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College Football Playoff National Championship

Photo Credit:  Christian Petersen- DeVonta Smith running into the endzone to win the game for Alabama

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen- DeVonta Smith running into the endzone to win the game for Alabama

Wyatt Buller, Sports Reporter

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On Monday, January 8, 2018 Alabama and Georgia squared off in the College Football Playoff National Championships. This game took place in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Alabama was the top-ranked team in the nation and Georgia trailed them at number two. The last time that Alabama and Georgia played, the Crimson Tide won 38-10. This matchup had a very different outcome. The matchup ended in a 26-23 win for Alabama.

Alabama began the game with a very promising drive. In the end, they were unable to score a touchdown, but gave their kicker, Andy Pappanastos, a possible chance. He missed this field goal to the left. After this, Georgia proceeded to score 13 unanswered points to end the first half. These points came from two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals and a touchdown run by Mecole Hardman. The first-half score was 13-0 in favor on Georgia. Not only did Georgia dominate the scoreboard, they dominated possession time, nearly doubling that of Alabama in the first half.

In desperate need of an offensive spark, Nick Saban decided to play his Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa replaced Jalen Hurts, who had only lost two games all season and had more experience in big games. Regardless, Tagovailoa would prove to be the spark that Alabama needed to come back. In the 3rd quarter the offense run by Tagovailoa scored 10 points, which outscored Georgia by three, leaving Alabama down 10 at the start of the fourth quarter. Once again, Alabama’s offense put up 10 points. This time they were able to hold Georgia scoreless. On Alabama’s final drive of the fourth quarter, they were able to position their kicker with the opportunity to win the title. There were only seconds left on the clock and Pappanastos would have the chance to win the game. Instead, he kicked the ball wide left for the second time that game.

In overtime, Georgia would receive the ball first. On the first drive of overtime, Georgia traveled down the field and gave their kicker position for a 51 yard field goal. Rodrigo Blankenship drilled the field goal to give the Bulldogs a 23-20 advantage. On Alabama’s possible last drive, Tua threw a 41-yard touchdown pass. Alabama ended up winning the game 26-23.

This win gave Nick Saban his 6th national title. This ties the record for most ever by a college coach. In a postgame interview Saban said, “Well I’ll tell you what. The resiliency of our team to come back in the second half — Tua did a great job, gave us a little spark. Defense picked it up. To overcome the adversity of missing the field goal in regular (time) and the go win the game in overtime, it’s a great football game.” Nick Saban also gave lots of credit to Georgia and the great game that they played but in the end Alabama secured the win.

               

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