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INDIANAPOLIS — After Alabama's 33-18 loss to Georgia in Monday's national championship game, the referee explained two controversial calls.

Both went against the Bulldogs. In the first half, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was hit as he threw and the ball hit the ground and landed in a Georgia defender's hands, who ran it back for an apparent touchdown. The ruling on the field was that Young had fumbled and Georgia returned it for a touchdown, but the call was overturned on the replay review. The ball was given back to Alabama.

“The quarterback was scrambling, and when the ball was loose we could not determine how the ball became loose," referee Duane Heydt told pool reporter Malcolm Moran of the Football Writers Association. "So our philosophy is we just let the play out because we have replay that can come back and overturn it if necessary. If we were to rule it incomplete, because we think it might have been forward, and it would have been incorrect, that is hard to replace as opposed to letting it play out because we did not fully see his hand going forward with possession of the ball. So we let it play out.

“So when replay came in, they were able to confirm, indisputable video evidence, that he did have full control of the ball when his hand was going forward. That’s why it became an incomplete pass after further review.”

With 11:35 to play, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was hit as he tried to throw, with the ball flying out of his hand. Alabama defensive back Brian Branch recovered at the Georgia 16.

The ruling of a fumble was reviewed and upheld.

“What we ruled is that the quarterback lost possession of the ball prior to his hand coming forward, so we ruled fumble," Heydt told Moran. "And then we had evidence that showed a calling official on the sideline had a foot inbounds with recovery of the football before he went out of bounds.

“And when we went to replay they were able to confirm on the sideline that his foot was inbounds with possession. And then we let the play stand as far as the hand going forward because there was no evidence to clearly overturn that he clearly had possession of the ball. So as the hand started coming forward the ball was already coming loose.

"So that’s why the play stood.”

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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