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Mitch's Sports: Now Everyone Knows Who Tua Tagovailoa Is, Even If They Can't Pronounce His Name

Trailing by 13 at half time, Alabama turned to Tua, and that turned the tide Crimson with a 26-23 overtime win against the Georgia Bulldogs for the college football national championship, in one of the greatest title games ever played.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban won his fifth national title with Alabama last night, and this one will be remembered for his bold decision to replace starting quarterback Jalen Hurts with a freshman southpaw named Tua Tagovailoa, who had only seen action in the regular season when the Tide were way ahead in a game, with nothing on the line, so he was thrust pretty quickly into the spotlight of a nationally televised championship game played in front of more than 75,000 fans in Atlanta when Saban decided to roll the dice.

Tagovailoa threw for three touchdowns, none bigger than the one that went 41 yards in overtime, to DeVonta Smith, who caught the ball in stride and into the end zone for the game winning score after Georgia had taken a 23-20 lead on a field goal.

The Tide actually could have won the game in regulation, but missed a very make-able 36 yard field goal attempt with just a few seconds to go and that set up the OT. Georgia took a three point lead on their first possession with a 51-yard field goal and the ensuing drive, which would be Alabama's last chance, didn't get off on the right foot for Tagovailoa, who got sacked for a loss of 16 yards and was facing a second and 26 when he went for glory on the 41-yard bomb to Smith.

So it was pandemonium for Alabama and their fans, heartbreak for Georgia and theirs, and now a lot of people will be trying to wrap their tongues around the name Tagovailoa, who became one of the most unexpected heroes on the biggest stage of all, in a game he probably never expected to get into when it started. Amazing stuff.

Just one game in the national hockey league last night, and the home crowd in Toronto probably thought they were looking at a win as their Maple Leafs took a 2-0 lead into the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the old saw in hockey that a 2-goal lead is the hardest to protect proved to be true last night as the Jackets scored twice in the third period to send the game to overtime, and then Artemi Panarin gave Columbus the win when he got the puck past Frederik Andersen for a 3-2 victory.

The two goals Columbus scored in the third came with less than five minutes to go in regulation, wiping out the lead provided on Leafs goals by James van Riemsdyk and William Nylander. Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky kept his team in it with 35 saves and the overtime comeback prevents Toronto from leaping over the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic division. The two teams are tied with 53 points apiece as the Bruins rest for their mandatory bye week in advance of a Saturday night contest against the Canadiens in Montreal.

Finally, at the the U.S. Cross-Country National Championships in Anchorage, Alaska, former University of Vermont skier Caitlin Patterson raced to her fourth national title, completing the sweep with a come-from-behind win in the women's classic sprint final. Patterson won the competition with four victories over a six-day stretch of competition.


A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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