We knew coming into this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game that points would be hard to come by. That theme rang true as the defenses played to their championship potential.
2018 National Championship Recap: Alabama Wins For Fifth Time In Nine Years
In the end, Alabama made just enough plays to win their fifth national championship in the last nine seasons.
It can be very cliche in big games that time of possession and third down conversions can make or break the game, but that was the case in the first half. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half and dominated the football game. Georgia had 16 first downs to Alabama’s 4 which led to nearly a double time of possession advantage for the Bulldogs.
However, the move appeared to pay off as Alabama scored on the second series of the second half. It was true freshman to true freshman as Tagovailoa hit Henry Ruggs III for a six-yard touchdown score to bring the score to 13-7. The key play that sparked that drive was a nine-yard run by Tagovailoa on 3rd and 7 to extend the drive.
Georgia responded as you would expect a champion to answer a big score. On the ensuing possession, Fromm hit Hardman for an 80-yard bomb as the Bulldogs took back the lead. After a brief review, the play would stand. Georgia reclaimed their 13-point lead at 20-7.
As good as the true freshman can be, they can also be a nightmare for coaches. In back to back plays, Tagovailoa and Fromm both made typical freshman mistakes. They traded interceptions and would ultimately give the Crimson Tide some life. Alabama was able to take advantage. After driving to the Bulldog 25, Andy Pappanastos drilled a 43-yard field goal to draw Alabama within 10 points.
Sparked by another Alabama true freshman, Najee Harris brought the Tide within seven. Harris carried three times for 53 yards to set up another Pappanastos field goal. This one from 30 yards out with 9:23 left to play to cut the lead to 20-13.
Alabama finished regulation with 10 unanswered points in the last five minutes of play as Tagoviola connected with Ridley for a touchdown. Alabama had a chance to win in regulation, but Pappanastos missed a field goal as time expired.
In overtime, Alabama scored on their second play, a 41-yard touchdown pass after Georiga settled for a field goal.
Alabama ended up winning the Championship Game 26-23.
Both Alabama and Georgia look like they’re going to be at the top levels of college football for the foreseeable future. But tonight isn’t about looking forward, it’s about what Nick Saban has done at Alabama.
The Tide have now won five national titles in nine years. They’ve asserted themselves as the preeminent college football program in the nation. Not just right now, but in the modern era. And this current Alabama program is in the conversation for the greatest dynasty in the history of college football.