class under Saban has won at least one national championship.
No team in college football has won five national championships until now.