2018 College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T
4th College Football Playoff National Championship
1234OT Total
Alabama 0010106 26
Georgia 013703 23
DateJanuary 8, 2018
StadiumMercedes-Benz Stadium
LocationAtlanta, Georgia
MVPOffensive: #13 QB Tua Tagovailoa, Fr. Alabama
Defensive: #94 DT Daron Payne, Jr. Alabama
FavoriteAlabama by 3.5
National anthemZac Brown Band
RefereeDan Capron (Big Ten)[1]
Halftime showGeorgia Redcoat Marching Band
Million Dollar Band
United States TV coverage
NetworkESPN and ESPN Radio
AnnouncersChris Fowler (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi (sideline) (ESPN)
Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe and Ian Fitzsimmons (ESPN Radio)
Nielsen ratings16.7 (28.44 million viewers)[2]
International TV coverage
NetworkESPN Deportes
ESPN Deportes Radio
AnnouncersLalo Varela and Pablo Viruega (ESPN Deportes)
Kenneth Garay and Sebastian Martinez (ESPN Deportes Radio)
College Football Playoff National Championship
 < 2017  2019

The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship was a college football bowl game played on January 8, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and was televised nationally by ESPN. The fourth College Football Playoff National Championship, the game determined a national champion in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2017 season. It was the final game of the 2017-18 College Football Playoff (CFP) and, aside from the all star games following this, was the cumulating game of the 2017-18 bowl season. Sponsored by telecommunications company AT&T, the game was officially known as the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T.

The Alabama Crimson Tide came back from a 13–0 deficit at halftime to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs 26–23. This was the first CFP National Championship game to be decided into overtime, and the first overtime National Championship game since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. True freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and defensive tackle Daron Payne were respectively named the offensive and defensive players of the game.

The College Football Playoff selection committee chose the semifinalists following the conclusion of the 2017 regular season. Alabama and Georgia advanced to the national championship after winning the semifinal games hosted by the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl Game respectively on January 1, 2018.


The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship took place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia was announced as the host site for the fourth College Football National Championship on November 4, 2015.[3]

2018 College Football Playoff

The College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee selected four teams to advance to the playoff: the Clemson Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Georgia Bulldogs, and Alabama Crimson Tide.[4] The semifinals were played on January 1, 2018. The first semifinal, played at the Rose Bowl, Georgia won 54–48, after a 27-yard run by Sony Michel, shortly after a blocked Oklahoma field goal in the second overtime. In the second semifinal, played at the Sugar Bowl, Alabama defeated defending national champion Clemson 24–6.

Semifinals Championship
January 1 – Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
  1   Clemson 6  
  4   Alabama 24   January 8 – Championship
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
      4   Alabama (OT) 26
January 1 – Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
    3   Georgia 23
  2   Oklahoma 48
  3   Georgia (2OT) 54  


Further information: College football national championships in NCAA Division I FBS, College Football Playoff National Championship § Game results, and Alabama–Georgia football rivalry

The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship featured the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. It was the teams' 68th meeting, with Alabama leading the series 37-25-4.


See also: 2017 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl by a score of 24–6 to reach the championship game. The Tide had a 12–1 season, becoming the SEC West Division co-champions with the Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide were coached by Nick Saban.[5]


See also: 2017 Georgia Bulldogs football team

The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2018 Rose Bowl by a score of 54–48 in double overtime to reach the championship game. The Bulldogs had a 13–1 season claiming their 13th Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship with a rematch victory over the Auburn Tigers, 28–7. The Bulldogs were coached by Kirby Smart.[6]

Starting lineups

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart
Alabama Position Position Georgia
Calvin Ridley 1 WR Javon Wims 7
Cam Sims WR Riley Ridley 4
Jonah Williams 1 LT Isaiah Wynn 1
Ross Pierschbacher 5 LG Kendall Baker
Bradley Bozeman 6 C Lamont Gaillard 6
J. C. Hassenauer RG Ben Cleveland 3
Matt Womack RT Andrew Thomas 1
Hale Hentges TE TB Nick Chubb 2
Robert Foster WR Terry Godwin 7
Jalen Hurts 2 QB Jake Fromm 5
Damien Harris 3 RB Sony Michel 1
Da'Shawn Hand 4 DE David Marshall
Daron Payne 1 NG John Atkins
Isaiah Buggs 6 DL DT Tyler Clark
Terrell Lewis 3 SLB LB Davin Bellamy
Mack Wilson 5 MLB LB Reggie Carter
Rashaan Evans 1 WLB LB Roquan Smith 1
Deionte Thompson 5 DB Malkom Parrish
Anthony Averett 4 CB Deandre Baker 1
Levi Wallace CB Aaron Davis
Minkah Fitzpatrick 1 SS S Dominick Sanders
Ronnie Harrison 3 FS CB J. R. Reed
† = 2017 All-American
Selected in an NFL Draft
(number corresponds to draft round)


Game summary

First half

After winning the coin toss, Alabama deferred to the second half and Georgia received the ball to begin the game. After two plays, quarterback Jake Fromm attempted a pass downfield and was intercepted by Tony Brown. Alabama began their first drive of the game, and, after eleven plays, that drive ended with kicker Andy Pappanastos missing a 40-yard field goal. The teams each had three-and-outs for the game's first two punts. During Georgia's ensuing drive, the quarter ended, with no score.[8]

After a failed third down conversion, on the second play of the second quarter, Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship hit a 41-yard field goal to open the scoring and put Georgia in the lead by three. Alabama's ensuing drive went nowhere, as they gained four yards on three plays and punted. Georgia took the ball and drove down the field, and found themselves with a first and goal at the Alabama 10-yard-line; the Tide defense held, however, and the Bulldogs settled for a second field goal and took a 6–0 lead with just over seven and a half minutes until half. On Alabama's next drive, the Georgia defense held yet again and Alabama's J. K. Scott punted for the third time. Just prior to the punt, Georgia wide receiver Javon Wims was shown walking to the locker room, reportedly with a left shoulder injury. Both defenses then forced punts, and Georgia took back over with 1:19 remaining in the half on their own 31-yard-line. Nine plays later, on Alabama's 1-yard-line, Mecole Hardman took a direct snap, faked a handoff, and ran into the end zone for the game's first touchdown, putting Georgia up 13–0 going into halftime.[8]

Second half

Because they deferred the coin toss, Alabama received the ball first in the second half. They started their drive on their own 22-yard-line. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama's backup quarterback, started the second half for the Tide; that drive quickly resulted in a three-and-out. The initial punt was blocked, but an offside call gave the Tide another chance to punt. Georgia started their drive on their own 36-yard-line, but punted on 4th & 17. Alabama took over on their own 44-yard-line.[8] The teams then traded touchdowns on consecutive drives; Alabama scored their first points of the game on a 6-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Ruggs, but Georgia immediately responded with an 80-yard touchdown connection from Fromm to Mecole Hardman, putting Georgia up 20–7. On the second play of Alabama's ensuing drive, Tagovailoa, while scrambling to the left, threw into traffic and was intercepted by Georgia's Deandre Baker. Up 13, the Bulldogs took over possession of the ball on Alabama's 39-yard-line. The Tide defense responded immediately, however, as Raekwon Davis intercepted a Jake Fromm pass on the first play of Georgia's drive, returning the pick to the UGA 40-yard-line. The Tide gained fifteen yards on six plays and kicker Andy Pappanastos avenged his earlier miss with a 43-yard field goal that put Bama within ten. The teams then traded punts. Just prior to Alabama's punt, it was announced that an Alabama defensive back, Kyriq McDonald, had collapsed on the sideline; the situation was described as a "serious medical emergency". He was loaded onto a medical stretcher awake and conscious. Georgia could not muster anything on offense that drive, and punted. The fourth quarter saw Tagovailoa lead the Tide to come back and tie the game at 20 with 3:49. Alabama regained possession, and with three seconds remaining in the game, Andy Pappanastos missed a potential game-winning 36-yard field goal wide left, sending the CFP Championship to overtime, the first in the era.[8]


In overtime, Georgia had an unsuccessful drive that resulted in both a three-and-out, and a 13-yard loss sack to Fromm. Georgia opted to attempt a 51-yard field goal, which they made. On Alabama's first offensive play in overtime, Tagovailoa was sacked for a 16-yard loss, but immediately followed that with a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith, in a play that has since been called 2nd and 26 by fans.[8] Tagovailoa was named the offensive player of the game, and Daron Payne was named the defensive player of the game.[9]

Scoring summary

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
No. 4 Alabama 0 0 1010626
No. 3 Georgia 0 13 70323

at Mercedes-Benz StadiumAtlanta, Georgia

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Alabama Georgia
2 14:14 14 55 7:40 Georgia 41-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship 0 3
2 7:33 13 70 5:19 Georgia 27-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship 0 6
2 0:07 9 69 1:12 Georgia Mecole Hardman 1-yard touchdown run, Rodrigo Blankenship kick good 0 13
3 8:52 7 56 1:59 Alabama Henry Ruggs III 6-yard touchdown reception from Tua Tagovailoa, Andy Pappanastos kick good 7 13
3 6:52 4 93 1:55 Georgia Mecole Hardman 80-yard touchdown reception from Jake Fromm, Rodrigo Blankenship kick good 7 20
3 5:20 6 15 1:06 Alabama 43-yard field goal by Andy Pappanastos 10 20
4 9:24 8 71 2:15 Alabama 30-yard field goal by Andy Pappanastos 13 20
4 3:49 8 66 3:21 Alabama Calvin Ridley 7-yard touchdown reception from Tua Tagovailoa, Andy Pappanastos kick good 20 20
OT 4 -9 Georgia 51-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship 20 23
OT 2 25 Alabama DeVonta Smith 41-yard touchdown reception from Tua Tagovailoa 26 23
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 26 23


Statistics Alabama Georgia
First downs 20 22
Plays–yards 71–371 77–365
Rushes–yards 39–184 45–133
Passing yards 187 232
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 17–32–1 16–32–2
Time of possession 26:17 33:43
Sources: ESPN, StatBroadcast
Team Category Player Statistics
Alabama Passing Tua Tagovailoa 14/24, 166 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing Najee Harris 6 car, 64 yds
Receiving Calvin Ridley 4 rec, 32 yds, 1 TD
Georgia Passing Jake Fromm 16/32, 232 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing Sony Michel 14 car, 98 yds
Receiving Riley Ridley 6 rec, 82 yds
Sources: ESPN, StatBroadcast


The game was televised nationally by ESPN and ESPN Radio. On January 8, 2018, the network announced that its broadcast would feature a live performance by Kendrick Lamar during halftime. This performance was separate from the event proper at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (which featured a traditional halftime show with the marching bands of the participating teams), and originated from Centennial Olympic Park.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Kirshner, Alex (January 8, 2018). "A Big Ten officiating crew is working the all-SEC National Championship". SBNation.com. SB Nation. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ Volner, Derek (January 9, 2018). "Epic College Football Playoff National Championship Delivers Massive 16.7 Overnight, Up 9% Year-Over-Year". www.espnmediazone.com. ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Alex Scarbrough (November 4, 2015). "Atlanta, Santa Clara and New Orleans land CFP title games for 2018–20". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Selection Committee Rankings: Final Top 25 Rankings" (PDF). College Football Playoff. December 3, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Alabama's Sugar Bowl win against Clemson sets up all-SEC final: Final score, stats, analysis". nola.com. January 1, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  6. ^ Emerson, Seth (January 1, 2018). "Georgia to play for national championship after Rose Bowl win in 2 OT". ajc.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "CFP National Championship Game Book" (PDF). January 8, 2018. p. 5. Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via rolltide.com.
  8. ^ a b c d e Hoffman, Benjamin; Drape, Joe; Tracy, Marc (January 8, 2018). "National Championship Game: Georgia vs. Alabama Live Score". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Perez, A.J. (January 9, 2018). "CFP players of the game: Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Daron Payne". USA Today. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  10. ^ "Kendrick Lamar to Perform at College Football Playoff Title Game". Billboard. Retrieved December 20, 2017.