College Football Playoff National Championship

Ansh Suchdeve

The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia Bulldogs by a score of 26-23 in this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship. This game took place on January 8th, 2018, at approximately 8:15 PM, in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with an attendance of 77,430 fans. The halftime performance featured hip-hop star, Kendrick Lamar. This was the first ever halftime performance done for the National Championship. After his historic halftime show, Lamar stated that “having the opportunity to perform at halftime of what will surely be the best game of the year between two deserving universities is truly an honor.” 

Moreover, the game started off with freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, throwing an interception to the hands of Alabama defender, Tony Brown. However, the Crimson Tide did not convert whatsoever. After several punts, Georgia finally put points on the scoreboard with a Rodrigo Blankenship 41 yard field goal. Next, it was the start of the 2nd quarter, and Georgia marched down the field, and Blankenship booted another 27 yard field goal to make the score, 6-0. After a trio of punts, Mecole Hardman ran into the end zone for a one yard touchdown to increase the Georgia lead to 13-0.

It was halftime, and Kendrick Lamar’s performance blew people away when he sang his famous album. It was the start of the 3rd quarter and Nick Saban (head coach of Alabama) made the decision to bench his starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, and brought in freshman, Tua Tagovailoa. On the second Crimson Tide possession of the second half, Tagovailoa threw a touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III to make the score, 13-7. On the next Georgia possession, Jake Fromm threw a 80 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Mecole Hardman, to make the score 20-7. Although Tagovailoa had started well, he made an awful throw which resulted into an interception for Georgia. However, on the very next play Jake Fromm threw an interception into the hands of Raekwon Davis. The score remained 20-7, and both quarterbacks were not impressing their coaches in the third quarter. As a result of the Georgia turnover, Pappanastos converted on another field goal. It was the beginning of the fourth quarter. Alabama trailed Georgia by a score of 20-10, and on the next Crimson Tide possession, a Pappanastos field goal made the score 20-13. After another Georgia punt, The next Crimson Tide possession resulted into a Tagovailoa seven yard touchdown pass to NFL hopeful, Calvin Ridley. Georgia was forced to punt for the final time of the game, and Alabama once again drove down the field to set up a potential game winning field goal. However, Andy Pappanastos felt the pressure and missed a 36 yard field goal which would have won the game for Alabama. The National Championship was headed to overtime, and this was the second time this year that a College Football Playoff was heading to overtime. (The first was Oklahoma-Georgia in the Rose Bowl) Alabama had won the coin toss and elected to play defense first. This was the fourth time that Georgia lost a coin toss in this year’s College Football Playoff, an obscure record. On the fourth play in overtime, Georgia kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, overcame the odds and drained a outstanding 51 yard field goal in overtime. It seemed almost impossible for Alabama to conquer Georgia. However, Tagovailoa threw a 41 yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith to win the game and hoist the championship trophy.

After the win, Tagovailoa said, “it just felt like another game out there. I just thank God I was put in a place and a position that I’m in now. I just want to enjoy this win with my team and my family. That’s really it.” It was a miracle, as Alabama benched their starting quarterback and came back down 13 points in just two quarters and one overtime. This was significant, because Jalen Hurts had been the Crimson Tide starting quarterback for the entirety of the season and was suddenly benched.

The MVP’s of the College Football Playoff National Championship were Tua Tagovailoa for the offense and Da’Ron Payne for the defense. In my opinion, this was the second best College Football Playoff game behind the Oklahoma Sooners versus the Georgia Bulldogs.