Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship provided everything that college football fans wanted: a defensive battle, a comeback, overtime and an unsung hero. That unsung hero was Alabama freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa came in during the second half of the game to replace starter Jalen Hurts, who was having a not so productive first half. Hurts had completed only three passes for 21 yards before he was benched by coach Nick Saban.
Tagovailoa won the game for the Crimson Tide by completing a 41-yard pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith in overtime. After the game, everyone seemed to have jumped off the Hurts bandwagon and presumed that Tagovailoa would be the starter next season. But Tagovailoa came to Hurts’ defense with a tweet.
Hurts, a true sophomore, has thrown for 4,926 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in two seasons as Alabama’s starting quarterback, compiling a 26-2 record. He has rushed for 1,809 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Tagovailoa had appeared in eight games as a backup before coming out to start the second half on Monday.
After the game, Saban was asked about the quarterback situation next season.
"Look, we have two good quarterbacks on our team, no doubt," he said. "I think that we haven't really made a decision about that, and it's not imperative we make one right now. We've got two fine young men who really respect each other and have worked hard to help each other all year long."
Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime to claim the football program’s 17th national title.