Alabama football faced all the Georgia Bulldogs could muster but it was not enough as Jalen Hurts led the Tide to a comeback victory.
After an amazing Alabama football comeback to win the SEC Championship, Nick Saban was close to being overcome with emotion. He was not alone. The strong emotions felt by Saban were shared across the Crimson Tide nation. The player who triggered all those intense feelings was Jalen Hurts.
The 2018 SEC Championship will go down as one of the Crimson Tide’s great comebacks. Like all wins, it was a team win. But this Alabama football team would not have won without Jalen Hurts. What Jalen Hurts accomplished on Saturday night in Atlanta will be one of most legendary stories in the Crimson Tide’s extraordinary history.
Just under three minutes into the third quarter, the Georgia Bulldogs led 28-14. The first Bulldogs’ drive of the second half gave no indication the Alabama football defense would be any less porous than it had been in the first half. Slowly the defense stiffened. Nine minutes later, Tua Tagovailoa connected with Jaylen Waddle for a 51-yard touchdown pass, trimming the Georgia lead to 28-21.
On the Crimson Tide’s second possession of the fourth quarter, Tua was forced to leave the game. The ankle he hurt early in the game was stepped on by Jonah Williams and Tua was clearly finished for the night.
Enter Jalen! It was the kind of opportunity Jalen Hurts had hung on for in Tuscaloosa. An opportunity to again lead his team to a victory in a big game on a big stage. In the fourth quarter comeback, Jalen made big play after big play.
He finished the game passing nine times with seven completions for 82 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball five times for 28 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback draw Jalen ran for the winning touchdown will be forever etched in Crimson Tide lore. No player on the Mercedes-Benz field deserved victory more than Jalen Hurts. The character, determination and perseverance showed by Jalen this season prepared him for the opportunity. He took full advantage.
Georgia fans will bemoan the missed field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship. They will question Kirby’s bizarre call to go for it on fourth-and-long when the entire Alabama football defense was waiting for the trick play. They will say the two plays were game-changers. They will also rightfully claim Jake Fromm was the best quarterback in the game. On that, the Bulldogs’ would be correct.
But, the Alabama Crimson Tide had a young man who does not believe in quit. Thank you, Jalen. What you did was more than a job well done. It was historical.
For anyone who missed it, check out the video of Nick and Jalen after the game.
So much for cold-hearted, no caring and un-emotional descriptions of Nick Saban.
Alabama football won its 27th SEC Football Championship. The Crimson Tide will again be seeded No. 1 in the College Football Playoff.