Alabama reigned supreme again in the SEC Championship Game as they beat Georgia 41-24 to clinch back-to-back SEC titles. The win for Bama secured a play-off place alongside Georgia and a potential rematch maybe on the cards. It was Georgia who started off strongest, just like the regular season form had suggested.
After punts from both teams, the Bulldogs moved the ball down into Alabama territory. 3rd and 3 at the Bama 11 yard line, Dallas Turner shuffled around to find a gap and sacked Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett for a 10 yard loss. Kicker Jack Podlesny slotted the 38 yard field goal through the posts for the first points of the game. Another drive from Alabama was stopped just inside Georgia territory. Punter James Burnip pinned the Bulldogs at their own 3 yard line with a booming kick.
It took 8 plays to go the 97 yards for Georgia to take a 10 point lead. The 7th play a beautiful 37 yard completion to wide receiver George Pickens, his second game back after a nasty ACL injury in pre season. The drive was finished off by running back Zamir White on a 3 yard rushing play.
Bama fire right back
Alabama answered back instantly on the next possession making the SEC Championship Game interesting. Quarterback Bryce Young, who had a potential Heisman winning game, found Jameson Williams wide open on what looked like busted coverage. Williams strode away from defenders and into the end zone, showcasing his speed NFL scouts will love.
Alabama held Georgia to another 3 and out, then took the lead on their possession. Young finished with figures of 26-44, 421 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and even showcases his scrambling ability on 3 attempts for 40 yards and a rushing touchdown. He was the architect early on the second scoring drive, with two big passes early in the drive. Young finished it off when the offensive line gave him plenty of time for him to survey the backfield and pick out John Metchie in the end zone.
All Alabama in the 2nd
Georgia couldn’t get going early in the 2nd quarter and handed the ball back to Alabama after another 3rd and out. Young was having fun out there, driving into the Georgia red-zone for the third time in the 2nd quarter. This time the Bulldogs held them to a field goal, which kicker Will Reichard successfully converted. It was an important stop at the time as Georgia went down the field to tie the game up. Two pass interference calls and a few plays had them on the Bama 32 yard line. Bennett then found Ladd McConkey on a quick pass and the receiver put the after burners on while dancing through the Crimson Tide defence for the touchdown. It was Bama who had the final say in the first half.
Everything went through Young again. If it wasn’t a completed pass, it was him making plays with his legs, something we haven’t seen a lot of this season. It was his legs that gave Alabama the lead going into the half. After dropping back a couple of steps Young saw there was nobody open so darted 11 yards for the touchdown. A big blow for Bama was John Metchie suffering an ACL injury on the drive. This ruled him out for the remainder of the game and the season.
Even Smart couldn’t rouse The Dawgs at H/T
Second half and Alabama received the ball and stretched their lead further. Again it was Young who aired the ball out to Williams, it was a fraction behind him but it was close enough to the end zone for him to reach back and bundle over the goal line. With a 14 point lead to protect, the Crimson Tide defence put the pressure on Bennett and the Georgia offence. Just inside the red zone on 2nd and 9, Bennett tried to find tight end Brock Bowers but instead had his pass intercepted by DeMarcco Hellams.
It wasn’t long before Bennett had the ball back in his hands when Bama failed to make anything of the turnover. Another good drive to the opposition 20 yard line but turned the ball over on downs, gaining just 1 yard in 4 plays. The Bulldogs defence were playing well, forcing another punt from Alabama. Then the killer blow arrived that would decide the SEC Championship Game.
Stetson Bennett had his second interception of the day, this time it was the ultimate punishment. Some great closing speed from safety Jordan Battle to get in from of the receiver and make the interception. Battle then took it 42 yards to the house for pick 6. It felt like the game had gone and Alabama do what they always do on the big stage, show up. With just under 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Bennett found true freshman tight end Brock Bowers to make it a 14 point game again and got the ball straight back after a Crimson Tide 3 and out.
They managed just one first down and punted the ball away. Bama flushed away any doubt of the win when they drained the clock on a 12 play drive lasting over 5 minutes. It even resulted in another field goal from Reichard, a 41 yard successful effort. A disappointing night for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart after an unbelievable regular season. Quarterback Bryce Young grabbed the MVP with his performance, with the underdog tag not being a problem from Nick Saban’s team. Both teams made the play-offs Sunday afternoon and avoided each other. Alabama now ranked #1 will play #4 ranked Cincinnati, while Georgia slipped down to #3 and will play #2 Michigan. Will these two teams meet again in the CFP Championship Final?
Written by Jordan Merritt @Jordm87