Alabama wins national college football title in stunning 26-23 comeback over Georgia

Georgia's Jake Fromm tackles Alabama's Raekwon Davis after an interception during the NCAA college football playoff championship game Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In a dramatic comeback led by a backup freshman quarterback, No. 4 Alabama took down No. 3 Georgia in the college football championship Monday night.

The 26-23 overtime win handed Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban his record-tying sixth major national championship.

The win marked a stunning change of fortune, as Alabama had fallen behind 13-0 by halftime.

Saban then called in freshman freshman Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback to start the second half, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts. Hurts was just 3-of-8 passing for 21 yards in the first half while running for 47 yards.

Tagovailoa, a five-star recruit from Hawaii, played in eight games this season. He completed 35 of 53 passes for 470 yards with eight touchdowns against one interception, mostly in mop-up duty. Hurts was the Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year as a freshman last season.

Alabama hadn't been held scoreless in the first half since last season. It was also the first time since the 2012 national title game that a team failed to score in the first half.

The bold move worked, as the freshman quarterback marched the Tide down the field with one big play after another.

The teams entered the final minute of play tied at 20-20. With 0:03 left, a field goal attempt by Alabama's Andy Pappanastos curled wide left to send the game into overtime.

Georgia scored first in overtime with a 51-yard field goal.

On Alabama's first OT possession, Tagovailoa was sacked for a 16-yard loss.

On its second, he threw a 42-yard bomb to DeVonta Smith to seal the OT win for the Tide.

This game will be remembered for Saban's decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

He's led the Tide to four national championships since 2009, and the last three national championship games.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

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