Alabama Football: 30 Greatest Games in Crimson Tide History

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.] /

Alabama Football Greatest Game

January 8, 2018 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium vs. Georgia

It is fair to ask what else can be written about this incredible football game. The Crimson Tide, overtime, comeback victory has been hailed as one of college football’s most exciting and greatest games. National sports media gushed about it for months.

The game made instant stars of Tua Tagovailoa and Devonta Smith. It gave the Crimson Tide program No. 17 on its long list of National Championships. It cemented forever that five Alabama Crimson Tide National Championships from 2009 through the 2017 season were a college football Dynasty – arguably the greatest college football dynasty of all time.

At halftime, the odds of a Crimson Tide victory appeared slim. The Bulldogs had almost twice the first-half, time of possession to the Crimson Tide. In the second quarter, the Tide had the ball for only 4:43 on the clock. The Tide’s six, first-half possessions resulted in four punts, a missed field goal and a time-expired.

Georgia’s 13, first-half points were fueled by 16 first downs. The Crimson Tide had four first downs and zero points. Of the Tide’s total 94, first-half yards, 54 of them came off Jalen Hurts’ rushes. Passing, Jalen was 3-for-8, for 21 yards.

Nick Saban had no choice but to make a quarterback change. Saban admired Jalen’s toughness and leadership. But it was clear Jalen could not lead the Tide to a second-half comeback.

On the Tide’s first second-half possession, Tua Tagovailoa took a sack on third down. The Tide was forced to punt. On its next possession, Tua threw incomplete, ran for three yards, then scrambled for nine to get a first down. Tua then completed four straight passes, three of them to Henry Ruggs, the last being a six-yard touchdown.

Georgia answered back with a touchdown taking the Bulldogs lead to 20-7.

Two plays after the Georgia kickoff, Tua threw an interception. Every player on the offense thought the play call was a run except for Tua. On the sidelines, Tua immediately assured Nick Saban there was no cause for panic.

At 5:15 of the third quarter, Andy Pappanastos made a 43-yard field goal, cutting the Georgia lead to 20-10. Both teams ended their next possessions with punts.

A sack by Raekwon Davis ended Georgia’s first, fourth-quarter drive. The Tide marched from its 17 to the Georgia 12. The result was a 30-yard Pappanastos field goal. Down 20-13, the Crimson Tide defense forced a Georgia three-and-out. An eight-play, 66-yard Tide drive ended with a Tua to Calvin Ridley touchdown. The game was tied.

Georgia went three-and-out again. The Tide followed with a 10 play, drive, putting Pappanastos at a 36-yard field goal attempt. As regulation time expired, Pappanastos missed – badly to the left.

The Crimson Tide seemingly had the game won. Then it didn’t. A lesser team would have cracked.

Georgia got the first overtime possession. On 3rd-and-6, at the Tide 21, Terrell Lewis sacked Jake Fromm for a 13-yard loss. Rodrigo Blankenship made a 51-yard field goal for the Bulldogs. The Crimson Tide had a shot to tie or win. The first play resulted in a 16-yard sack of Tua. The second play was historic, epic, magical. A Tua dagger to a sprinting Devonta Smith ended the game.

Some, and not just Alabama football fans, have called the final play, the greatest in modern, college football history.

Check out the full game highlights below.

Final Score – Alabama Crimson Tide 26 – Georgia 23