It was a game for the ages last night as Alabama squeaked past Georgia in a thrilling 26-23 OT win for the national championship, as a freshmen with virtually no meaningful game experience was called on to lead his team to victory on the biggest stage in scholastic football.
And boy, did he ever deliver.
True freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t played much at all this season, but his number was called by coach Nick Saban after Alabama trailed 13-0 at halftime.
After a somewhat shaky start, which included an interception, Tagovailoa settled in and eventually went 14-24 for 166 yards and 3 TD passes, including the dramatic 41-yard game winner in OT on an improbable 2nd down and 26 play. He had just made a freshman mistake, taking a huge sack instead of throwing the ball away. Undeterred, Tagovailoa took the very next snap and launched a bullet right on target to a streaking Devonta Smith and the celebration was on.
As the cameras descended on Tagovailoa, the first thing he did was thank Jesus and give all the glory to God.
“First and foremost I’d like to thank my Savior Jesus Christ. With Him all things are possible,” he said before later adding, “All glory goes to God. I can’t describe what He’s done for me and my family. Who would’ve ever thought I would’ve been here right now in this moment? And I thank God for that.”
Incredible. Here’s a young kid with the world on his shoulders, he’s just achieved legend status, and is still thinking of God first.
The shout out to God doesn’t appear to be just lip service. Before the cameras were on him, God was at the center of the conversation. Here’s part of a Q & A he did with AL.com last year, in which he said he liked Alabama because the coaches and players went to church:
What were the lasting impressions from your trip to Tuscaloosa last month?
There were so many things, but the most important one is when I went to church with one of the coaches. It was amazing to see coaches going to church. I got to see players going to church. It was amazing to see. I was raised going to church every Sunday. The atmosphere over there, it’s just amazing over there.
What would you like the fans to know about you off the field?
I feel that’s not up to me. That’s up to the fans. They’ve been watching the film. I’m just doing my job and my job is to play the sport that I love. I use my sport and my talent as a tool to spread God’s word. Whatever I get out of it, all glory goes to Him
And yes, his name is a tricky one to pronounce – just watch these Alabama students try and attempt it:
They’re certainly going to know his name now – and even better, Tua made much of God’s name when he could’ve hogged the spotlight for himself.