Rapid Reaction: Unbelievable! Jalen Hurts rescues Alabama in dramatic fashion to beat Georgia, win SEC title
Same venue. Different quarterback. Same result.
Eleven months after Alabama stunned Georgia on a walk-off bomb to win the national championship, the Tide did it again, rallying from further down to beat the Dawgs 35-28 Saturday in the SEC Championship Game.
Jalen Hurts came off the bench this time, replacing an injured Tua Tagovailoa and leading the Tide to their 13th and most incredible victory of the season. He threw the tying TD pass after scrambling to buy time. Normally, Hurts would have taken off. This time, he stayed and delivered the biggest throw of his career to tie the score.
Then, after Kirby Smart’s strange decision to fake a punt on fourth down at midfield, Hurts delivered the dagger with a minute left — running for a 15-yard touchdown to give Alabama its first and only lead of the game.
In January, Alabama erased a 13-point deficit in the second half. Saturday, they erased a 14-point deficit in the second half.
Alabama trailed 28-21 when Hurts came on.
Alabama clinched its fifth consecutive Playoff spot by overcoming its sloppiest first half of the season.
Alabama failed to score on its first two possessions for the first time this season.
The Tide dropped passes. Tagovailoa had 7 incompletions in the first half — matching or exceeding his total in 8 other games this season. He threw 2 interceptions for the first time in his career.
The Tide trailed at any point for the first time since playing Ole Miss, and they trailed at halftime for the first time.
Georgia led 7-0, then 14-7, then 21-7 before the Tide closed the half with a saving TD drive. Even in doing so, the Tide were sloppy. Josh Jacobs fumbled just before diving into the end zone, but recovered for a touchdown. Officials originally ruled that Georgia recovered for a touchback. Replay overturned the call and allowed the Tide to go into the half down 21-14.
Georgia added to its lead when Jake Fromm threw a perfect rainbow to Riley Ridley to make it 28-14 in the third quarter. When Tagovailoa threw his career-worst second interception on Alabama’s next possession, it looked like Alabama’s perfect season was all but over.
It was anything but. Tagovailoa finally hooked up with Jaylen Waddle on a deep ball, their 51-yard touchdown again making it a one-score game. Alabama’s defense stiffened, forcing another punt. And then another. The Tide got a rare break when Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Soon after, after taking another hit, Tagovailoa limped off. Hurts trotted on.
Alabama was done. Except Alabama is never done.
Hurts wrote the perfect ending to keep the perfect season alive.
And Alabama trotted off with another SEC Championship and Playoff spot.