Former Georgia safety Dominick Sanders relived a painful memory: the final play of the loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game.
In January, Sanders watched as Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa connected with wide receiver DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime, a play that lifted the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 victory against the Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was a major heartbreak moment for Georgia fans, who enjoyed watching Georgia hold two 13-point leads earlier in the game before Tagovailoa led Alabama to a memorable second-half comeback.
On Sunday, UGASports.com’s Radi Nabulsi relayed quotes from Sanders at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. During Sanders’ availability, he was asked about the final play in Atlanta, which he called “a mistake on my end.”
Check out Sanders’ comments, courtesy of Nabulsi:
How would you describe the final play of the Championship Game?
Sanders: “That final play hurt. It was tough. I couldn’t get no sleep for about a week. But I had to put that in the past because I had to get my mind on something bigger, which was this Combine. When I go back and look back at it, whew, I wish I could do it all over again. I wish I could get that last play.”
You mentioned Alabama quarterback looked you off?
Sanders: “He kind of looked me off, I kind of opened up towards the middle to try to honor the post that was coming backside. I also had a 9 route on my side to the Z receiver. By the time I looked back, the receiver was five yards ahead of me and it was pretty much over with. …. It was a mistake on my end. Everyone makes mistakes. … It is just something I have to live with.”
Football is team effort, of course, so it’s hard to place full blame for Georgia’s loss on Sanders. But it’s evident that the final play hurt him for a while.
Chances are, he wishes he could do over many things in that moment. But it’s best for him to move forward as fast as possible.
You can see the final play below: