ATLANTA — Kirby Smart said his Georgia football team has been here before, and offered during his halftime interview that the Bulldogs need to “come out and play” in the second half.
Alabama holds a 17-7 lead at halftime of the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, outscoring Georgia 14-0 in the second quarter.
Former Bulldogs receiver Jermaine Burton, in his second season with the Tide after leaving UGA, scored the final TD of the second half on a 15-yard catch.
Alabama converted a fourth-and-4 from the UGA 37 on the drive when former Buford, Ga., High School standout Isaiah Bond caught a 22-yard pass to the Bulldogs’ 15.
“We get the ball to start the second half, we knew that the whole time, so we’re going to take it and be aggressive with that, and come after them,” Smart said.
Georgia quarterback Carson Beck is 9-of-12 for 91 yards and UGA is 3-of-6 on third downs, but Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe has also been successful, completing 6-of-12 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
“Sitting back (on defense) has not been good,” UGA sideline reporter D.J. Shockley noted. “The guy is making some throws, and their guys are making plays down the field.”
Georgia started the game out strong, Smart noted.
“We had good emotions and good momentum swings early,” Smart said, “and then it slid the other way a their quarterback made some good plays and we haven’t converted on offense in third-and-shorts.”
The Bulldogs scored first on their opening drive, Kendall Milton running in untouched from 17 yards out after Brock Bowers sparked the drive with a 23-yard catch and run on the first play from scrimmage.
Georgia radio analyst Eric Zeier noted the Bulldogs need to play better at the line of scrimmage and compensate for some key injuries.
“We have to win the line of scrimmage,” Zeier said. “Ladd McConkey (ankle) is hobbling around some, and Amarius Mims (ankle) is out now. We have some key weapons that aren’t full go.”