ATLANTA — Georgia football proved it could go toe-to-toe with the most dominant team in SEC history, taking No. 1-ranked Alabama to the wire before falling short, 35-28.
The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) became the first team to hold Heisman Trophy favorite Tua Tagovailoa in check, only to see 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts come off the bench ran rally the Tide from 28-21 down.
Tagovailoa was 10-of-25 passing for 164 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Hurts, who came in the game with 11:15 left to play, was 7-of-9 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown, and he carried five times for 28 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Georgia out-gained Alabama, 453 yards to 403 yards and forced two turnovers while committing none.
The Tide, however, made more big plays and took advantage of a failed fake punt at midfield in the final minutes, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:04 remaining.
Georgia drove to the Alabama 39-yard line in the final moments before Jake Fromm’s desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete. Fromm was 25-of-39 passing for 301 yards with three touchdowns.
Here are the big updates and key plays from the game.
– Jake Fromm’s Hail Mary from the Tide 39-yard line falls incomplete, and Alabama wins the SEC title
Alabama 35, Georgia 28, 1:04: Jalen Hurts 15-yard rushing touchdown (Bulovas kick). Drive: 5 plays, 52 yards, 2:000
– On fourth-and-11, Georgia tried a fake punt, but Justin Fields was stuffed up the middle. Alabama ball at its own 48-yard line.
Georgia 28, Alabama 28, 5:19: Jerry Jeudy 10-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts (Bulovas kick) Drive: 16 plays, 80 yards, 7:08
– Tagovailoa goes down with a right ankle injury and has to be helped off the field with 11:15 remaining. Jalen Hurts enters the game. A cart comes to the sideline to take Tagovailoa to the locker room.
– The Bulldogs gain 25 yards in 5 plays and 2:04 of game time before punting. Alabama ball from its own 20 with 12:27 left.
– Georgia defense stops Alabama in four plays. Bulldogs ball with 14:31 remaining.
Georgia 28, Alabama 21, 3:02: Jaylen Waddle 51-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa (Bulovas kick) Drive: 4 plays, 72 yards, 1:29
– J.R. Reed intercepts Tua Tagovailoa at the 3-yard line to end an Alabama scoring opportunity, 6:48.
– Rodrigo Blankenship missed 30-yard field goal, 8:20
Georgia 28, Alabama 14, 12:39: Riley Ridley 23-yard catch from Jake Fromm (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 3 plays, 51 yards, 1:14. Key play: Elijah Holyfield 21-yard run to Alabama 23.
Jake Fromm 14-18, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Interceptions
Tua Tagovailoa 3-9, 35 yards, 1 interception, 0 TDs
Georgia 227 total yards, Alabama 146
Alabama 112 yards rushing, Georgia 88 yards
Georgia 5-9 on third down, Alabama 0-3
Georgia 21, Alabama 14, 2:18: Jay Jacobs 1-yard fumble recovery (Joseph Bulovas kick). Drive: 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:47. Key play: Jay Jacobs 59-yard run to Georgia 16-yard line. Note: Jay Hayes, Natrez Patrick and Juwan Taylor had stopped Jacobs on run when he fumbled, but loose ball rolled back to Jacobs and he grabbed it and held it up before J.R. Reed knocked it loose. Officials ruled he had possession.
Georgia 21, Alabama 7, 4:05: D’Andre Swift 11-yard catch from Jake Fromm (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 6 plays, 51 yards, 2:22. Key play: D’Andre Swift 20-yard run to Alabama 31-yard line.
Georgia 14, Alabama 7, 7:31: D’Andre Swift 9-yard run (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 13 plays, 74 yards, 7:19. Key play: Terry Godwin 11-yard catch from Jake Fromm on third-and-7 from Alabama 40. Note: Three third-down conversions for Georgia on drive.
Alabama 7, Georgia 7, 14:56: Josh Jacobs 1-yard run (Joseph Bulovas kick). Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:12. Key play: D’Andre Walker called for hands to face that negated his sack of Tagovailoa at the Alabama 14-yard line.
Georgia 7, Alabama 0, 3:08: Isaac Nautta 20-yard catch from Jake Fromm (Rodrigo Blankenship kick). Drive: 7 plays, 60 yards, 3:08. Key play: Jeremiah Holloman 18-yard catch on first-and-10 from UGA 40 to start drive.
– Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa goes to injury tent at 10:43 mark of first quarter after Richard LeCounte interception at Georgia 2-yard line. Tagovailoa was sacked on previous play by D’Andre Walker and Juwan Taylor.
The Crimson Tide (12-0) is the first team in the modern era to win its first 12 games by 20 points or more, and its 35.2-point average margin of victory against SEC teams is the highest in league history.
The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) enter the game having scored on 12 consecutive first-half possessions, with sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm playing the best football of his career.
Heisman Trophy frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa leads the Tide, tops in the country in passing efficiency with 36 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this season. It was Tagovailoa, of course, who came off the bench to rally Alabama from 13-0 down to a 26-23 overtime win over UGA in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last January.
Today’s meeting marks the first time since 2013 that the SEC Championship Game has featured two teams ranked in the top 5.
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