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How Tua Tagovailoa Stepped Up, Dropped Back, and Saved Alabama

What Nick Saban, Ridley and the rest of Alabama’s football program knew long before Monday’s 26-23 overtime win against Georgia, was that Tagovailoa is precocious, bold and extremely talented. Without him, the Tide (13-1) most likely would not have won its fifth national title in the last nine years.

The Alabama offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has a certain way of looking at the throwing accuracy of quarterbacks. All of them can drop back seven steps and hit a house with the ball. Some of them can hit the door. A few can even hit the doorknob.

“Tua,” Daboll said, “can hit the keyhole.”

That precision and power coming out of Tagovailoa’s left arm gave the coaching staff the confidence to sit Hurts, who was ineffective in the first half, and place their fortunes in hands of a freshman.Tagovailoa drove Alabama to a touchdown on his second possession. Then a field goal, and another. Then a touchdown pass to tie the score, and another in overtime to win it.

Born in Ewa Beach, on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, Tagovailoa is the latest in a string of record-setting high school passers from Saint Louis School, a group that includes the former University of Hawaii…

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