The beginning of the national championship game was a hard-fought, defensive focused game. The action got way more exciting in the second half, with more scoring and big moments. The game ended on a pick-six from Georgia CB Kelee Ringo to give the Bulldogs their first title in the CFP era.
After the game, Nick Saban was proud of his former assistant Kirby Smart and had some kind words to say about him and his team.
During his press conference following the game, Saban recounted the conversation he had with Smart once the two met for a handshake in the middle of the field. The Alabama head coach admitted that if he had to lose the national title to anyone, he would rather it be one of his former assistants (Smart) who had done a great job for him and the program.
“If we had to lose a national championship, I’d rather lose one to one of the former assistants who did a great job for us, and has done a great job with his program and his team,” Saban said. “They deserve it; they played great all year. We were the only team to beat them in the SEC championship game. We just couldn’t finish the game tonight like we wanted to.
“But I think Kirby has done a really, really good job there, I congratulated him on the win. I’m really proud of him, and I’m proud of the way he’s been able to coach his team and the consistency that they’ve played with all year.”
Some pretty high praise towards Smart coming from his former longtime boss. Smart had also asked Saban about the status of Jameson Williams, who exited the game early due to an injury. Then Saban told Smart that, “you guys kicked our asses in the fourth quarter."
With his first national championship ring, Kirby Smart joins an elite group of other championship-winning head coaches, including Steve Spurrier, Paul 'Bear' Bryant and Phillip Fulmer. All of these men have won a title at their alma maters.
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