HAWAII GROWN: Tua pulls off miracle

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa scrambled away from Georgia's Trenton Thompson during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game on Monday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

It was a night that even Tua Tagovailoa himself couldn’t have dreamed of.

The Saint Louis alumnus, who 13 months ago led the Crusaders to a state championship as a senior in Hawaii, rallied Alabama to a thrilling 26-23 overtime win over Georgia on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga.

Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes after replacing starter Jalen Hurts to begin the second half. All three were huge plays, but the game-winning throw, a 41-yard strike to DeVonta Smith, was the winner in overtime to give the Crimson Tide their fifth national championship in nine years under coach Nick Saban.

Tagovailoa was the offensive player of the game after finishing 14-for-24 for 166 yards and the three scores.

“They tried to disguise their cover 2 and when I dropped back I looked the middle safety inside on the third receiver coming over and I went back outside and Smitty was open,” Tagovailoa told ESPN’s Reece Davis after the game. “I took a shot and here we are now.”

Hurts was 25-2 as the starting quarterback at Alabama, but trailing 13-0 at the break, Saban decided to give the true freshman and reigning player of the year in Hawaii a shot to win Alabama the game.

“Tua did a great job, gave us a little spark,” Saban told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. “I just thought we had to throw the ball in the game and I thought he could do it better. He did. He did a good job and made some plays in the passing game.”

Alabama lost in the final seconds to Clemson in the title game last year. After missing a field goal to end regulation against Georgia on Monday night, Alabama allowed a field goal to start the first overtime to get the ball back.

Tagovailoa took a 16-yard sack on the first play before throwing the winning TD to cap the comeback.

“I’ve never been happier in my life,” Saban said.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa held up the championship trophy after an overtime win over Georgia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


  1. Alpha January 8, 2018 7:44 pm

    Where all the know it all’s saying, he’ll never play as long as Hurts is there? Man what a year for all Hawaii H. S qb’s. Tua, Milton, Ta’amu annnd Marcus. . .

  2. ILH January 8, 2018 8:12 pm

    Tua will be the starter next year, you have to give him that chance, he is a better passer and runner than Hurts, and he proved it tonight. High School State Champions in 2016, and now NCAA FOOTBALL Champions.

  3. April January 8, 2018 8:23 pm

    He played awesome n gave all the Glory to God 🙏🏼 That right there is what makes a great player Congratulations Alabama on an awesome win!!!

  4. LAN January 8, 2018 9:21 pm

    Freshman, can play…Hurts is good, Tua is a great passer. Tua Man, showed the world tonight…congratulations…Hawaii no ka oi!

  5. Hyn January 9, 2018 2:07 am

    C’mon Nick Saban Tua didn’t just give you a little spark he won the game. He just needed a shot and now there’s no turning back. Tua will do big things in Alabama .

  6. TooMeke January 9, 2018 7:09 am

    cheeeehuuuuu!! dat was awesome!! congrats Tua! and now even more exposure for HI kids. new era of opportunities for the kids!

  7. Sam Lowe January 9, 2018 7:54 am

    I enjoyed watching Tua play his Junior and Senior against rival Kahuku. He was great quarterback then and now and it was fun to watch him play against Georgia and win the national championship his freshman year. He deserves all the accolades for his performance under pressure. Coach Saban will have a difficult decision come fall 2018. Jalen got them to the National Title Game and deserves the respect from everyone. Yes, his game was off and Tua stepped in magnificently. I’m most proud of him because of his faith in God and his humility on and off the field. You just have to love the young man and wishing well with the Crimson Tide.

  8. rrforlifebaby January 9, 2018 8:24 am

    Good on this kid. He did to Georgia what he did to Big Red his senior year. Hawaii got your back Tua. Not afraid to show his faith in God too!!!!


  9. Bolo Bolo January 9, 2018 8:28 am

    “Tua my cousin” says every Polynesian in the state of Hawai‘i.

  10. turfwar January 9, 2018 11:20 am

    Despite what he did last nite I wouldn’t be surprised if Saban sticks with Hurts to start next year. He trusts Jalen with the run game and the kid has won what 25 games over two years for the Tide. Tua has the higher ceiling but if Saban only goes to Tua when the run game struggles then really how many teams on Alabama’s schedule has the ability to stop their run game. The thing that favors Tua is that most Alabama fans want him as the starter.

  11. Charles Amai January 9, 2018 11:21 am

    In Coach Vinnie Passas We Trust

    The list is undeniable, QBU FROM THE SLOPES….Awesome

  12. ??? January 9, 2018 12:39 pm

    If your sons are playing QB in Hawaii at any level and you’re not taking them to Work with Vince Passas, you are missing out. Tua, Marcus, Timmy, Taulia, Darnell, Jason etc… Mahalo for opening the recruiters eyes around the nation again Tua.
    Hawaii No Ka Oi🏈

  13. Coach C January 9, 2018 12:43 pm

    Turf War is right. Tua got a chance and Saban called him up. With Alabama, they have the best recruits EVERY year. Part of their game is to take the best at ALL positions. If a player goes down or is subbed, a new star emerges. Two years ago Alabama qbs, never ran. Strictly drop back, big white qb. A two system qb is Sabans game. Fromm was a Alabama commit! With Saban, if the best in the country is sitting on your bench, then they can’t hurt you. Great job Tua.

  14. LAN January 11, 2018 4:45 am

    If you had the opportunity to watch all the pre season videos leading up to the season. You would understand that coach Saban knew this was going to happen. His quote: Tua, will play this year and he had enough reps during the regular to catch up with the speed of the college game. It was very difficult to replace an all freshman player of the year SEC, in Jalen Hurts. Saban, saw the QB, elite 11, Tua, was the best QB, in the nation…Trent Dillfer, ran the competition and said, Tua is the man and will do great things in the future. Nobody like him! Just glad Saban gave him the chance on the biggest night in college football. I saw it coming, but Jalen is a terrific athlete…game style will be changing for Alabama… Great array of passing with running mixed in…you’re dealing with 5 star athletes.

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