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Tua Tagovailoa Benched for Jalen Hurts in 4th Qtr of Clemson Blowout of Alabama

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2019

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 29:  Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up prior to the game against the Oklahoma Sooners during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For the second year in a row, Alabama made a late quarterback switch in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. However, this year's change came under much different circumstances.

Down 44-16 in the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide benched starter Tua Tagovailoa in favor of Jalen Hurts to try to spurt a miracle comeback.

The junior didn't do any better in his only drive as the team punted after a three-and-out.

Tagovailoa had 295 passing yards with two touchdowns in three quarters, although he also threw two interceptions, including a pick-six. His drives also stalled near the red zone, as the offense went six straight drives without scoring before the coaching staff made the switch.

This is a big change considering the sophomore finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting this season, leading the Tide to an average of 47.7 points per game entering Monday.

However, his struggles against Clemson caused his night to end earlier than he had hoped.

Hurts took over the offense, creating an interesting bookend from a year ago at this time. The junior started every game over his first two seasons while leading the Tide to the national title game in each season. However, he was benched for Tagovailoa during the championship game last year as Alabama earned a come-from-behind victory.

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While Hurts has gotten some playing time since, including when he led a comeback win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, he has mostly been a backup in 2018. Monday's game gave him one more chance to play for Alabama before he potentially transfers in the offseason.

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