Tua Tagovailoa burst onto the national stage with an incredible second-half performance during Alabama’s overtime victory against Georgia on Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The quarterback completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception to lead the Crimson Tide back from two 13-point deficits during Alabama’s 26-23 win. To cap off his performance, Tagovailoa threw a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith to silence the pro-Georgia crowd in Atlanta.
Not surprisingly, the freshman received lots of attention after the Crimson Tide claimed another national title. Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde spoke to Tagovailoa and unearthed this fascinating nugget: the player spoke in tongues to keep calm during a high-pressure second half against the Bulldogs.
Here’s more from Forde’s story:
How, in the name of Bear Bryant, did a freshman bench jockey rise to this ridiculously pressurized occasion and become an instant hero?
“I was praying,” Tagovailoa said. “I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm.”
He prayed before possessions. He prayed after possessions. He prayed and passed and scrambled his way into Alabama lore.
“I would say my poise comes from my faith,” Tagovailoa said. “I just pray for peace.”
He might pray for peace, but Tua unleashed mayhem on the final play Monday night.
For your reference, Merriam-Webster defines “speaking in tongues” as “to say strange words that no one can understand, especially as part of a religious experience.” It definitely worked. Tagovailoa created some kind of experience for Alabama fans Monday, that’s for sure.
Even with a big accomplishment already part of his resume, Tagovailoa figures to make more memories for Crimson Tide followers in the coming years. The future seems so bright for him.