TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No. 2 Alabama defeated No. 3 Georgia, 41-24, on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide advanced to 4-0, while the Bulldogs dropped to 3-1.
Alabama’s offense rose to the challenge of facing the Georgia defense, revered as the best in the nation as the Crimson Tide amassed 564 yards. Quarterback Mac Jones accounted for 417 of those through the air in what was his third straight 400-yard game. Jones threw four touchdown passes, including a pair to wide receiver DeVonta Smith (11 catches, 167 yards). Running back Najee Harris also eclipsed 100 yards on the ground (152) and one score.
Defensively, it was a better effort than a week ago in Oxford, Miss., but Alabama still gave up 414 yards to the Bulldogs. The difference this week, however, was the Tide forced turnovers (3 interceptions) and got crucial stops when it needed to, giving the ball back to its offense. In his first start, safety DeMarcco Hellams paced the Alabama defense with 11 tackles.
In a game that Saban seemed likely to miss on Wednesday, the 14th-year head coach rejoined his team Saturday after posting three consecutive negative COVID-19 tests and led the Crimson Tide to a win over a top-five team. In beating Georgia head coach Kirby Smith, former defensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa, Saban is now 22-0 against his former assistant coaches.
Here’s how Alabama’s Game 4 win over Georgia unfolded:
Alabama 7, Georgia 0 (13:16) | After UA received the opening kickoff, the two teams exchanged interceptions in the game’s first four plays. Getting the ball back, the Tide righted the ship with a 3-play, 58-yard scoring drive that ended with a 40-yard pass from Jones to John Metchie.
Alabama 7, Georgia 7 (1:53) | Picking up most of its yardage on the ground, including a 24-yard run by Kendall Milton, Georgia scored its first touchdown on a 10-yard Zamir White rush.
Georgia 14, Alabama 7 (14:49) | After a third straight Alabama punt, Georgia scored quickly on an 82-yard pass from Bulldog quarterback Stetson Bennett to running back James Cook.
Georgia 14, Alabama 10 (9:00) | The teams exchanged double-digit drives that ended in three points each. The Crimson Tide went first with a 13-play, 60-yard series that spanned 5:49 and was capped by a 33-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Will Reichard.
Georgia 17, Alabama 10 (5:42) | The Bulldogs followed that up with a 50-yard field goal from its placekicker, Jack Podlesny, that was the result of a 10-play, 44-yard drive that took up 3:18.
Alabama 17, Georgia 17 (3:06) | Alabama tied things up its next time out by way of a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Smith. A 38-yard toss downfield from Jones to wideout Jaylen Waddle to start that second-quarter drive helped in setting up the quick response.
Georgia 24, Alabama 17 (0:23) | Georgia was able to answer after defensive lineman Christian Barmore jumped offsides on 4th and 1. Bennett hit Jermaine Burton for a 5-yard score.
Georgia 24, Alabama 20 (0:00) | The Georgia touchdown appeared to be the final score of the half, as UA elected to run the ball on its first play. But Alabama picked up 14, 14 and 13 yards on three straight plays and spiked the ball with one second left (after review) and was able to line up for a 52-yard field goal. Reichard made it, the longest of his career and the first 50-yard field goal for an Alabama kicker since the 2015 Iron Bowl (Adam Griffith, 50).
Alabama 27, Georgia 24 (4:00) | The Tide outscored the Bulldogs, 14-0, in the third quarter. The first was fast — a 90-yard catch and run down the Georgia sideline for Waddle (from Jones).
Alabama 34, Georgia 24 (0:51) | Set up by an interception by freshman defensive back Malachi Moore, running back Najee Harris scored on a 2-yard run, giving him 11 rushing touchdowns on the year. Jones connected with Smith on a 34-yard pass to help set up that score.
Alabama 41, Georgia 24 (9:32) | UA scored a third straight touchdown on the heels of another interception (Daniel Wright). Carried by Harris and the running game, the Crimson Tide marched down the field and Jones hit Smith on a 13-yard touchdown, the second for Smith.
What’s next: Alabama will be on the road next week as it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will air on CBS.
Did you know BOL has a podcast? The Built By BamaOnLine Podcast brings you the latest Alabama news and insight from Travis Reier, Charlie Potter, Hank South and Tim Watts. Catch the latest episode right here or subscribe on iTunes today!
Contact Charlie Potter by personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).