Sept. 27, 2008
Box Score |
By Scott Latta, UA Media Relations
ATHENS, Ga. - No. 8 Alabama used an explosive first half to top No. 3 Georgia (4-1, 1-1) Saturday night, racing out to a 31-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-30 win over the Bulldogs in front of a sold out Sanford Stadium in Athens.
The win was Alabama's second over a top ten team this season and takes the Crimson Tide's record to 5-0 (2-0 SEC) for the first time since 2005. Alabama's 41 points against Georgia was the most the Tide has scored in the 65-game history of the series, dating back to 1895.
Alabama scored on all five of its first-half possessions, getting three rushing touchdowns and a field goal before a 22-yard touchdown pass from senior John Parker Wilson to freshman Julio Jones gave the Tide 31 points at the break.
Wilson started the game 7-of-7 for 101 yards and finished the first half 10-of-11. For the game, Wilson was 13-of-16 for 205 yards and a touchdown. A 29-yard pass to junior Roy Upchurch in the second half vaulted him over former quarterback Brodie Croyle (2002-05) for the top spot in career passing yards at Alabama. Wilson has now passed for 6,398 yards, eclipsing Croyle's total of 6,382.
Alabama scored 10 points in the first quarter, earning a 7-0 lead on its opening drive on a 7-yard touchdown run by freshman Mark Ingram. The Tide recorded five first downs on its opening drive, two of which came on Georgia penalties.
After forcing Georgia to punt on its opening possession, the Tide got a 23-yard field goal from junior Leigh Tiffin to extend the lead to 10-0. Alabama's 10 first-quarter points give the Tide a 74-0 first-quarter scoring edge over its opponents this season.
Alabama kept the pressure on Georgia in the second quarter, scoring quickly from three yards out before Tide freshman Don'ta Hightower recovered a Georgia fumble by receiver AJ Green on the Bulldogs' ensuing possession. The turnover led to a 4-yard score by Upchurch before Wilson's 22-yard strike to Jones on Alabama's next drive put the Tide up 31.
Jones had his most productive game of the year for Alabama, finishing the night with five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. The score was Jones' fourth of the year, setting an Alabama freshman record for touchdown receptions. Upchurch had two catches for 51 yards and junior Mike McCoy had two catches for 22 yards.
On the ground, junior Glen Coffee carried the ball 23 times for 86 yards and scored two touchdowns, while Upchurch had six carries for 18 yards and a touchdown and Ingram had seven carries for 17 yards and a score.
Georgia's offense came alive in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third quarter and 20 in the fourth on the strength of a 274-yard, two-touchdown passing performance from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford finished the game 24-of-42, finding freshman receiver AJ Green six times for 88 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs got within 14 points of Alabama early in the fourth quarter on a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown by Prince Miller, but the Tide responded by rattling off 10 unanswered points of its own, getting a 32-yard field goal by Tiffin and 12-yard score from Coffee to put the game out of reach.
The Alabama defense rendered Georgia's rushing attack ineffective in Saturday's game, holding tailback Knowshon Moreno to just 34 yards on nine carries. The Bulldogs' next leading rusher was Stafford, who scrambled for 11 yards in the game.
The defensive performance runs Alabama's streak of not allowing a 100-yard rushing performance to six games, dating back to 2007.
For the second week in a row, the defense held strong at the end of the first half in order to preserve a shutout. After keeping Arkansas out of the end zone four times from the 1-yard line last week, the Tide got a late interception from junior Justin Woodall inside the red zone against Georgia Saturday to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in the first two quarters.
The Alabama defense sacked Stafford twice in the game and recorded four tackles-for-loss. In all, 22 players recorded a tackle for the Tide, led by Woodall and sophomore Rolando McClain, who each had five.
Alabama returns home next week, facing Kentucky in a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS.