Postgame analysis: Georgia dominated by Alabama 38-10
Georgia legend Herschel Walker was among those on hand at Sanford Stadium to see Alabama physically overwhelm the Bulldogs for a 38-10 decision.
Not even sure if the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner could have done much for the Dawgs on a rainy Saturday afternoon in which the Crimson Tide looked every bit as good as they have in recent years to stamp their name back into the College Football Playoff consideration.
The Bulldogs are left to ponder what might have been before picking up the pieces and turning their attention toward possibly winning the SEC East once again.
Here’s a closer look at the game.
1. Georgia will not beat a top-flight team like Alabama while being one-dimensional: Starting QB Greyson Lambert struggled against the Alabama defense while backup Brice Ramsey didn’t fare much better in tossing a pick-six in his first pass to start the second half. Bulldogs tailback Nick Chubb is a heckuva player, but not even he can consistently run against top-tier defenses that don’t respect the Dawgs passing game. They have to do better.
2. Coach Mark Richt has a decision to make at quarterback prior to next week’s game at Tennessee: Lambert’s timid play hardly inspired confidence, nor did his 10-for-24, one-interception afternoon. But backup Brice Ramsey was even worse, completing more passes to Alabama defenders (two) than to his own teammates. Ramsey was a miserable 1-for-6 with two interceptions and was sacked twice. It remains to be seen whether junior quarterback Faton Bauta gets a look after a debacle of this magnitude. Bauta is the best runner of the three. Whoever gets the nod next week must be more productive.
3. Another wide receiver has got to step up: Senior Malcolm Mitchell is having a great season, but he needs help stretching opposing defenses. Freshman Terry Godwin has shown flashes but must be more consistent. Georgia quarterbacks must not keep looking exclusively for Mitchell.
4. This game will hurt Georgia’s national brand: This ugly loss means it’s going to be a tough sell to make the College Football Playoff even if the Dogs should run the table and win the SEC Championship. There will be plenty other one-loss teams without this kind of ugly blemish on their resume.
5. Georgia must quickly put this game behind it: The Dawgs can still win the SEC East and reach Atlanta. That means forgetting about this loss and focusing on correcting things in time for this week’s game at Tennessee.
Offense: F – Georgia managed a season-low 10 points and just 299 yards of total offense. Lambert’s struggles in the first half allowed Alabama to focus entirely on Chubb, who managed to equal Herschel Walker’s school-record streak of 13 consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing. Chubb had little room to work as the Crimson Tide defense dominated the line of scrimmage all afternoon. A lack of an effective passing game proved to be the Dawgs’ undoing. Quarterbacks Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey went a combined 11-for-31 with three interceptions. Their inability to make plays was a big reason why the Bulldogs were 3-for-17 on third down conversions.
Defense: D – Offensive struggles meant that Georgia’s defense was left on the field a long time, but the Dawgs failed to register even one sack or even generate much pressure on Alabama quarterback Jake Coker. The Florida State transfer had thrown four interceptions over the past three games, but looked all-world in completing 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown in easily beating the Bulldogs. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin had the Dawgs guessing all day as the Crimson Tide came up with timely big plays and rolled up 379 yards of total offense.
Special teams: C — It was still a close game when Alabama freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick raced in untouched and blocked Collin Barber’s punt before picking the ball up and returning it for a 1-yard touchdown that pushed the Crimson Tide’s lead to 17-3 with 4:48 left in the first half. It was the first time an opponent had blocked a Georgia punt since Tennessee’s Devaun Swafford did so in 2013. Kicker Marshall Morgan was solid, draining a 27-yard field goal early in the second period to even the score at 3-all. Barber punted a staggering 10 times for a 42-yard average, including two kicks of better than 50 yards.
Coaching: D — Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer had no answers for a stingy Alabama defense that was seemingly everywhere, stuffing the run while challenging every pass. The decision to try Ramsey in place of a struggling Lambert reeked of desperation and only made things worse. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s bunch surrendered too many big plays and failed to take Coker out of his comfort zone all afternoon. Alabama’s offense had the Georgia defense off balance all game.
Overall: D — This was supposed to be Georgia’s coming-out game, the opportunity for the Bulldogs to herald their ascension as the preeminent team in the SEC and one to be in the mix for the College Football Playoff. Not so much after Alabama scored touchdowns in all the game’s phases and dominated throughout. It’s still possible for the Dawgs to reach the playoff, but the rest of the country wasn’t impressed by what they saw from the Dawgs. Not sure if they really want a rematch with the Crimson Tide at the Georgia Dome.
• Schottenheimer couldn’t figure out a way to slow down Alabama’s ferocious front seven without a quarterback capable of making plays through the air. The Crimson Tide showed no respect for the Dawgs’ passing game, often playing isolated press coverage on Georgia’s receivers with little worry about giving up a big play. Schottenheimer had limited options to counter because of an offensive line that was being manhandled up front.
• The decision to play linebacker Leonard Floyd almost exclusively on the inside is a decision that defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt might want to re-think. Floyd is an outstanding athlete with an innate nose for the ball but gives up a lot of size while playing on the inside, where his great speed and length are negated against big, athletic offensive lines like Alabama’s. He was a non-factor against Alabama, totaling just four tackles (two solo, two assisted).
• RB Nick Chubb: The sophomore was the lone bright spot on a Georgia offense that failed to do much of anything. Chubb totaled 146 yards to equal Herschel Walker’s school-record streak of 13 consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing but 83 of that came on one run.
• ILB Tim Kimbrough: The junior was all over the field, tallying a team-high 13 tackles to pace the Bulldogs defense.
• WR/KR/PR Isaiah McKenzie reinjured the same left hamstring he first hurt during the preseason during a second-quarter kickoff. McKenzie left the game and did not return.