Alabama and Georgia waited to produce their first controversial play of Monday’s College Football Playoff championship until perhaps the biggest point in the game.
Facing third-and-8 from his 27, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett rolled right to avoid pressure from an oncoming Alabama blitz. He appeared to throw the ball away, resulting in an incomplete pass or — at worst — intentional grounding. Except: ACC officials calling the game ruled he had lost control of the ball prior to his arm moving forward, resulting in a fumble recovered by Alabama.
Here is the play in question:
The play went to review, with officials taking their time to come up with their call. Below is a view of Malachi Moore recovering the ball along the sideline.
The fumble call was eventually upheld, giving Alabama a first down at the Georgia 16. Five plays later, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young hit tight end Cameron Latu for the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown of the game. Following a failed 2-point conversion, Alabama led 18-13.
Georgia returned the favor on its ensuing drive, as Bennett completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell for his first touchdown of the game. Following a failed 2-point conversion by the Bulldogs, Georgia led 19-18 with 8:09 left to play.