In a testy game that saw Alabama ganging up on each other along the sidelines, Jalen Hurts was benched at halftime. Despite all possible “hurt,” he kept his composure and his leadership helped Bama and true freshman Tua Tagovailoa to yet another National Championship.
Jalen Hurts entered Monday night’s National Championship hoping to win his first title with Alabama in his second go at the big game. However, a poor first-half performance, throwing 3-for-8 with 21 passing yards led him to be benched entering the second half in place of true freshman Tua Tagovailoa.
However, despite the demotion, Hurts, only 19 years of age, carried himself like a true professional.
Upon being benched, the viewers of the game did not see Hurts pout once. The sophomore was pep-talking his backup throughout the entire second half and overtime.
When ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi asked Hurts was he told the freshman, he replied, simply, “Ball.”
And he did.
While the benching came as a surprise, Georgia was the much better team in the first half. Alabama simply had no chance with Hurts under center.
— Ben Hutchison (@WISNBennyHutch) January 9, 2018
Tagovailoa turned out to be the answer, but in a game with so much emotion and just about everything on the line, Hurts’ ability to keep his composure, unlike one of his teammates along Alabama’s own sideline, was very impressive.
Hurts acted like the teammate everyone wants—a veteran leader who anyone can look to for advice. The only issue there is nobody need to find the kid.
Hurts was the first one in every huddle before every drive in the second half. He was also the first one out to hug the freshman quarterback after Alabama had won their fifth national championship in nine years.
There were seemingly no signs of a “that should be me” attitude. Throughout the remainder of the game, Hurts was smiling, applauding and hugging all of his teammates.
Is there a bit of jealousy that Hurts’ first national championship victory came with him being benched? Sure. But nobody would ever know it with how he carried himself during the biggest game of his life.