ATLANTA – What happened in the Mercedes-Benz stadium early Saturday night did not seem to depend on the fate and the usual feats of football. No, it seemed that some goof writers had imposed the events of the 35-28 win at No. 1 Alabama, in a 14-point deficit against Georgia, No. 4. Whoever seemed write with a sense of embellished drama and the ridiculous idea that life can be right.
In one way or another, in this wacky theater, the quiet man has reappeared. He did it improbably on the same 100-yard Atlantean stadium that he had left 327 nights earlier and against the same pugnacious opponent. He reappeared to replace the actor who had materialized in January during the 2017-18 championship game to replace the silent man. It sounded too good, but yes, the quiet man came back and played the role of the hero. He said, "It looks like I break my silence."
Jalen Hurts, Alabama's quarterback with a 26-2 record as a starter who has spent the entire season as a somewhat player with an unheard voice, said Tua Tagovailoa, the Heisman Trophy contender, who was assisted by two assistants, with Georgia leading 28-21 and 11:15 left. He sprained his ankle in the first period but continued. He had walked on someone's foot during his last play. On the same ground where Tagovailoa saved Alabama from a 13-0 deficit at halftime in the national championship game on Jan. 8, Hurts was coming to rescue him.
With an absurd dose of equity in a so-called unjust life, it ultimately served as a reward for the ultimate in teamwork and sportsmanship. Hurts featured the entire season under Tagovailoa's lineup during the third season in Alabama. He converted four third tries on the 69-yard tie to 28, pulling Crimson Tide even with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy after being staggered at 7:08.
On the following possession, he converted another third overage with about three minutes to go on a 19-yard pass to Irv Smith Jr., then made another first throw to the right on the sideline for 16 yards, then. . .
He then started a 15-yard run to win the game 64 seconds from the end, bringing Alabama to a 13-0 record, a SEC championship, to an indisputable place in his fifth consecutive match at College Football Playoff.
It's an annual routine, but it was done in a way that seemed rather shy.
"I've probably never been so proud of a player as Jalen," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "It's unprecedented to have a guy who has won as many games as he has won, about 26, over a two-year period, starting as a freshman, losing just a few games throughout time he was a starter, then all. all of a sudden it is not the quarterback. How do you manage that? How are you going to take care of that? You have to have a lot of character and class to put the team first, knowing that your situation is not what it was and that for a guy who is a great competitor, it takes a lot. It's not easy to do.
Smith said, "He showed the world what he was able to do. He is a great player and I am so proud of him. "
Mike Locksley, coordinator of the offensive, said: "He wanted to continue to grow. I mean, we have a great coach at Dan [Enos]. He does a great job developing the shifts. Jalen agreed. Once his decision was made, he wanted to grow as a player and a quarter, and I think that has been demonstrated today. "
Hurts said, "I did not say anything all year long, but this team worked very hard – during the off – season last spring. We know what adversity looks like. Sometimes we will hurt our mouths, but we know that everything will be fine. We did a great job doing it today. "
All the reverse poetry of it left Georgia in a missing mass, as the match of the national championship 327 days ago had left it in a missing mass. The Georgia coach, Kirby Smart, in third year, said clearly his intention to overcome these last small hurdles at the top of college football, as he had done in January. He said, "Give this coach on the other side of the sideline [Saban] a vote on who he does not want to play. He will start with us. I promise you that you do not want to play with us. "
And he said about the series: "We knew we had a good football team. We have a really physical football team. We have a talented football team. And we most certainly have one of the top four teams in the country. "
He argued, "Well, it boils down to one thing. Do you want the top four teams or not? It's as simple as that. He lamented, "We could not conclude the agreement. I do not know what it is. We will find out, however, I can promise you. We are a few games. . . . It's centimeters, and we did not have any tonight. We have a damn good football team. He lamented that the false throw-in he had attempted around the middle with 3:04 left open, but Georgia just could not reach it.
Defensive player Jonathan Ledbetter said, "You can not say we did not go there and we did not fight. You can not say that we have not put everything on the line. You can not say that we are not one of the best university football teams. Just watch the band. If they look at it, they should put us in it.
Saban said, "Of course, I do not want to play them again, but it's the best compliment I can give you or give them."
In one way or another, all that familiar speech came from an opposite, Hurts replacing Tagovailoa instead of Tagovailoa replacing Hurts. As Georgia had released Hurts limited in January, Tagovailoa looked on Saturday. He arrived by completing 70.3% of his passes. He completed 40 percent (10 out of 25). He arrived with an average of 265.75 passing yards. He got 164. He arrived after throwing two interceptions all season. He launched two others.
He arrived with a passing note of a heavenly 212.51.
He had 92.3.
However, in the end, the game left him out and let Hurts lead the offensive to 15 yards of victory, time remaining. Hurts said, "I had an option, I had to find my movement key and see what would trigger the decision I would take. My guy went out, so I took it and I had very good open lanes and I found a way to get to the end zone. "
Hurts then went on the field for a television interview. Hurts then left the field and stopped to spot a single boy in the front row of the stands, then turned to give the boy – high school student Wyatt Bloom of Huntsville, Alabama – his bracelets and towels. Who in the world thought that?