ATLANTA—.After a first half in which he looked mortal, and Alabama seemed to be in deep trouble, the amazing Nick Saban found a way.
Denied his sixth national championship in a heartbreaking loss to Clemson last year, Saban got it done this year.
After trailing 13-0, Alabama came back to stun Georgia 26-23 in overtime Monday night.
Saban’s sixth national championship—five at Alabama and one at LSU—ties him with the legendary Paul `Bear’ Bryant.
“The big thing is, after being behind 13-0 at halftime, they just kept playing the next play,’’ Saban said. “We have great competitors on this team. They have great mental toughness, and I’m really proud of this team for what they did tonight.’’
Freshman backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had replaced a struggling Jalen Hurts at the start of the second half, threw a seven-yard TD pass to Calvin Ridley to tie the game 20-20 with 3:49 left.
Shaking off a missed 36-yard field that could have won the game as time expired in regulation, the Tide finally won it on a dramatic 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith on second-and-26 in overtime.
“I couldn’t believe it,’’ Saban said. “I knew we were running Seattle, which is four streaks. When I saw Smitty come open on the other side, I said, `This is it.’ There’s lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game. This year we won.’’
With that, the entire Alabama team burst onto the field to celebrate. And Georgia was left to ponder the what-ifs. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.