No. 2 Alabama rolls over No. 3 Georgia in second half
Mac Jones threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns while the Alabama defense stiffened in the second half as the No. 2 Crimson Tide knocked off No. 3 Georgia 41-24 on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
In the biggest game of the college football season so far, Alabama (4-0, 4-0 SEC) trailed 24-20 at halftime but scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions in the second half to take control of the game.
Georgia (3-1, 3-1) was scoreless after the break, when Stetson Bennett IV threw two of his three interceptions, all of which Alabama converted into touchdowns.
Jones completed 24 of 32 passes with one interception for the Tide. DeVonta Smith hauled in 11 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns while Jaylen Waddle caught six passes for 161 yards and a score.
Najee Harris balanced the Alabama offense with 152 yards on 31 carries, as the Crimson Tide rolled to 564 yards against the Bulldogs, who had entered with the nation’s second-ranked defense, allowing an average of 236.7 yards a game.
After Jones fired a 13-yard pass to Smith in the back of the end zone for a 41-24 Alabama lead with 9:32 to go, Georgia’s last gasp failed when Jack Podlesny missed a 35-yard field goal with 6:05 left.
Alabama’s Nick Saban, who was allowed to coach after receiving three negative tests for COVID-19 following a positive result Wednesday, improved to 22-0 against his former assistants, including 3-0 against Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. The Crimson Tide have won 28 consecutive games against SEC East opponents.
The game spun late in the third quarter with Georgia leading 24-20 and Alabama pinned back on its own 10-yard line. But Jones hit Waddle on a deep pass as defensive back Tyson Campbell stumbled and fell, resulting in a 90-yard touchdown.
On Georgia’s ensuing possession, Bennett’s throw down the middle was deflected to defensive back Malachi Moore, who returned the interception 42 yards to near midfield. Alabama quickly cashed in as Harris scored on a 2-yard run for a 34-24 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Bennett was 18 of 40 for 269 yards, with two touchdowns and the three interceptions for Georgia.
The first two minutes featured two interceptions and Alabama took an early lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie.
But Georgia’s offense soon began to roll, scoring on its final four possessions of the half, including an 82-yard touchdown pass to running back James Cook, who lined up wide and beat linebacker Christian Harris to haul in Bennett’s deep sideline pass for a 14-7 lead.
Alabama got a career-long 52-yard field goal from Will Reichard on the final play of the half to remain in striking distance at 24-20, setting up their defensive dominance of the second half.
–Field Level Media