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No. 2 Alabama extended its win streak against No. 3 Georgia to six games with a 41-24 victory over the visiting Bulldogs on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones starred with 417 passing yards and four touchdowns, one each to Jaylen Waddle and John Metchie III and two to DeVonta Smith.
Waddle and Smith dominated the Bulldog secondary, combining for 17 catches, 328 yards and three touchdowns.
The ‘Bama defense also came to play, picking off Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett three times.
Georgia last defeated Alabama on Sept. 22, 2007. The Bulldogs have fallen six times to Alabama ever since, including losses in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and 2018 SEC Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide improved to 4-0, and the Bulldogs fell to 3-1.
Georgia QB Stetson Bennett: 18-for-40, 269 passing yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Georgia RB James Cook: 4 catches, 101 receiving yards, 1 TD
Georgia RB Zamir White: 10 carries, 57 rushing yards, 1 TD
Alabama QB Mac Jones: 24-for-32, 417 passing yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Alabama RB Najee Harris: 31 carries, 152 rushing yards, 1 TD
Alabama WR DeVonta Smith: 11 catches, 167 receiving yards, 2 TD
Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle: 6 catches, 161 receiving yards, 1 TD
Dominant Second Half Turns Close Contest Into Runaway ‘Bama Win
It was a tale of two halves in a battle between top-three teams on Saturday.
The first half was highly competitive, with Georgia and ‘Bama routinely trading scores for 44 total points in the first two quarters. Each team had big plays: Jones hit Metchie III for a 40-yard score, and Bennett found James Cook for an 82-yard touchdown.
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THE MAILMAN COOKIN’ UP TOUCHDOWNS https://t.co/ClO8MmixWL
The second quarter in particular was a track meet: Georgia led 14-7 with over nine minutes left in the first half, but the Bulldogs ended the back-and-forth first half up 24-20 after going blow for blow in a frenetic final nine minutes.
The game looked as if it would be an all-time classic based off the first half, but that’s when Alabama cemented its position as a clear top-two team in the country alongside Clemson, who it’s likely destined to meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Jones hit Waddle for a back-breaking 90-yard touchdown pass to give Alabama the lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.
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GOODBYE JAYLEN WADDLE! 90 YARDS TO THE HOUSE! https://t.co/SCaA6rYY9e
UGA drove down the field, but a Malachi Moore interception of Bennett put Alabama in great field position at its 44-yard line.
Delivery intercepted https://t.co/G2NPKXdvAX
Five plays later, Harris scored on a two-yard run.
Georgia’s next drive also ended with a Bennett pick, and Alabama proceeded to score off Smith’s second touchdown, this time a 13-yarder from Jones.
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DeVonta Smith is really, really good…that’s really all you can say. https://t.co/rIYop9K6zM
That put ‘Bama up 41-24 with 9:32 left, and the Crimson Tide held on from there for the win.
Alabama’s third quarter showcased what the team looks like at its best. On offense, they can move the ball through the air and on the ground with relative ease. Explosive plays are common thanks to the Jones-Waddle-Smith trio, and Harris just churns along for his chunks of yardage.
Waddle and Smith are becoming historically good at this point, too:
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Jaylen Waddle (161) and DeVonta Smith (160) marks the first time in Alabama’s history, they’ve had two receivers over 150 yards in the same game.
Smith now has 27 career rec TD, 2nd-most in Alabama history. Only Amari Cooper has more (31). https://t.co/Vt2VQtloaJ
On defense, the Crimson Tide can cause serious problems for any offense, including creating game-breaking plays to turn a game on its head. The secondary struggled at times on Saturday but made huge plays when the team needed the unit the most.
In sum, Alabama’s performance leaves little doubt as to where the team will find itself in a few months time. There’s still a lot of season left, but Alabama is in the driver’s seat for a title game berth.
Alabama will visit Tennessee on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Georgia will enjoy a bye week before traveling to play the Kentucky Wildcats on Sat., Oct. 31 at noon.