The Crimson Tide lost starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter after he landed on his left leg wrong. He was helped off the field by the training staff, who took him in to the medical tent, and he did not return. There is not yet word on the official severity of his injury or his availability for the College Football Playoffs. Tagovailoa has been dealing with a lingering leg injury for much of the season, as he finished at 10-of-25 for 164 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions on Saturday.
Hurts took over and led the game-winning drive, taking over for the guy that took the starting job from him last season. Since then, Tagovailoa has dominated in the role with 36 touchdown passes and two interceptions, detailing how it wasn't what Hurts didn't do. But on Saturday, it was all about what he did do, this after posting a 26-2 record as the original Alabama starter. He completed 7-of-9 passes for 82 yards, while also running the ball five times for 28 yards in about a half a quarter of action.
After the game, head coach Nick Saban not only gave credit to Hurts, but also to Georgia, whom he said he believes deserves to be involved in the College Football Playoffs. The Bulldogs' loss on Saturday was their first in conference play, and second of the season. It's tough to see how they will put them in over two teams that won their conference with similar records, but Sunday will settle all of it.
The one team that has challenged the Crimson Tide in for the National Championship over the past four years are the Clemson Tigers, who will look to do the same this season. They clinched their fourth straight ACC Championship with a 42-10 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Tigers join the Oklahoma Sooners as the first teams with four straight conference championships since the Florida Gators won the SEC fourth straight times during the 1990s. Travis Etienne led the Tigers on the ground yet again, running for 156 yards and two touchdowns, helping Clemson complete their 13-0 season.
Trevor Lawrence, who took over for Kelly Bryant at quarterback early on in the season, threw for just 118 yards, but did have two touchdown passes. Both scoring throws were short to Tee Higgins, one for five yards and another for 10 yards. Both of Etienne's scores were in the first quarter, one of which was for 75 yards to jumpstart the Tigers. Clemson finished with 419 yards of total offense, while their defense forced three turnovers to give Lawrence and Etienne extra opportunities. The Tigers are expected to face off against third-ranked Notre Dame in the College Football Playoffs on December 29th, but that will not become official until Sunday's Selection Show.