Georgia football stock report: Some ups amid 41-24 loss at Alabama
ATHENS — Not all Georgia football fans are still buying in after a second-half collapse at Alabama on Saturday night, but the wisest ones will take note of promising futures.
The Bulldogs (3-1) fell to No. 4 in the polls on the heels of their 41-24 loss to the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide (4-0) in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart accepted responsibility for the loss, saying he and his staff were out-coached by Nick Saban, who is now 22-0 against former assistants.
Alabama converted three Georgia turnovers into three touchdowns, including both of quarterback Stetson Bennett’s second-half interceptions.
While the Bulldogs continued searching for their offensive identity, the Tide focused in on its three star players. Data reveals 51 of 76 Alabama plays (67 percent) going to tailback Najee Harris (31 carries), DeVonta Smith (13 targets) or Jaylen Waddle (7 targets).
Contrast that to Georgia, which out of its 70 plays spread the ball considerably more. The four players who had half the plays: 11 targets for true freshman receiver Jermaine Burton, 10 carries for Zamir White and 7 targets each for George Pickens and Kearis Jackson.
Here’s a look at whose stock went up and down:
James Cook: Cook posted career-highs in catches (4) and receiving yardage (101), reeling in an 82-yard score from Bennett in the second quarter.
George Pickens: Pickens caught a season-high 5 passes on 7 targets for 53 yards and avoided the sort of extracurricular activities that have gotten him in the doghouse before against a chippy Tide defense
Jermaine Burton: The true freshman saw a career-high 11 targets, catching four and reeling in the fist TD catch of his career. Bennett said he trusts Burton and will work to get more dialed in with him this week.
Offensive line: The Georgia offensive line provided plenty of push and pass protection, with no holds or false starts. Bennett was sacked twice, both on occasions where he had time to throw away the ball.
Kendall Milton: Milton ripped off a 24-yard run, the longest off the night by either team. The freshman continues to impress, finishing with 44 yards on 6 carries.
Zamir White: The junior hit the line of scrimmage hard with a team-high 10 carries for 57 yards including a touchdown.
Azeez Ojulari: Ojulari made an immediate impact on Alabama’s first offensive play, hitting Mac Jones to trigger an interception. Ojulari also batted down a pass in the first quarter and finished with 2 tackles.
Special Teams: Jake Camarda continues to impress with a 49-yard average, and Jack Podlesny had a 50-yard make to go with a 35-yard miss, now 8-of-10 on the year. The Bulldogs averaged about 27 yards on their six kick returns.
Kearis Jackson: Alabama put the clamps down on Jackson, bracketing him with an extra defender to hold him to 2 catches for 23 yards on 7 targets.
Stetson Bennett: Alabama made things tougher on Bennett (18 of 40, 269 yards, 2 TDs, 3 Ints) as the game progressed and UGA abandoned the run. Bennett was 6 of 15 for 92 yards and 2 interceptions over the final 30 minutes.
Secondary: It was a tough night for the Bulldogs talented defensive backs with three defensive holds and a pass interference call. Alabama’s lightning-quick receivers can not be replicated in practices.
Early buy-in: Warren McClendon at right tackle. The redshirt freshman opened some eyes in Tuscaloosa.