Before he won two Super Bowls and became a Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis was a running back at the University of Georgia. That was more than 20 years ago.
The pain Davis felt Monday night in Atlanta – when Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 for the national championship – was real.
“These opportunities don’t come around,” Davis said on Tiki and Tierney. “They’re not guaranteed every year. You can’t say, ‘All right, Georgia, don’t worry about it. Next year you guys will be back.’ There’s no guarantee you’ll be back next year. When you get that close, when you are three plays away from a national title and it doesn’t look good for the team who has the ball – doesn’t look good at all – and then all of a sudden it’s a shocker.”
Georgia was well-positioned to hold off Alabama in overtime, but freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass.
Davis saw that play from the field.
“It’s just like slow motion,” he said. “He caught the ball and Alabama’s sideline erupts. You got to be kidding me. I’d much rather get blown out.”
“Yes,” Davis said without hesitation. “Yes, there’s no question about it. Let me tell you: The minute that they announced Alabama was in the tournament, I was like, ‘You got to be kidding me.’ If you give Alabama a second chance – because they weren’t supposed to be in this thing – I knew they would make good on their promise to show the world they belonged in this tournament.”
Some people say they want to beat the best to win a championship, which Davis understands. Still, he’d rather have an easier road to a title.
“I get all that, but I prefer the path of least resistance,” he said. “It sounds good. it sounds great: ‘We want to play the best.’ When you’re in the playoffs, I don’t think the trophy says, ‘You played the best and now you’re Super Bowl champs.’ It just says, ‘Super Bowl champs.’”
Georgia returns loads of talent next season but will say goodbye to tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Michel rushed 156 times for 1,227 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns this season, while Chubb rushed 223 times for 1,345 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Davis believes Michel is more of a receiving threat and that his game will translate a little better to the NFL.
“He’s two-dimensional,” Davis said. “But Nick Chubb is no slouch. He can do some of the same things, but somebody’s who’s more like Alvin Kamara – he’s that Ferrari, but he’s actually thicker and bigger than people think he is. He can run between the tackles. So I think (Michel would transition) a little better on the next level.”