Alabama freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been named offensive player of the College Football Playoff championship game after leading the Crimson Tide to a come-from-behind 26-23 overtime win over Georgia.
Tagovailoa replaced an ineffective Jalen Hurts to start the second half and led the Tide back from deficits of 13-0 at half and 20-7 in the middle of the third quarter. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, including the winning 41-yarder in overtime. The former prep star from Hawaii also ran 12 times for 27 yards.
Alabama defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne was defensive player of the game. Payne had six tackles and was part of an Alabama defensive front that shut down Georgia’s running game in the second half. Payne also intercepted a tipped pass, helping to set up a field goal.
Alabama’s 26-23 thriller over Georgia was the first national championship game to go to overtime since 2003.
That’s the year Ohio State outlasted Miami 31-24 in double overtime at the Fiesta Bowl in a game that settled the BCS Championship.
There have been some close games since, including the 41-38 Rose Bowl classic in 2006 when Texas beat Southern California. Two years ago, Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 and then the Tigers returned the favor last season with a 35-31 win decided on a last-second touchdown pass.