Tagovailoa leads Alabama to victory in college football national championship

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa scrambles from Georgia’s Trenton Thompson during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In a script stolen straight from Hollywood, freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the University of Alabama to victory Monday night.

Nearly three months since taking his last snap against an FBS opponent, the Saint Louis graduate was given the ball in the second half of the game.

The rest is American sports history.

Trailing 13-0 to Georgia at halftime, Tagovailoa replaced second-year starter Jalen Hurts and instantly, the tide began to turn for Alabama.

Late in the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa tied it 20-all on a 7-yard pass to Calvin Ridley, but a missed field goal forced the game into overtime.

Georgia had the ball first, and Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 51-yard field goal.

Then Tagovailoa threw a game-winning 42-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith, showing the world what Hawaii already knew.

It’s Tua time in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 to win its 11th college football national championship.

With 166 yards passing and three touchdowns, Tagovailoa was named the game’s MVP.

Yet, the 2016 Cover2 Marcus Mariota Player of the Year Award winner remained ever humble.

“We’re all working together as a team for one goal, and that was to win the national championship,” he told ESPN after the game. “If my number wasn’t to be called tonight, I would have been fine as long as we won the national championship. I guess my number was called and I got that opportunity, and I just had to make the best of it, so I did my best. I mean, I think that’s the most special thing, you know, especially for my dad. My dad is my heart, my family is my heart, and being able to have them here as well, to be able to witness it was an amazing opportunity for me.”

Two teams are claiming national championships for the 2017 season.

University of Central Florida, led by Mililani’s McKenzie Milton, declared itself national champion after an undefeated season that included a Peach Bowl victory.

Despite a perfect record, the team was kept out of the playoff.

Alabama was voted No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia in the national championship game on Monday night. Unbeaten Central Florida finished sixth.

The Crimson Tide received 57 of 61 first-place votes from the media panel after its 26-23 overtime win. UCF received the other four.

Georgia finished second and Oklahoma was third, followed by Clemson and Ohio State.

The AP national championship is the 11th for the Crimson Tide, three more than any other school, and fifth under coach Nick Saban since 2009. Alabama becomes the first preseason No. 1 to finish No. 1 since Southern California in 2004 and for the fourth time two teams from the same conference finished Nos. 1 and 2.

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