No. 3 Georgia leads No. 2 Alabama 24-20 at halftime in its first game back in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, since Sept. 22, 2007. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:
Fireworks to start
Georgia began the game with a momentum-seizing interception on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia’s leading sack-getter, delivered the hit on Jones which caused an errant throw. Safety Richard LeCounte came out with the interception after an official review.
Three plays later, Stetson Bennett delivered his first interception of the season. His pass was tipped into the hands of Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe, returning the ball to the Crimson Tide.
Alabama capitalized on its first turnover, driving down the field for a 40-yard touchdown pass from Jones to receiver John Metchie.
Bennett had another near-interception on a tipped ball on Georgia’s second drive, and another on a crucial third down play in the second quarter. His height was not much of a concern in the Bulldogs’ first three games, but it has troubled him so far.
Harris giving Georgia defense fits
The Bulldog defense came into this game allowing only 38.3 yards per game on the ground. In the first half today, Georgia surrendered 74 yards on the ground, a total which already surpassed that average for an entire game.
Najee Harris added to his impressive season resume in the first half, with 13 carries for 80 yards. Alabama’s offensive line did a good job opening running lanes for Harris, who broke tackles in the secondary on multiple occasions.
Harris averaged 6.2 yards per attempt with a long rush of 17 yards. He is coming off a 206 yard, five touchdown game against Ole Miss. Harris will likely not replicate that, but he had crucial gains for the Crimson Tide offense thus far.
Georgia’s offense breaks free
James Cook is making quite the impression in his first game back from the shoulder injury he suffered against Auburn two weeks ago.
Breaking the 7-7 tie, Cook tore up the sideline to haul in a well-placed pass from Bennett. He took the ball 82 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 14-7.
Georgia’s offense found a rhythm as the first half wound down, with George Pickens becoming involved with timely third-down receptions and Cook finishing the half with 101 total receiving yards. Pickens finished the half with three catches for 48 yards, trailing only Cook in production.
Bennett found Jermaine Burton for a five-yard touchdown pass near the end of the half, extending the Bulldog lead to 24-17. Georgia’s offense racked up 177 yards through the air to go along with its 91 rushing yards.
Continuing the trend from the Tennessee game, passes were completed to six different Georgia receivers, and five players received multiple rushing attempts, including Bennett.
Alabama drove 41 yards to set up a 52-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half. Will Reichard made the kick, cutting the Georgia lead to 24-20.