Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick missed one of the biggest plays of the College Football Playoff title game on Monday night.
The Tide trailed Georgia 20-13 with under four minutes to play and were facing a fourth down from the Georgia seven-yard line. But instead of having his eyes glued to the action as Tua Tagovailoa found Calvin Ridley for the game-tying touchdown pass, Fitzpatrick was a bit preoccupied.
“I was going to the bathroom,” the star defensive back said on ESPN Radio Wednesday morning.
Fitzpatrick said he went into the medical tent on the Alabama sideline to go to the bathroom before the play. But he had a system to know if he needed to get back out on the field with the rest of the defense. Fitzpatrick went by the sound of the crowd.
“I could tell which side was the Alabama side. It was to the left side of our tent and the Georgia side was to the right side of our tent,” Fitzpatrick explained. “So if the left side started cheering, I knew it was us and we got the first down or scored a touchdown. If it was the right side, that means it was Georgia and I had to go out on the field and go out on defense. That’s how I knew what was going on.”
Luckily for Fitzpatrick, he didn’t have to rush back out onto the field too quickly. Tagovailoa’s touchdown pass to Ridley cut the UGA lead to 20-19 before the extra point tied the game at 20-20. After the kickoff, Fitzpatrick was back out on the field and helped force a Georgia three-and-out.
You know how the rest of the game went. The Tide had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Andy Pappanastos’ 36-yard field goal try as time expired was hooked left, forcing overtime. Georgia opened overtime with a long field goal and on the second play of Alabama’s possession, Tagovailoa found DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard score to lock up the program’s fifth national title in nine seasons.
Fitzpatrick, who recorded five tackles in the win, got to see that play.
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