In a thrilling finish, Alabama came all the way back to beat the University of Georgia last night in Atlanta to win the fifth national title of the Nick Saban era. Trailing 13-0 at halftime, and looking much worse than even that, Saban pulled starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. The lefty from Hawaii promptly engineered a three-and-out drive in his first series. He then went on to throw for 166 yards, three touchdowns, and a game-winning bomb in overtime that will go down in college football lore.
Making it all the more impressive was that it came precisely one play after Tagovailoa took a brutal sack to force Alabama into a second-and-26 from the 41-yard line, and certainly out of field-goal range for Bama, whose kicker had badly shanked a 36-yarder that would have won the game in regulation. Tagovailoa shook off that minor blip and made one of the ballsiest throws you've likely ever seen from a 19-year-old.
And if you are anything like me—that is, a sane person who is not obsessed with teenagers enriching adults by playing football for free—you had probably never heard of him before last night.
I am on the wrong side of history here (and copy editing), but that's OK. It was worth it. Actual indecipherable sounds came out of my mouth in front of God and my bewildered dog while watching that last play unfold. So as a service to you the public, and myself, I have learned to spell* this guy's name:
Tua Tagovailoa. T-U-A. T-A-G-O-V-A-I-L-O-A.
And, what's more, we have a helpful pronunciation guide from Tua Tagovailoa himself:
So there you have it. A name you might have never heard of is now one you will probably never forget.
*Actually, I copy and pasted his name from Wikipedia. Sue me.