Rapid reaction: Derrick Henry, Alabama defense too much for Georgia in 38-10 win
What it means: Losing to Alabama is never a shame, but the loss especially stings when it comes at home and you probably have more overall talent on both sides of the ball than the Crimson Tide. Worse yet, Georgia will have to live with the fact that Alabama dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball in breezing to the easier-than-expected win. The setback doesn’t entirely ruin Georgia’s chances of reaching the College Football Playoff because they can still go on to win the SEC East and then possibly the SEC Championship to land one of the four coveted playoff spots, but it does mean there’s no margin for error the rest of the way for the Dawgs. Critics will again have a field day with their claims that Richt can’t win big games despite having immense future NFL talent. Worries about quarterback Greyson Lambert are now back in force. The victory proved the rumors of Alabama’s alleged demise are GREATLY exaggerated.
What I liked: There wasn’t a whole lot to like about this game for Georgia fans, but the Dawgs played hard until the game’s conclusion. There’s still a lot of football left to be played and the Dawgs can still have an excellent season by winning the SEC East and reaching the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. Tailback Nick Chubb totaled 146 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to pace the Bulldogs offense. Crimson Tide tailback Derrick Henry was a beast, chewing up 148 yards and one touchdown on just 26 carries. His strong legs set the stage for quarterback Jake Coker to enjoy a banner day by completing 11 of his 16 attempts for 190 yards and a touchdown.
What I didn’t like: Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert came crashing to earth with a resounding thud, completing just 7 of 17 passes for 70 yards in the decisive first half before being replaced by Brice Ramsey. The Virginia graduate transfer had been en fuego as of late, but withered in the face of a relentless Alabama defense that constantly harassed him. Lambert was clearly rattled, misfiring on eight of nine passes at one point and finishing just 7 of 17 in the decisive first half as Georgia’s offense struggled to get anything going. Lambert, who also fumbled away a snap in the third quarter, too often focused exclusively on wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and the Crimson Tide was ready. He returned in the third quarter and finished 10 for 24 for 86 yards and an interception on the day. Lambert’s inability to make plays downfield with his arm allowed Alabama to consistently focus on slamming the door shut on the Dawgs running game and drew the wrath of Georgia fans. Backup quarterback Brice Ramsey was worse, throwing two interceptions, including one that was returned for a 50-yard touchdown. Lambert and Ramsey were a horrid 11 for 31 collectively for 106 yards with three interceptions.
Who’s the Man: Chubb faced a sea of Alabama defenders every time he saw the ball, but managed to tally 146 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to equal Herschel Walker’s school record with his 13th consecutive game of at least 100 yards rushing. His 83-yard scoring burst last in the third quarter put him over the century mark and accounted for the Bulldogs’ lone touchdown of the day.
Key Play: Georgia inside linebacker Jake Ganus was hardly the only culprit in the face of an Alabama offensive line that consistently had its way on the day, but Ganus’ over-pursuit allowed Crimson Tide tailback Derrick Henry as easy cutback lane en route to storming 30 yards untouched into the end zone to give visiting Alabama a 10-3 advantage with 8:26 left in the half. The play provided a big spark and the Crimson Tide never looked back.
What’s Next: The Dawgs are now left to pick up the pieces as they try to rebound at Tennessee next week. They’re clearly more talented on both sides of the ball and will be favored to easily handle the Vols. But Georgia can’t take anything for granted after laying an egg against Alabama on Saturday. A win, however, would go a long ways toward righting things and moving closer to winning the SEC East and reaching the SEC Championship game. Alabama hosts Arkansas next week with renewed swag.