Jalen Hurts is the Ultimate Team Player
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was benched at halftime of last year’s National Championship Game against Georgia. Freshman Tua Tagovailoa came in and led the Crimson Tide to the title. Hurts was 26-2 as a starter. This much you probably know.
Hurts needed to transfer in order to get sufficient playing time and boost his NFL Draft stock. He should’ve transferred. Anyone else would’ve transferred.
He stayed for his teammates. He stayed for his coach. He stayed because he believed God told him to stay.
Tagovailoa was named the starter for the 2018 season, but Hurts – in what felt like a debt of gratitude by head coach Nick Saban – still got significant garbage time action all season. After all, Alabama won every game this year by 20+ points, and they won eight of those by 30+ points.
But there we were on Saturday, like a time machine transporting us to last year’s National Championship. Alabama was facing a deficit against Georgia, and at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, no less. The same place where Hurts was benched for a freshman. The same place he remembers crying in his parents' arms. The same place where he would get redemption.
Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain early in the 4th quarter. Hurts entered on a 2nd and 10 with 11:07 to play and his Alabama team trailing 28-21.
In those 11 minutes and seven seconds, Hurts engineered two flawless drives and delivered a Hollywood ending. He went 7-for-9 passing for 82 yards while rushing for 28 yards on five carries. He threw the game-tying touchdown with 5:19 to play, then ran for the game-winning touchdown with just 1:04.
The unbeatable Tide would’ve been beaten if it weren’t for a decision – an incredibly mature decision – by their backup quarterback to stick it out.
Hurts. A hero. A Hollywood ending. How in the world…