Alabama Football: Bama Defense Woke Up To Win National Championship

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Da'Ron Payne /

Alabama football’s defense ripped the national championship trophy from the clutches of the Georgia Bulldogs at just the right time in the game.

As much as many Alabama football fans, justifiably, had their hearts in their throats for most of Monday night’s national championship game, the Crimson Tide defense played very well. However, absolute dominance was not apparent in Atlanta until the second half, making it one of the most suspenseful games in college football history.

The game was essentially a home game for the Georgia Bulldogs, but their first drive of the game ended with an eruption from the Alabama fans. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm threw three straight passes, with the last one being ripped out of the receiver’s hands by Alabama defensive back Tony Brown.

ICYMI: Minkah Fitzpatrick – A Champion Of Life

Even though that would be the last big roar that Alabama fans would make in the first half, it is important to remember that Georgia did not score a single point in the first quarter. With all of the issues happening on Alabama’s offensive side of the ball, the defense was doing its job.

Georgia did most of their scoring in the second quarter, putting up 13 points before the half was over. Much of that had to do with Alabama’s defense taking too many bad penalties that helped the Bulldogs extend drives.

Georgia added a touchdown in the third quarter as a response to Alabama injecting some ‘Tua Time’ into the equation. Tua Tagovailoa replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts to shake things up a bit.

It worked. Alabama may have held Georgia to 13 points in the half, but it seems like Mount Everest compared to how the offense was doing. Even with the comeback in the works, Alabama’s defense needed to step it up a notch to ensure that the game didn’t get too far away for Tagovailoa to bring the Crimson Tide back.

That adjustment came from two factors: not taking as many penalties in critical third-down plays and getting to Fromm in obvious passing plays.

Mack Wilson led the way with 12 total tackles, but it was Da’Ron Payne who led the charge up the middle of Georgia’s offensive line. If Alabama was building a defensive wall in the first half, Payne decided to completely choke off that path of daylight for Georgia’s running backs. Bulldogs veteran running back Nick Chubb was a complete non-factor, rushing 18 times for only 25 yards in the game.

Sony Michel was the only rusher seeming to have success, earning 98 yards on 14 carries, but he made sure that he got to the edges in the first half. That didn’t happen in the second half.

More from Bama Hammer

Alabama’s linebackers and defensive backs did a great job of staying back to cover the flats while keeping an eye on the edges for any Bulldog rush trying to leak to the sides. Fromm himself ran a number of times in the first half to keep drives alive; however, he ended up with -15 yards rushing by the end of the game.

Once the defense completely stifled the run and got wise to Riley Ridley, Fromm’s favorite receiving target in the game, the Georgia quarterback was forced to make unsure passes that ended up either intercepted, dropped, or completely underthrown. Fromm, who started so hot in the first half, ended up completing just 16 of 32 passes.

The last of the four sacks on Fromm proved to be an absolute Bulldog killer. On Georgia’s overtime drive, Chubb was stopped twice in a row before Fromm was gobbled up by Terrell Lewis for a loss of 13 yards. The impact of that sack proved fatal, as the Bulldogs were forced to kick a field goal while Alabama threw a touchdown pass to end the game and, possibly, the greatest comeback ever in football history.

Next: Bama Bucket List - 25 things all Tide fans must do

While Tua Time proved to tip the tide in favor of Alabama, it was their defense that kept them in the game for so long. Once the offense was able to move the ball, it seemed to energize the defense to push harder and get the ball back to Tua, by any means necessary. Alabama’s defense woke up and reigned supreme over the Bulldogs with ruthless aggression. Only that tenacity was able to help the Crimson Tide add to their dynasty of five championships in just nine years.