The streak is over for top ranked Georgia as the Bulldogs fell to number eight Alabama 27-24 in the SEC championship game Saturday evening in Atlanta. The Bulldogs had won an SEC record 29 straight games with Georgia’s last loss coming to the Crimson Tide in the 2021 SEC title game.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after throwing for 192 yards and two touchdowns. as
the Crimson Tide improved to 12-1 on the season. Bama has now won nine SEC championships under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama also extended its Atlanta winning streak to 17 games with its last loss coming to Florida in the 2008 SEC championship game.
Georgia falls to 12-1 on the season as the Bulldogs lost for just the second time in their last 47 games.
Georgia quarterback Carson Beck was 21 of 29 for 243 yards. He also ran for a touchdown in the second half.
“To go through an SEC schedule, 12 games, and to win each and every one, it’s not something easy to do,” Beck said. “It’s not easy, but super proud of these guys.”
Things looked promising for Georgia early on as the Bulldogs grabbed a 7-0 lead. Georgia drove 83 yards on eight plays capped by a Kendall Milton 17-yard touchdown run with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter.
After both teams punted on their next possession, the Tide cracked the scoreboard on a 43-yard field goal by Will Reichard to cut Georgia’s lead to 7-3 with 3:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
Following a second straight three-and-out by the Georgia offense, Alabama took its first lead of the game as Milroe hit Jam Miller on an 18-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play 92-yard drive. Milroe’s first TD pass of the second quarter gave the Tide a 10-7 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
On Georgia’s next possession, the Bulldogs drove as close as the Alabama 19, but a 2-yard loss on a running play, a five-yard loss on a sack and a false start penalty put the ball back at the 31 leading to a missed 50-yard field goal that hit the upright by freshman Peyton Woodring.
The Tide took over with 4:37 remaining in the half and proceeded to put together a nine play 69-yard touchdown drive with Milroe hitting former Bulldog Jermaine Burton on a 15-yard touchdown pass. It was Burton’s 8th touchdown catch of the season giving Bama a 17-7 lead with less than a minute left before halftime.
Both teams traded field goals in the third quarter with Woodring hitting a 34 yarder and Reichard nailing a 28-yard attempt. The Georgia defense was able to bow up to limit the Tide to three points as Alabama had taken over at the Georgia 11-yard line following a fumble on a dropped handoff exchange from Beck and Dillon Bell.
The fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs outscore the Tide 14-7 but Georgia was never able to re-take the lead. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 20-17 on Beck’s one-yard run with 10:16 remaining. Bama then answered on its next possession driving 75 yards for a touchdown on a one-yard run by Roydell Williams with 5:47 remaining.
The Bulldogs once again trimmed the Crimson Tide lead to three on Milton’s second touchdown of the game with 2:52 remaining, but Alabama was able to run out the clock on its final drive to get the win.
“Man, am I proud of our fight and resiliency,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “Two times I guess we’re down 10 or three times we’re down 10, offense battles back, never quits, “never say die” attitude.”
The Bulldogs under Smart are 93-16 overall and 2-4 in the SEC championship game while the Bulldogs overall are 4-7 in the SEC title game.
The two teams now await their College Football Playoff fate with the announcement of the top four teams at noon Sunday.
©2023 Cox Media Group