<
>

Alabama recreates 'Blackout Game' in rout of Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. -- It was the 2008 “Blackout Game” all over again.

The Crimson Tide went back to Georgia seven years later with an attitude like they’d never left. Players danced in front of the Red Coat band during pregame warmups, jawing and taunting the home team, then backed it up by dominating Mark Richt’s Bulldogs so thoroughly that many fans headed home by halftime.

For those who stayed, their faith in Georgia wasn’t rewarded. Not only did the fans suffer through buckets and buckets of rain, but they were also treated to a 38-10 Alabama win that evoked memories of the 2008 loss in Athens, where the Crimson Tide jumped to a 31-point lead at halftime and upset then-No. 3 Georgia.

Although all the players and many of the coaches have changed since then, the results didn’t. Nick Saban’s team still got the best of Richt's and dominated from start to finish. All three units for the Tide scored touchdowns -- offense, defense and special teams -- while the Bulldogs struggled to hold onto the football and turned it over three times.

What the win means for Alabama: The dynasty isn’t dead. With what Alabama showed against Georgia, that narrative has to be put on the back burner. Nick Saban’s squad went into a raucous environment in Athens and played with a level of dominance not seen since 2012. The defense was suffocating. The offense was explosive. Even the special teams made a few big plays, highlighted by a blocked punt touchdown. Making up for a September loss to Ole Miss won’t be easy, but for now, it’s safe to say the Tide are back in the middle of the SEC and playoff hunts.

What the loss means for Georgia: Mathematically, Georgia is far from eliminated. In fact, the Bulldogs are still probably the favorites to win the East. But mentally, Georgia is toast. After the Bulldogs failed time and time again in big games in recent years, this was supposed to be the team to turn things around. Against Alabama, they were supposed to show they were the real deal. Instead, Richt’s squad didn’t show up. They got punched in the mouth once and gave up. If Georgia makes it to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, a sense of self-doubt is sure to follow.

How the game was won: In the shadow of its own end zone, down a touchdown with momentum slipping away, Georgia was on the ropes. It was then, on fourth down with 4:50 left before halftime, that Alabama delivered the knockout blow. Minkah Fitzpatrick knifed through the line untouched, got two hands on the slow-developing punt and had the ball bounce right back into his lap in the end zone for six points. Alabama took a two-touchdown lead and never looked back.

Player of the game: Where has this Jake Coker been all season? Better yet, where was he last year? Against Georgia, he looked nothing like the former Florida State transfer. He was poised, decisive and even accurate. Finally, the fifth-year senior played with some confidence and showed off the skill that had FSU coach Jimbo Fisher singing his praises even after he’d left. In his first road start, Coker completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He even ran in a touchdown.

Stat of the game: Georgia was beaten down by Alabama, but it wasn’t Nick Chubb's fault. He couldn’t help that his offensive coordinator went away from him for most of the first half. And even that couldn’t stop the star running back. With an 83-yard sprint to the end zone in the third quarter, Chubb surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the 13th consecutive game to break former Georgia legend Herschel Walker’s record.