2018 National Championship Recap: Alabama Wins Again

2018 National Championship Recap
Alabama won their fifth national championship in nine seasons Monday night.

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.

After a couple of Rodrigo Blankenship field goals, Georgia broke the game open with a two-minute drive capped by a Mecole Hardman one-yard touchdown run to complete the double-digit first-half lead.

Flirting with the fine line between desperate and bold Nick Saban made a big change to begin the second half. True Freshman Tua Tagovailoa was inserted into the starting lineup replacing Jalen Hurts.

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.

Dynasty Established

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.

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  1. Another big dynasty game. At least with Clemson in the past two championships there was a smaller college involved. With one team making 7 appearances and winning 5 national championships in 9 years I think the NCAA needs to look at doing some things to balance competition beyond limiting scholarships and coaches. In the NFL you have a salary cap and an inverse draft where the lowest finishers get the higher draft picks. The NFL draft itself also insures that one team can’t grab all the top talent. I think the NCAA should probably use a standardized player ranking system similar to what is currently used to determine the “5 star”, “4 star”, etc. ratings by high school player ranking groups like rivals.com. Come up with a points system and use it like a salary cap by limiting each school’s yearly signing class to a maximum of X number of points……I can only imagine the politics and turmoil this would cause but it would make the sport more interesting. As it stands now with just a few dynasty teams, it is getting boring.

    • The last time college football did this, it was to limit scholarships to 85 per team. The difference here is that the conferences are really the power brokers here — the NCAA doesn’t have anywhere close to the centralized power of the NFL, and there is no way the P5 conferences want to further diminish talent.


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