The Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide squared off last weekend in the SEC Championship game where Alabama had by far their biggest test all season long. Georgia was applying pressure to Heisman trophy contender quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who could not find a rhythm all game long. The Heisman hopeful only completed 10 of 25 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown. But this was the most pressure that Tagovailoa had faced where, for the first time in his young college career, he had thrown more than one interception in a game. He also has been battling an ankle injury over the past couple weeks so Georgia would put that to the test.
Besides a breakaway touchdown from freshman receiver Jaylen Waddle which trimmed Georgia’s 14-point lead in the second half to seven, Tagovailoa along with the rest of the Crimson Tide endured in a battle for three quarters. The fourth quarter would tell a different story.
With 11:15 left in the final quarter with Alabama staring at a touchdown deficit, every Crimson Tide fan and player held their breath as their star quarterback laid on his back in pain as he was forced to leave with that nagging ankle injury. The fate of the SEC Championship and a College Football Playoff berth hung in the balance.
Enter Jalen Hurts.
This time it was Jalen relieving Tua. This was the same opponent that Hurts struggled against in the 2018 National Championship at the same stadium last January. This was the moment that Jalen was waiting for all season long after he decided to not transfer and stay in Tuscaloosa.
He did not disappoint.
Hurts led Alabama on two touchdown-scoring drives, first tying the game on a third-down and goal, absolutely needing a touchdown with about five and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. The former Alabama starter was not originally known for his passing skills but now that may change. He impressively squeezed in a 10-yard touchdown pass in the back of the endzone to sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy.
After a failed fourth-down conversion, Alabama got the ball at midfield and Jalen Hurts got the chance to become the hero in the same building he struggled in. With 1:04 left in the game, Jalen Hurts sprinted his way towards the end zone and scored, putting the Crimson Tide in front for good.Just as it was 11 months ago, each quarterback was happy for the other. Tagovailoa was one of the first players to embrace Hurts after he scored, thus showing how much each quarterback supports each other.
If Hurts did transfer, it is unsure if Alabama wins the SEC Championship and they probably do not go to the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide is the only team in college football with such depth at the quarterback position, having the ability to beat anyone with either quarterback. It has come full circle for Hurts and Alabama which is why they have reaffirmed themselves as College Football National Champions.
Jalen Hurts reminded everyone that he has a 26-2 record as a starter and he is indeed a winner. He knew staying at Alabama would be the best decision for the team and for himself. The Crimson Tide has no holes on their roster which makes them the clear favorite to win it all again next January.