Nick Saban is taking the blame for attempting a fake field goal early in the third quarter in Monday’s national championship game.
On the play, Alabama’s backup quarterback and holder Mac Jones held the ball and allowed kicker Joseph Bulovas to run past him as the lead blocker. Jones carried the ball in an attempt to gain six yards, but Clemson tackled him short of the sticks.
Power with your redshirt freshman kicker as the lead blocker into a defense playing for the fake pic.twitter.com/gNa2AESo7B
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 8, 2019
Saban’s call certainly altered the momentum of the contest. Three plays after the fake, Tigers wide receiver Justyn Ross scored a 74-yard touchdown that extended the team’s lead to 22 points, ultimately blowing them out.
Clemson Destroyed Alabama to Win the National Championship https://t.co/cDHexqEVIq
— SportsGossip.com (@sportsgossip) January 8, 2019
“We thought we had a really, really good fake, and somebody didn’t block a guy they were supposed to block, and so it didn’t work,” Saban said following the game, according to ESPN’s Joel Anderson. “So it was a bad call. It’s always that way.”
The Crimson Tide had attempted to convert a fourth down three previous times in the game. The third-quarter fake was the first the team did not convert.
“We’d been running it in practice a lot, and we were going to run it if we had the right look, and we got the look that we wanted,” Bulovas said. “We were down by a couple scores at that time, so we were trying to create a spark in the first place.”
Too much Nick.