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NCAA Game Summary - Alabama at Georgia



(Saturday, September 27th)

Final Score: (8) Alabama 41, (3) Georgia 30

Athens, GA (Sports Network) - John Parker Wilson threw for 205 yards and one touchdown, as eighth-ranked Alabama built a huge first-half lead and held on for a 41-30 victory over No. 3 Georgia at Sanford Stadium.

Glen Coffee ran for 86 yards and two scores, while Roy Upchurch and Mark Ingram added rushing touchdowns for the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC), who have scored at least 40 points in each of their last three games.

Matthew Stafford threw for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Georgia (4-1, 1-1), which saw an 11-game winning streak come to an end. The Bulldogs also became the third team in the top-four to lose this weekend, joining top- ranked Southern California and No. 4 Florida.

Alabama completely dominated the first half, scoring on each of its five possessions for a 31-0 lead. The momentum turned in the second half, however, as the Tide went three-and-out on each of its three possessions of the third quarter.

Georgia crept back into it on a 43-yard Blair Walsh field goal and a two-yard touchdown run by Knowshon Moreno. A 92-yard punt return for a score by Prince Miller made it a 14-point game early in the fourth quarter, but the Tide answered with a Leigh Tiffin field goal and a 12-yard scoring run by Coffee to re-assert control.

"Alabama did a fine job of preparing and getting after us," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "We had some self-inflicted wounds, but they took it to us -- period. At halftime we challenged our players not to lay down and die, and they didn't. We battled and fought and there's a lot to be said for that, but the bottom line is they whipped us."

Miller's punt return electrified the crowd and pulled Georgia within 31-17, but Wilson, who connected on 13-of-16 passes, keyed the ensuing series with a 22-yard pass to Upchurch. That set up Tiffin's 32-yard field goal with 9:45 remaining.

Georgia tried to answer and marched to the Alabama 35 with a first down, but Stafford misfired on two passes and was sacked for an eight-yard loss on third down. He followed with a 19-yard completion for an apparent first down, but a holding penalty negated the play and the next pass fell incomplete.

Alabama quickly went the other way for the game-sealing score. A screen pass to Upchurch covered 29 yards on 3rd-and-5 to set up a first down at the Georgia 13. Coffee then found the end zone from 12 yards away two plays later to give the Tide a commanding 41-17 cushion with 4:13 to play.

Stafford threw scoring passes of 24 yards to Michael Moore and 21 yards to A.J. Green to make it somewhat respectable.

"It's a great team win," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who didn't look like the winning coach after the game. "I'm looking at what we need to do to become better. We got beat in the second half 30-10. I hope we learn from this."

Georgia's normally strong rushing attack was silenced, as Moreno finished with just 34 yards on nine carries. The Bulldogs, who entered the game averaging 189.2 yards on the ground, finished with just 50 against an Alabama defense that entered the contest yielding only 55 yards rushing per game.

"It was huge to stop Moreno on the screen and the running game," noted Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.

Alabama marched 80 yards on the game's first possession to take immediate control. Wilson hit Julio Jones with passes of 13 yards on consecutive plays to move the Tide into Georgia territory and a penalty against the Bulldogs negated a turnover. Coffee fumbled after a catch inside the 10-yard line, but a roughing the passer call against Akeem Dent nullified the play and Ingram soon after scored on a seven-yard run to cap the 6 1/2 minute drive.

Georgia quickly answered with a couple of first downs on its first two offensive plays, but things bogged down from there and the Bulldogs were forced to punt.

The Tide followed with a drive inside the Georgia 10-yard line and had to settle for a 23-yard Tiffin field goal to open a 10-0 edge in the final minute of the first quarter.

Alabama got the ball back after a three-and-out and started from the Georgia 48 after a 19-yard punt and needed just five plays to find the end zone. Coffee recovered his own fumble on the second play to keep the drive alive and finished the series with a three-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter.

Green fumbled after a catch on the next Bulldog possession and Alabama took over on the Georgia 33-yard line. Seven plays later, Upchurch scored on a four-yard run for a 24-0 cushion with 6:47 left in the half.

The Crimson Tide again got the ball after another Georgia punt and drove 63 yards for still one more score. Wilson completed each of his three passes on the six-play drive, including a 22-yard touchdown toss to Jones for a 31-point margin with only 1:25 to play before the break.

Stafford was picked off by Justin Woodall inside the Alabama 10-yard line in the closing seconds to put an exclamation point on the Tide's stellar first half.

Alabama outgained Georgia 231-86 and had 17 first downs to just four for the Bulldogs. Georgia managed only 17 yards rushing, while Wilson shredded the Bulldog defense with a near-perfect 10-for-11 first half.

"In the first half we probably played the best football we've played this season," Saban added.

Things changed completely in the third quarter, but Alabama had an answer and managed to avenge last year's 26-23 overtime loss to the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa.

Game Notes

Alabama leads the all-time series, 36-25-4, and halted a three-game losing streak to Georgia...The Bulldogs committed 10 penalties for 81 yards, while Alabama was flagged just twice for nine yards...Jones finished with five catches for 94 yards...Alabama hosts Kentucky next Saturday, while Georgia has a week off before hosting Tennessee on October 11.

09/28 02:10:39 ET


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