The beginning of the end came at 12:07 a.m. on Tuesday, in a span of less than three minutes. The college football title bout between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide had already gone its alotted 15 rounds. Now it was in overtime, a slugfest for two teams that mirrored one another, each looking to land a midnight-hour haymaker.
The Bulldogs faced a fourth-and-19 from the Bama 34-yard line. They settled for a 51-yard field goal try, a long-range boot, which kicker Rodrigo Blankenship punched through to put Georgia on top 23-20.
A minute or so later, on first down for Alabama, Georgia sacked quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the 41-yard line. It appeared Bama might have to settle for working its way into field goal range to tie it.
On second-and-26, Alabama lined up in a spread formation.
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With the ball spotted on the left hash, Alabama reciever DeVonta Smith jogged wide to the left side, his right foot at the top of the 0 painted on the field to mark the 40-yard line.
At the snap, Smith feinted a step or so to the sideline, nudging Georgia cornerback Malkom Parrish that way just enough, and in all of seven strides, by the time they hit the 30-yard line, Smith was streaking up the numbers and past Parrish.
Tagovailoa kept his eyes off Smith, keeping UGA safety Dominick Sanders in the deep-middle of the field just long enough to open a hole for Smith upfield. When Smith hit the 25-yard line, the freshman quarterback fired a pass into the breach. Smith reeled the pass in at the goal line to end the game.
It was 12:09 a.m. And just like that, Bama had won 26-23.