ATHENS — Georgia football has had a strong week of preparation for the SEC Championship Game and spirits have been noticeably high in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.
But for a brief moment Wednesday, tight end Isaac Nauta got a sick look on his face when discussing preparations for the 4 p.m. game on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against No. 1-ranked Alabama.
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“It’s always tough to look back on, watching the film from last year brought up some bad memories,” said Nauta, referencing the Bulldogs’ 26-23 overtime loss to the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff Championship Game last January in Atlanta.
“We used that game as a learning tool to see what we could have done better, and I think that’s a lot of stuff we focused on in practice this week to fix and make sure we capitalize on those drives and make sure that we execute and get that extra first down and extend more drives.
“We’ve been working on it, we don’t forget.”
How could they? Georgia appeared to have the game in hand, up 13-0 and dominating the statistics from total yards (223-94), to first downs (16-4) and time of possession (19:23 to 10:37).
The Bulldogs’ lead equaled the biggest halftime deficit Nick Saban had faced at Alabama, as he was also down 13 to Oklahoma before losing the 2014 Sugar Bowl to the Sooners 45-31.
Instead, Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench and became a household name, while the Georgia offense sputtered for most of the final 30 minutes of regulation.
The Bulldogs went three-and-out on offense three times and squandered a possession in Alabama territory with an interception. Georgia failed to cross midfield the final five possessions of the game.
“Obviously we left that game with a bad taste in our mouths, so it will be fun to go out there and try to get that taste out,” Nauta said. “You look at these games, they come down to one or two plays it seems like, and we want to make sure that this time we’re on the other side of those one or two plays and get the win.
“They’re a solid team, we’re a solid team, it should be a great game.”
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has had the offense on a rail since the bye week.
Fromm is 62-of-85 passing for 827 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception since the loss to LSU.
Nauta, who was recruited by Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin at Alabama, indicated the Bulldogs’ offensive game plan will be set with a high-scoring game in mind.
“With them being as explosive as they are on offense, we need to score when we get the ball, and there needs to be that urgency as well,” Nauta said. “We have to make sure we execute and take advantage of every drive and try to get points on the board.”
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