Billions of seconds, thousands of heartbeats, two teams, one champion. On Jan. 8 the Georgia Bulldogs faced the Alabama Crimson Tide in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Although the match-up was not the most critically acclaimed due to both teams coming from the SEC, the race to the finish proved to be one hard fought battle.
At halftime, the Georgia Bulldogs led 13-0 and the future seemed very bright for the “Junkyard Dawgs.” However, poor execution, very controversial referee mistakes and conservative mind-sets caused the Dawgs to cry tears of defeat, instead of triumph.
Although there was a sliver of hope after Alabama’s kicker, Andy Pappanastos, missed the field goal that would have essentially won Alabama the game right then, the Dawgs still failed to defeat the Tide in overtime. Alabama fan and junior Cole Elsevier said, “Andy Pappanastos needs to retire from football. That was one of the worst field goals I have ever seen. I thought he had lost the game for Alabama and I was so mad at him.”
In the second half of the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made a risky move and replaced first-string quarterback Jalen Hurts with second-string quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Senior Anna Kate Johnson said, “I was in disbelief that Alabama won since we were 0-13 at the half, but I was super excited and proud of Tua Tagovailoa for helping us win the Natty.”
Towards the end of the game, there were multiple questionable mistakes that the referees either officiated incorrectly or failed to call. One play in particular would have put the Georgia Bulldogs in a great position to take home the win. To set the scene, Alabama was punting the ball and UGA wide receiver Tyler Simmons blocked the punt, recovering it in the red zone. The referees called offsides, but later the video surfaced on social media, showing that Simmons in fact remained on sides.
UGA fan and math teacher Deborah Brown said, “It’s just simply unprofessional and there should be some kind repercussion for such a shoddy job. Also, it should be investigated as to what kind of money is exchanged under the table as I can’t think of any other reason why the officials would be so blind in a National Championship football game.”
No matter what kind of chaos happened throughout the game, the fact still remains that the Alabama Crimson Tide won with smiles on their faces and confetti raining down above them. UGA fan and junior Caroline Hayes said, “Honestly, I have never cried harder.” Bama fan and sophomore Alden Pridgen said, “I was screaming with excitement because we were losing the entire game.” Although the feelings at the end of the game differed, the love of football will always be common ground for both of the fan bases and teams who look forward to exciting competition next season.
The final score of the game: Alabama Crimson Tide 26; Georgia Bulldogs 23.