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Senior Jamaree Salyer gives Georgia an invaluable piece to the puzzle it is trying to solve up front this season with his ability to play any of the offensive line positions, SEC Portal
Kevin Snyder

Jamaree Salyer: Backs to the wall, Georgia eager to change Alabama narrative in CFP Championship Game

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia captain Jamaree Salyer says the Bulldogs are not running from the narrative that Alabama has owned them in football but makes it clear they’re planning to change it

“It’s definitely motivation … it is what it is, it’s the truth,” Salyer said on his Saturday morning Zoom call from Indianapolis, site of the CFP Championship Game at 8 p.m. on Monday, asked if UGA is tired of hearing about the Tide’s dominance in the series.

“You can’t really run away from the truth. That’s what it is. that’s our record.”

The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide (13-1) and the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (13-1) have met four times in the six seasons Kirby Smart has been the Georgia head coach, and Alabama has prevailed each time.

WATCH: Kirby Smart arrives in Indy with Dawgs comfortable competing on big stage

The Tide won the past two meetings by identical 41-24 scores, last season in Tuscaloosa, and again this season in the SEC Championship Game.

“They played a better game than us, they out-executed us on that given Saturday,” said Salyer, speaking on the most recent matchup between the teams on Dec. 4 in Atlanta. “They had a better game plan. I think that’s what it came down to.”

The SEC title game was one thing, but Salyer said the mindset in the College Football Playoffs has been another for the Bulldogs, and it showed in a dominant 34-11 win over No. 2 Michigan.

WATCH: Nolan Smith says Georgia ready to ‘finish the job’ on Alabama in CFP Championship Game

Certainly, Salyer had his chinstrap on tight, keeping Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the Heisman Trophy runner-up and then-projected No. 1 overall pick neutralized as Georgia scored on its first five drives.

“I think we knew we had our backs up against the wall,” Salyer said. “It comes down to making the adjustments, understanding these are different stakes. Like I said, it’s just different, and we understand it’s something we really want and understand things can be different this time.

“It doesn’t have to be the same narrative over and over again. We control our destiny — not anybody else. Not the media. Not Alabama. We control our destiny and that’s how we want it.”

Fact is, Georgia led or was tied 118 minutes and 54 seconds of the 120 minutes of the first two matchups between teacher and pupil in the CFP Championship Game following the 2017 season and the 2018 SEC Championship Game.

The Bulldogs even managed a 24-20 halftime lead in Tuscaloosa last season, when Alabama was still at full strength with all six first-round NFL draft picks and Georgia relying on the 2020 version of Stetson Bennett who was making just this third career start.

The Bulldogs took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter in the most recent meeting, too, before the offense unraveled with stalled drives and turnovers and the defense came apart.

RELATED: Stetson Bennett biggest Georgia X-factor in CFP title game

“The record has been the record but this is a new game coming up,” Salyer said. “A different game, different environment. One different than I’ve ever played in. The stakes are different. We want to play this game and not worry about the last few.”

Georgia’s 34-11 win over the Wolverines in the Orange Bowl CFP Semifinal on Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., provided evidence the buy-in was there.

The Tide staggered the Bulldogs in that last meeting, but Salyer and his teammates have come off the mat and are ready to take another swing at knocking out the narrative that Alabama holds a mental block.

“You want to be calm, collected and have composed attack,” Salyer said. “Play our game — not necessarily play their game — but be who we are.

“We’re good enough at what we do. We have great coaches. We have great players and we have a great game plan.”

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