The heavyweight battle label has been utilized to so many video games throughout Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama, and Saturday’s showdown with Georgia acquired the identical remedy.
We virtually believed No. 2 Alabama could be susceptible towards No. Three Georgia. Possibly the protection could be uncovered. Possibly Nick Saban’s mid-week constructive COVID-19 check could be a distraction. Possibly the SEC’s prizefighter would present its age.
Yeah, that did not occur. The Crimson Tide routed the Bulldogs 41-24 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones completed 24 of 32 passing for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns, which retains him within the Heisman Trophy dialog with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Alabama (Four-Zero) took management of the SEC West race and has a case to be ranked No. 1 within the subsequent school soccer polls — one other dialog that includes Clemson.
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In different phrases, this system hasn’t misplaced a step with Saban in 2020. Alabama (Four-Zero, Four-Zero SEC) is now 16-7 in top-five matchups below his management, and the Crimson Tide reestablished their big-game mojo by knocking off Georgia (Three-1, Three-1 SEC).
Regardless of the same-old questions on whether or not Georgia can take the nationwide championship step with Kirby Good, you can also make a powerful argument the Crimson Tide wanted this victory extra. In spite of everything, the final two top-five showdowns did not go Alabama’s approach.
No. 1 LSU beat No. 2 Alabama 45-41 on Nov. 9, 2019; previous to that, No. 2 Clemson beat No. 1 Alabama 44-16 within the Faculty Soccer Playoff championship sport on Jan. 7, 2019. Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence took turns shredding the Crimson Tide protection, and a few of these questions bubbled up at halftime towards Georgia.
The Bulldogs led 24-20 at that time, and Alabama was making errors on the worst time. Jones threw an interception on the sport’s first play from scrimmage. An offsides name on fourth-and-1 arrange a Georgia landing proper earlier than halftime. Saban had a handful of sideline eruptions.
Then Alabama threw an uppercut within the type of a 90-yard landing cross from Jones to Jaylen Waddle, the go-to weapon within the Crimson Tide’s deep-threat passing assault. Malachi Moore and Daniel Wright intercepted Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett on the following two possessions, and that led to touchdowns from Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith, respectively. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian known as a wonderful sport.
Alabama now has gained top-five showdowns towards Georgia within the common season, SEC championship sport and Playoff championship sport within the final 4 seasons. Saban is Three-Zero towards former assistant Kirby Good, and the Bulldogs face the psychological toll of ending the rest of the season unbeaten for a possible rematch within the SEC championship sport.
The Crimson Tide nonetheless have questions, however they are not concerning the big-game credentials. How do you cease this offense? Harris had 31 carries for 152 yards and a rating towards the top-ranked rush protection within the FBS (38.Three yards allowed per sport previous to Saturday). Smith (11 catches, 167 yards, two touchdowns), Waddle (six catches, 161 yards, landing) and John Metchie III (three catches, 50 yards, landing) all acquired ultimately zone.
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Alabama’s protection allowed 146 yards and no factors within the second half. The massive-game Crimson Tide have been again on the assault. Saban used all of the boxing analogies within the post-game interview with CBS.
Avenue battle. Fifteen rounds. Lopez-Lomachenko was the undercard Saturday evening. Saban has gone by means of 23 of these sorts of top-five matchups since 2007, and it is easy to reduce their impression whenever you’re 16-7.
That mentioned, Alabama does not have one left on the regular-season schedule. The Crimson Tide’s final six opponents are .500 or worse by means of 4 weeks of SEC play. Alabama is in full management of the SEC West and will nonetheless wiggle into the Playoff with a loss within the SEC championship sport down the road.
That is what was at stake Saturday, and Alabama answered the bell as regular. There’s nonetheless greater than sufficient battle for one more nationwide championship run.