Dominick Sanders had sleepless nights because of final play of national championship

Sanders was on the wrong end of the game-winning play in the national championship. Here's what he thinks 55 days later.

Dominick Sanders had evidently thought about how the national championship ended.

If he hasn't watched the replay, he's certainly replayed it in his mind countless times in the 55 days between the end of the national championship and the NFL Combine.

Sanders seemed rehearsed and ready to respond to the questions from reporters about what really happened on that final play and how Tua Tagovailoa-- the freshman phenom-- was able to look him off and connect with DeVonta Smith to beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime.

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It's hard to imagine that the teams at Lucas Oil Stadium didn't question Sanders about it. He said he has met with the Titans, Chiefs, Raiders, Colts, Patriots and Chargers. Some may have asked what he's learned from that one play and how he's used it as motivation. Others-- the ones notorious for the eccentric questions that make headlines-- may have been more unrelenting, questioning how he was fooled by backup true freshman quarterback.

The media got a glimpse of what some of those answers may have been like.

"Final play hurt. It was tough. Couldn't get no sleep for about a week," Sanders said on Sunday.

Georgia was in a Cover 1, and Sanders dropped back on the hashmarks. He said he saw Smith on the go route, but he was "honoring" the receiver to his left coming towards him on a post route.

"[Tagovailoa] kind of looked me off. I kind of opened up toward the middle," Sanders recalled. "By the time I opened up, [Smith] was 5 yards ahead of me. It was pretty much over with.

"Just looking at him when he looked me off, following his eyes and what not, I knew where to go" but couldn't make it over there, he said.

Smith had sped past cornerback Malkolm Parrish and was wide open, winning the game and securing Alabama's 17th national title. Georgia was trying to win its first national title in 37 years.

Giving up that kind of play would be difficult for anyone to completely get over. For guys like Jake Fromm and Terry Godwin, it's motivation. Sanders said he could see something in the lowerclassmen's eyes just moments after coming up short in the biggest games in their careers. He could see the confidence that they were going to make it back and, next time, finish.

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That resolve is great. But it doesn't do much for the upperclassmen. For them, it was time to move on-- time to focus on the Combine and Draft. The future.

"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 at it, I wish I could do it all over again. I wish I could get that last play, and I know everybody that was on that defense and that team wished we could get that last play.

"It's on to bigger and better things," he said.

Sanders has been dealing with a groin injury. At the Combine, he only participated in the bench press. He did 14 reps.

He will go through the other drills at Georgia's Pro Day later this month.