Georgia football stock report: Special teams a downer in loss to Alabama
ATLANTA — Georgia football suffered another heartbreaking defeat to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, falling 35-28.
Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts came off the bench in place of an injured Tua Tagovailoa with 11:15 left and Georgia up 28-21 and rallied the team to the win.
Hurts gots the job done, going 7-of-9 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 28 yards and a touchdown on 5 carries. The Tide has now won 24 straight over SEC East foes dating back to a 2010 loss at South Carolina.
Alabama entered the game having beaten all of its opponents by 20 points or more and boasting an SEC-record 35.2 average margin of victory in league games during the regular season.
Georgia held a 21-14 lead at the half, dominating the time of possession 20:52 to 9:08, and out-gaining Alabama 227-146.
Tagovailoa, meanwhile, struggled to a 3-of-9 passing start with an interception by Richard LeCounte at the UGA 2-yard line that stopped the Tide’s opening drive. Tagovailoa was 10-of-25 for 164 yards when he left the game.
Jake Fromm tied the SEC Championship Game record with 10 consecutive completions in the first half of Saturday’s game. It would have been more but there were two dropped passes. He opened 14-of-18 passing for 139 yards for 2 touchdowns with no interceptions through the first 30 minutes. He finished the game 25-of-39 for 301 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.
D’Andre Walker was seemingly unblockable throughout the action, recording 2 tackles for loss, a sack and 2 quarterback hurries.
Safety J.R. Reed had 8 tackles and an interception.
D’Andre Swift had six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown to go with 75 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries. Swift became the fifth player in SEC Championship Game history with a rushing and receiving touchdown.
The punt team had a tough game. Freshman Jake Camarda booted a low line drive on his first punt that was returned 36 yards. On his second punt, Camarda missed on the chance to pin Alabama deep from the Tide 44 when his punt bounced at the 1 and the punt team failed to be in position to down it, resulting in a touchback and a 24-yard net punt. Camarda had another punt too close to the goal line that LeCounte couldn’t track down in time to down at the 1, resulting in another touchback.
Brian Herrian let a kickoff bounce and then had trouble fielding it cleanly at the UGA 1, resulting in the Bulldogs having to start their drive at the 6-yard line.
Missed tackles: Tae Crowder and Richard LeCounte both missed open field tackles on Josh Jacobs on the Alabama back’s 59-yard run in the second quarter.
Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 30-yard field goal with 8:20 left in the third quarter, eliminating a chance for Georgia to extend its lead to 31-14.