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Minutes after throwing the game-winning touchdown pass in Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship game in Atlanta, Alabama Tua Tagovailoa wasn't hesitant to give God the credit.

"I was praying," Tagovailoa says. "I was speaking in tongues. It kept me calm."

He continued: "I would say my poise comes from my faith. I just pray for peace."

Not an uncommon occurrence for some athletes, but Tagovailoa's thankful words caught the attention of evangelist Franklin Graham, who praised the 18-year-old freshman for his boldness on ESPN's national telecast. With a host of liberal broadcasters on its roster, ESPN isn't exactly kingdom-friendly.

"In case you missed it, freshman Alabama Football quarterback Tua Tagovailoa used his moment in the spotlight to testify to the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ after last night's #NationalChampionship game," Graham posted on Facebook Tuesday morning. "He told the world, 'First and foremost, I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ... All glory goes to God. I can't describe what He has done for me and my family. Who would've ever thought I would have been here at this moment.'

"It's great to see a young athlete like this use his platform to acknowledge what God has done in his life in front of millions of people. That's a win-win. Tremendous job Tua!"

Tagovailoa, a backup quarterback behind sophomore Jalen Hurts, took over for a struggling Hurts at the beginning of the second half with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-0. Tagovailoa completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, including the game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass in overtime to another freshman, DeVonta Smith.

During his first post-game interview—of which there were many—Tagovailoa thanked God three times. His boldness for Christ blew up Tagovailoa's Twitter page, including these tweets from admiring fans:

  • "And He gives God glory—more than once in the same interview. Love it!!!! Erica Fields @ohsohappy74
  • "That's what I'm talking about Tua. Give God all the praise." Kris Story @kstorey40
  • "No Bama Fan but now a #Tua Fan! Thanks Jesus First...Then his mates...Then Gives ALL the Glory to GOD! Michale Stavrinakis @MichaelStavsSC
  • Tua putting God first. Love it! Josh Woods @_WOODSY_J

Tagovailoa's Twitter bio contains these words: "1 Corinthians 2:9 • HIM 13EFORE ME"

First Corinthians 2:9 says: "But as it is written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

Tagovailoa's return next season has made Alabama the early odds-on favorite to win the 2018 national championship.

Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media. {eoa]

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