ROLL TIDE: Two heroes emerge in Alabama’s epic national championship victory over Georgia

The crowd celebrates after Alabama wins the National Championship against Georgia in overtime (Yellowhammer)


The first words a relieved looking Nick Saban said to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after winning his sixth national championship — five with the Crimson Tide, one with LSU — Monday night:

“Was that a good game or what?”

No doubt.

Georgia dominated for most of the game, but the Tide came from behind to tie the game and win 26-23 in overtime.

Two heroes emerged in the showdown between SEC rivals Alabama and Georgia.

The first: Tua Tagovailoa, a true freshman second-string quarterback who entered the game in the second half in an unexpected, and some would say risky, substitution.

The left-handed Hawaiian completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards and went on to throw a 41-yard touchdown to DaVonta Smith to slide past the Bulldogs in the epic win.

“First and foremost I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Tagovailoa told ESPN after the game. “You know, with Him all things are possible and that’s what happened tonight.”

The second hero is the star quarterback Tagovailoa replaced: sophomore Jalen Hurts, who showed class and maturity beyond his years when told to step aside for his less-experienced and less-accomplished counterpart.

With his signature calm and peaceful smile, Hurts cheered his teammates from the sideline and rejoiced in Tagovailoa’s game-saving leadership.

“[Tua] stepped in and did his thing,” Hurts said moments after the game ended and confetti spewed into the air. “He did his thing for his team. …I’m so happy for him and so happy for this team.”