CLOSE

SportsPulse: After a championship Saturday that noticed the good redemption tale of Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray main the Sooners to a Giant 12 championship it seems like we’ve the general 4 set. Trysta Krick breaks it down.
USA TODAY

ATLANTA — Even Hollywood screenwriters would have pushed aside this plot line as too fantastic and overly sappy. 

On a surprising afternoon for the game of school soccer, No. 1 Alabama got here again from a two-touchdown deficit to overcome No. four Georgia within the SEC championship sport, 35-28, with backup quarterback Jalen Hurts — bear in mind him? — main a fourth-quarter comeback after starter Tua Tagovailoa left with a leg harm.

Although the general outcome used to be anticipated, it used to be the wildest of rides getting there. And it’s going to unquestionably give the Faculty Soccer Playoff variety committee masses to take into consideration.

Listed here are 5 observations from every other vintage matchup between the Red Tide and the Bulldogs: 

Hurts so just right: It used to be exhausting to not really feel for Hurts this season. He had achieved little fallacious in his occupation, shedding simply two video games in two seasons as a starter, however misplaced his process anyway to Tagovailoa after months of offseason hypothesis about how Nick Saban would care for his two quarterbacks. 

Many of us anticipated Hurts to switch, or most likely close down his season after 4 video games to keep his eligibility below a brand new NCAA rule. As a substitute, he caught round, taking part in few significant snaps as Tagovailoa changed into the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. 

However on an afternoon the place Tagovailoa used to be gimpy and useless (10-of-25, 164 yards, one landing, two interceptions), Hurts needed to put the sport on his shoulders with 11:15 closing and Alabama trailing 28-21. 

Although the cases had been other from January’s nationwide championship sport when Saban benched Hurts at halftime with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-Zero — this time, Tagovailoa went down in a heap, grabbing his proper ankle and wanting to be helped off the sector — it used to be necessarily a job reversal. 

And all Hurts did used to be cross 7-of-Nine for 82 yards whilst scrambling for 28 yards on 5 carries, together with the go-ahead landing from 15 yards out with 1:04 left. 

“I have most likely by no means been extra happy with a participant than Jalen,” Saban mentioned. “It is extraordinary to have a man that gained as many video games as he gained, I feel 26 or one thing, over a two-year duration, get started as a freshman, best lose a pair video games this entire time that he used to be a starter, after which swiftly he isn’t the quarterback. How do you arrange that? How do you care for that? You have to have an incredible quantity of persona and sophistication to position staff first, understanding your scenario isn’t what it was, and for a man that is a perfect competitor, that takes so much. It is not simple to do.”

With a month to relaxation and heal, Tagovailoa will have to be in a position for the semifinals on Dec. 29 and can unquestionably retake his beginning place. However Hurts earned a large number of redemption with this win after an admittedly irritating season

“It sort of feels like I am breaking my silence,” Hurts mentioned. “I have not mentioned anything else all yr, however this staff has labored in reality exhausting.”

As standard, Hurts used to be understated in his tone and birthday party. Almost definitely, those are his final video games at Alabama, as he is anticipated to pursue alternatives in different places subsequent season. However nonetheless, it is simple to be ok with getting that second Saturday given the way in which he treated this entire scenario. 

“We performed him up to lets in order that, if this got here up, he used to be going to be in a position,” Saban mentioned. “I feel it labored out nice, and I feel this can be a nice instance of why guys do not want to run off and simply switch each probability they get or each time one thing does not figure out. Jalen goes to be a extra a hit individual in his existence on account of what he went thru, now not successful 26 video games, however what he went thru this yr looking to be the type of one who needed to improve folks after he used to be a celeb participant.” 

What the heck, Kirby: Georgia’s ill-advised faux punt on fourth-and-11 from midfield with three:04 closing will cross down as some of the all-time dumbfounding training choices in school soccer historical past. 

In a tie sport, Georgia ran what seemed to be a designed play for freshman backup quarterback/bluechip recruit Justin Fields to both run or move. It didn’t actually have a prayer of running. 

The query is why Georgia would take one of these large chance when it would have pinned Alabama again close to its personal target line in a tie sport. As a substitute, it arrange Alabama with nice box place, and the Red Tide took merit for the game-winning rating simply two mins later. 

Georgia trainer Kirby Sensible defended the decision, pronouncing it used to be a play the Bulldogs have been saving for 2 seasons and that they’d have had a receiver large open for the primary down had the ball been snapped sooner. 

“I felt like that used to be a perfect name as it used to be there,” Sensible mentioned. “We have now noticed their protected (formation). We all know precisely what their protected is. They line up, and they do not quilt a man. We have now were given a man large open, and he isn’t going to be coated. However within the final moment they noticed it. And we had some way to take a look at of it, however we took too lengthy to get it snapped, and I felt adore it used to be a in reality just right play. It used to be there. It were given taken away on the final moment, and we did not make the play.”

However why chance such a lot proper then? It looked like a little of a panic transfer, as Georgia’s offense had stalled within the fourth quarter and its protection used to be dressed in out. 

“I sought after to be competitive,” Sensible mentioned. “Glance, I wasn’t coming right here to play to tie, to play to stay it shut. We got here right here to win the sport. We would have liked to win the sport. Those youngsters need to win the sport, and we were not ready to do it.”

Let the politicking start: On the finish of the 1/3 quarter, SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap despatched out the next Tweet: “#FourBestTeams @CFBPlayoff.” Even sooner than the sport used to be over and the outcome recognized, the SEC used to be making its case. In essence, it used to be this: Disregard in regards to the information, fail to remember in regards to the just right wins, unhealthy losses or no matter different groups have achieved. Two of the country’s 4 absolute best groups had been at the box Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so if that’s the price of the committee, put each in. We’ll see in the event that they purchase it after exciting, shut sport wherein Georgia got here up simply quick. 

Remaining yr, Alabama were given into the playoff as No. four regardless of failing to win the SEC West. Giving Georgia a move with two losses (it were given beat 36-16 at LSU on Oct. 13) could be wildly unpopular — particularly with Oklahoma sitting there as a one-loss Giant 12 champion — however you’ll without a doubt make an issue that Georgia would possibly also be liked over each different staff within the dialogue. 

What’s up with Tua?: The Heisman Trophy front-runner entering the sport went into the clinical tent early after taking a sack wherein his left leg/ankle appeared to bend a little awkwardly. Whilst Alabama has maintained that he’s wholesome sufficient to play Tagovailoa has undeniably appeared gimpy at more than a few instances down the stretch of the season. However whether or not it used to be bodily or psychological, the actual factor for Alabama for a lot of this sport used to be that his decision-making below power used to be downright deficient. 

No longer best did he set the tone with a goal-line interception on Alabama’s first force when he concept he had guy protection however didn’t learn defensive again Richard LeCounte coming around the heart, however there have been a couple of events when he appeared to simply chuck it as much as a space of the sector below power with out understanding who or what used to be there. 

As soon as within the first part, he narrowly escaped a moment interception. At the first force of the second one part, it price him an intentional grounding flag. 

Did Tagovailoa’s efficiency price him the Heisman with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray surging? We’ll see.

Finding out revel in: Alabama appeared edgy and noticeably uncomfortable for a lot of the sport till it discovered its stride overdue within the 1/3 quarter. You’ll most likely characteristic that to 2 elements: One, Georgia is through a ways the most productive staff Alabama has confronted all season; and two, Alabama merely had no revel in being in the midst of a donnybrook. 

Whilst you’re used to boatracing everybody you play, as Alabama did in Weeks 1 thru 12, it’s now not too unexpected that the Red Tide wasn’t in a position for the power or physicality Georgia introduced. Issues had been taking place only a split-second sooner than Alabama used to be used to, and choices that don’t have a large number of penalties whilst you’re up 28-Zero are magnified in a sport the place the entirety issues. 

“I don’t believe we performed our absolute best sport, and when it simply involves execution, doing the precise issues, making the precise changes, now not making a large number of psychological mistakes. So there is a lot to be discovered from that,” Saban mentioned. “And I feel we are going to take a look at to make use of the ones courses, and I favored Josh’s remark about I am going to take a look at the issues I want to do higher. That is more or less what we want our avid gamers to do. It is not at all times just right whilst you play unhealthy and win as a result of from time to time other folks are not pondering I have were given to do one thing other. So it speaks volumes after we win and our avid gamers nonetheless suppose they’ve to make enhancements and issues as a result of they acknowledge the truth that they might have performed higher.”

Frankly, it’s the type of revel in Alabama can have used in the future previous this season. It’s now not Alabama’s fault that it used to be ready to bodily crush everybody it performed, nevertheless it’s most likely precious that Alabama were given some revel in in the ones key third-and-Eight moments whilst you’re trailing and want to stay the chains shifting on this sport slightly than for the primary time in opposition to any individual like Clemson with a countrywide identify at the line. 

However, like final yr’s identify sport in opposition to Alabama, the Bulldogs could not hang the lead. Now they will have to pray for a possibility to make the sector. Georgia completed 11-2 and will likely be competing with Giant 12 champions Oklahoma, which ended its season at 12-1, and perhaps Ohio State, which performs Northwestern later within the Giant Ten identify sport.

Autoplay

Display Thumbnails

Display Captions

Remaining SlideNext Slide