In the second half of Monday’s national championship game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made the switch to backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Jalen Hurts finished the first half with 21 passing yards, and Alabama trailed Georgia 13-0.
After a slow start, Tagovailoa made a crazy scramble to wake up the Alabama offense. From there, he took Alabama down the field for their first touchdown of the evening.
How does he get out of this?
And then the throw. It was immediately apparent that Tagovailoa is more comfortable throwing the football than Hurts has been in two seasons.
The honeymoon didn’t last long. After a long Georgia TD raised the lead back to 13, Tagovailoa threw his first interception on an overthrow.
The freshman kept his composure and inched Alabama back into the ballgame. Then, with the title on the line, Tagovailoa hit Ridley for the game-tying touchdown pass.
Tagovailoa had a nightmare start to overtime and a dream finish. After Georgia started overtime with a field goal, Tua Tagovailoa was sacked for a 16-yard loss on Alabama’s first play. Tagovailoa got up, called the next play, and fired the game-winning touchdown pass:
In only one half of football, Tagovailoa finished 14/24 passing with 166 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He rushed 12 times for 27 yards.
Tagovailoa has already cemented himself as the QB of the future for Alabama. I want the Giants to draft him right now. The hype train is unstoppable.
For Tagovailoa, it’s his first legitimate action at Alabama. He’s made several appearances this season, but Monday night is the first game Tagovailoa took snaps where ‘Bama was not already ahead by double digits. His best action was against Vanderbilt, when he played the entire second half and finished with 103 yards and two scores.
The stats don’t matter. Look at this TD throw in garbage time:
Tagovailoa has a snap delivery that is just breathtaking. It’s scary to think what will happen when the Tide have Tagovailoa for a full season. His deep-ball prowess will force defenses to back up and cover their world-class receivers, which will allow their world-class offensive line and world-class running backs to eat serious ground in the rushing game.
The top dual-threat quarterback in last year’s recruiting class, it’s hard to find someone saying a bad word about Tagovailoa. He went to St. Louis high school in Hawaii, the same school as Titans QB Marcus Mariota. He didn’t just win the Elite 11 QB Camp, he was so impressive that Trent Dilfer compared him to Aaron Rodgers. Dilfer had insanely high praise for the recruit:
“We saw him two weeks ago in Oakland and I challenged him and a few other guys and I told him, ‘Hey, Tua, the way you play the position, even though it looks great, doesn’t translate to the next level. It lacks discipline. It doesn’t benefit the way you move in the pocket — you can’t throw in tight spaces. You have to work on this,”‘ Dilfer said. “I have never seen a kid, since I’ve been doing this, change more in two weeks.”
As always, the future looks bright in Tuscaloosa. I’ll leave you with one more highlight: