Burton

Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) during the Bulldogs' game with Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Photo by Skylar Lien)

Following No. 3 Georgia’s 41-24 loss to No. 2 Alabama in the fourth game of the season, The Red & Black graded each position group’s performance.

Quarterback

Georgia starting quarterback Stetson Bennett has developed a pattern early in games of getting his bearings before starting to make plays. Last week, Georgia’s passing game didn’t turn on until just before halftime. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Bennett broke through at the top of the second quarter after 15 minutes of stifling pressure from Alabama’s front seven led to an interception and a sack. With plenty of space in the Crimson Tide’s secondary, junior running back James Cook snagged a good ball by Bennett and scampered for an 82-yard score. Bennett ended a 12-for-25, 177-yard first half with a final drive that saw him both catch Alabama offsides twice on a critical fourth and one and throw a dime to freshman Jermaine Burton in the endzone. Bennett’s second half was characterized by mistakes. Two more interceptions led to touchdowns by Alabama as Bennett failed to make a positive impact. He continued to struggle with timing and getting the ball over the outstretched hands of Alabama’s defensive line, finishing 18 of 40 with 269 yards.  William Newlin

Grade: D (Last week vs. Tennessee: B+)

Running backs

Georgia running backs looked better against Alabama than in previous weeks, but they still weren’t able to break away to make a major impact given that Georgia elected for more passes. Zamir White saw the most touches on the night, carrying the ball 10 times for 57 yards. Kendall Milton showed promise with a six-rush, 44-yard performance, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. All in all, Georgia totaled 145 total yards on the ground. Augusta Stone

Grade: B- (Last week vs. Tennessee: B) 

Receivers

Although he’s technically a running back, James Cook gave the Alabama defense fits with his presence in the passing game through the first 30 minutes. The junior had four receptions for 101 yards in the first half, including an 82-yard touchdown. Outside of Cook, the receivers had trouble getting separation from the Crimson Tide secondary for the majority of the first half, recording 76 yards. George Pickens and Jermaine Burton got involved toward the end of the half with integral third-down receptions. In the second half, the pass-catchers found separation but inaccurate and overthrown passes hindered production. Burton led the way with 11 targets, and four receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown in his best game with the Bulldogs. Pickens chipped in with five receptions on seven targets for 53 yards. Andy Walsh

Grade: B- (Last week vs. Tennessee: B)

Offensive line

It’s tough to blame the offensive line for all of Georgia’s offensive issues, but Bennett was put under pressure by Alabama multiple times throughout the game. Though the Bulldogs’ offensive line didn’t cause the same mishaps as last week against Tennessee, it wasn’t able to control the line of scrimmage or allow Georgia ample room to make plays, which contributed to the loss.  Augusta Stone

Grade: C (Last week vs. Tennessee: C+)

Front seven

Georgia’s defensive front was worn out by Alabama’s imposing offensive line. The Bulldogs still managed to get to Mac Jones and apply pressure, but it wasn’t enough. Jones had plenty of time to find his talented trio of wide receivers whenever he wanted. Jermaine Johnson, Nakobe Dean and Malik Herring all recorded a sack, but they struggled to contain Alabama’s Najee Harris, who secured 80 yards on 13 runs in the first half and finished with 152 yards on 31 carries. The senior scored the first rushing touchdown on Georgia’s defense so far this season. Gillian McIntyre

Grade: C- (Last week vs. Tennessee: A)

Secondary  

Looking out of sorts, Georgia’s secondary was outmatched by a talented Crimson Tide receiving corps. While Richard LeCounte came up with an interception on Alabama’s opening drive, Georgia’s defensive backs didn’t force another turnover in the game, ultimately allowing Alabama quarterback Mac Jones to rack up 417 yards and four touchdowns. Jones’s 90-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle with four minutes to play in the third quarter — complete with a stumbling Tyson Campbell hitting the dirt in his wake — spelled the end for Georgia as the Crimson Tide scored 17 unanswered points in the second half.  — Gillian McIntyre

Grade: D (Last week vs. Tennessee: A-)

Special teams

In for sophomore place kicker Jack Podlesny on kickoffs, punter Jake Camarda regularly booted the ball out of the endzone. Alabama’s speedy wideout and returner Jaylen Waddle returned just one kick in the game for 22 yards. Podlesny was still kicking field goals, however, and went 1-for-2 on the night. He made a 50-yarder in the second quarter but missed a much-needed 35-yard shot late in the fourth quarter. Georgia sophomore halfback Kenny McIntosh’s kick return yardage was below his NCAA third-best average, but he had no issues securing decent field position. Georgia kick returning trio averaged 27 yards on six looks. Punt returning was a different story. Neither Waddle nor Georgia returner Kearis Jackson had a chance to make a play, with one two-yard return by Waddle forming the extent of both teams’ punt return performances. William Newlin

Grade: C+ (Last week vs. Tennessee: A)

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