Jalen Hurts has known success as Alabama’s quarterback, but is also familiar with failure.
In last season’s College Football Championship game, Hurts was benched after an awful outing as the Crimson Tide trailed 13-0 at halftime.
Tua Tagovailoa entered and rallied Alabama to a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.
Hurts was also benched this season in favor of Tagovailoa, a sophomore, but has played significant minutes because of Alabama’s dominance.
Last Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Hurts reversed roles by rallying the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 triumph over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game.
With 1:04 left, Hurts, who came in with slightly more than 11 minutes left when Tagovailoa (10 of 25 for 164 yards and two picks) injured his right ankle, had a 15-yard sprint that ended a 52-yard march.
“All year, I’ve kind of been waiting on my opportunity,’’ said Hurts, a junior, who connected on seven of nine for 82 yards and ran for 28 yards on five carries. “My opportunity came today. I worked so hard this week with my teammates. We found a way to get it done today.’’
The go-ahead touchdown was made possible when Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart saw the Bulldogs fail on a fake punt near midfield.
Hurts also added a 10-yard pass to sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy (24 yards on three catches) with 5:19 left in the fourth as he drove the Crimson Tide 80 yards on 16 plays that evened it at 28-28.
Tagovailoa’s 51-yard toss to freshman receiver Jaylen Waddle (113 yards on four catches) and 3:02 left in the third sliced Georgia’s lead to 28-21.
The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) led 28-14 when sophomore Jake Fromm (25 of 39 for 301 yards) nailed junior receiver Riley Ridley (48 yards on four catches) with a 23-yard aerial as 12:39 remained in the third period.
Georgia (441 total net yards) bounded ahead 7-0 when Fromm found junior tight end Isaac Nauta (81 yards on four catches) with a 20-yard pass and 3:08 on the clock in the first.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide (382 total yards) answered with a one-yard burst from junior running back Josh Jacobs (83 yards on eight carries) early in the second quarter that evened it at 7-7 and capped a 75-yard trek.
The Bulldogs extended their advantage to 14-7 when sophomore running back D’Andre Swift (75 yards on 16 rushes) tossed in a nine-yard tally and 7:31 left in the opening half and it became 21-7 when Fromm hit Swift (63 yards on six catches) with an 11-yard bullet and 4:05 showing before the half.
Alabama (13-0) cut the deficit to 21-14 when Jacobs recovered a fumble in the end zone as 2:18 remained in the second period.
Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at email@example.com.