The broadcast cameras that followed the two coaches caught Saban delivering a message to Smart.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban watches during the second half of the College Football Playoff championship football game against Georgia Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
“You guys kicked our a** in the fourth quarter,” Saban said with a smile.
He wasn’t wrong.
Georgia outscored Alabama 20-9 in the fourth quarter and 27-9 in the second half. It was the key difference in the game as the Crimson Tide held a narrow 9-6 lead at halftime.
The difference appeared to be the resiliency of Stetson Bennett in the fourth quarter. The quarterback could’ve spiraled after a fumble led to a Bryce Young touchdown pass to Cameron Latu to put the Crimson Tide up, but he bounced back in phenomenal fashion.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart reacts during the second half of the College Football Playoff championship football game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Bennett would regroup and toss a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Adonai Mitchell to put the Bulldogs back up. Bennett would strike again later in the fourth with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Brock Bowers.
With 3:33 left, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young would get the ball back to try to force overtime. Young would throw a Pick Six to Kelee Ringo, which would seal the deal.
Bennett finished 17-for-26 with 224 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Mitchell had two catches for 50 yards and Bowers had four catches for 36 yards.
Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Head Coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs shake hands after the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
He was named the Offensive MVP after the game.