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Crimson Tide Football Falls at No. 11 Georgia, 37-23


Saturday, October 04, 2003

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Georgia 37, Alabama 23

*The No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs scored 31 second-quarter points en route to a 37-23 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.  The attendance for today's Alabama-Georgia game was 92,058 here in Athens.
*Georgia's 37 points are the most-ever scored by the Bulldogs against the Crimson Tide.  The previous high was 35 points in 1948 and 1955.  Georgia won 35-0 in 1948 at Legion Field and posted a 35-14 win here in Athens in 1955.
*The Alabama game captains for the Georgia game were left guard Justin Smiley (offense), Anthony Bryant (defense) and Leslie Williams (special teams).  Smiley (Ellabell) and Williams (Stone Mountain) are both Georgia natives.
*Alabama has lost three straight games and four of its last five since posting a 40-17 win over South Florida in the 2003 season opener at Legion Field on Aug. 30.
*Georgia scored 31 second quarter points en route to a 37-10 halftime lead over Alabama in today's win at Sanford Stadium.  The Bulldogs scored 21 of those 31 points off two Crimson Tide fumbles (14 points) and one blocked punt (7 points).
*Alabama's defense was responsible for 17 points in the loss to Georgia, scoring two touchdowns and setting up a 42-yard field goal by Brian Bostick. Senior Charles Jones (Waynesboro, Ga.) recorded two interceptions, including a 30-yard return for a touchdown in the third quarter.  Redshirt freshman linebacker Juwan Garth (Decatur), who made his first career start for the Tide in place of Derrick Pope at 'SAM' linebacker scored on a 10-yard fumble return with 14:06 left in the game for his first career TD.
*The 31 points in the second quarter are the most allowed by Alabama in the modern era.  In addition, Georgia's 37 points in the first half are the most allowed by Alabama in the modern era of football.  The previous highs were 35 second-half points in a 49-26 loss to Auburn at Legion Field on Dec. 29, 1969 and 31 first-half points to Colorado in a 47-33 loss in the Dec. 13, 1969 Liberty Bowl in Memphis. 
*The Crimson Tide also allowed 29 second-half points in a 35-0 loss at Florida on Sept. 14, 1991; 28 second-half points at Arkansas in a 42-6 loss on Sept. 26, 1998; and 23 first-half points in a 37-27 loss at Oklahoma on Sept. 7, 2002.  Alabama actually took a 27-23 lead in the second of last year's OU game, but lost in the final minutes as the Sooners scored two late TDs.
*Following that 31-point second quarter, Alabama shutout Georgia in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-0 in the final 30 minutes of the game.  The Georgia game is the second time this season the UA defense has pitched a shutout in the second half.  The Crimson Tide also blanked South Florida during the season half of the 2003 season opener.
*Georgia has won two straight games over Alabama for the first time since 1955-56.  The Crimson Tide lost two straight games to the Bulldogs in 1920-21 and 1942-44 (UA did not have a team in 1943).  Georgia also had a five-game winning streak over Alabama from 1910-13 and 1916.  Overall, Alabama still leads the series with Georgia 34-23-4.  In games played in Athens, Alabama still holds an 11-7 series lead.
*Sophomore Spencer Pennington (Fayette) made his first career start today for the Crimson Tide, subbing for the injured Brodie Croyle.  Of the last 10 Alabama quarterbacks to make his first start for Alabama (since 1991), Pennington is the sixth to make his debut in an SEC game.  In fact, the last two Alabama quarterbacks first start came in an SEC road game, including Croyle last year (Sept. 28, 2003) at Arkansas.
*The 2003 season marks the second straight year Alabama's starting quarterback did not start the Georgia game.  Senior Tyler Watts did not start in last year's 27-25 loss in Tuscaloosa.  Croyle did not start today, but did play two snaps in the second quarter before leaving with an injury.
*Pennington's first career touchdown pass was an 18-yard TD strike to senior split end Dre Fulgham (Montevallo) with 3:51 left in the first half. 
*Pennington finished the game by completing nine of 20 passes for 109 yards with one TD and one interception, all career highs.
*Fulgham (Montevallo) earned his first start of the 2003 season in the game against Georgia.  Fulgham had two TD catches last week, including a 71-yarder against Arkansas, to earn his first start of the season today.  The start by Fulgham was just his fourth career start for the Crimson Tide.
*Fulgham caught four passes for 41 yards and one TD in the loss to Georgia.  Fulgham has three TD catches this season -- all in the last two games -- matching his career high set last year as a junior.  Fulgham also has two career TD receptions against Georgia, including a 32-yarder last year in Tuscaloosa just before halftime.
*Alabama played its third quarterback of the game when redshirt freshman Brandon Avalos (Tuscaloosa) replaced Spencer Pennington with 6:49 left in the third quarter.  Pennington was shaken up on the previous play allowing Avalos to make his debut for the Crimson Tide.
*Avalos completed his first career pass to Lance Taylor (5 yards) on fourth-and-one from the Georgia 31-yard line to give the Crimson Tide a first down at the Bulldogs 26-yard line with 5:58 left in the third quarter.  Avalos ran seven plays and moved the Crimson Tide to the Georgia seven before turning the ball over on downs.
*Avalos completed two of eight passes for six yards and had four rushing attempts for nine yards in his debut.
*Garth (Decatur) made his first start of his career today against Georgia, subbing for the injured Derrick Pope at 'SAM'
linebacker.  Pope (Galveston, Texas) had made eight starts in his Alabama career, including all five game this season. 
*Garth played 101 snaps in the loss to Georgia, including 81 snaps on defense and 20 on special teams.  He finished the game with eight tackles, one sack (-10), one pass deflection and the 10-yard fumble return and TD.
*Redshirt freshman Kyle Tatum (Prattville) made his second straight start at right defensive tackle for the Crimson Tide.
*Sophomore Clint Johnston (Wetumpka) made his first start of the 2003 season at tight end.  Junior David Cavan (Tuscaloosa) has started the first five games at tight end for the Crimson Tide.  Johnston's start against Georgia was his sixth career start.
*Senior free safety Charles Jones (Waynesboro, Ga.) picked off a David Greene pass on the second play of the game at the Alabama 34-yard line and returned the ball (33 yards) to the Georgia 36-yard line, setting up a 42-yard field goal by Brian Bostick. 
*Jones added his second interception of the game and first career touchdown when he returned a Greene interception 30 yards for a touchdown with 1:06 left in the third quarter to cut the Georgia lead to 37-16. 
*Jones has three interceptions this season and six in his UA career for 119 yards and one TD.  Jones three interceptions this season matches his previous high of three set last season for the Crimson Tide.
*The Crimson Tide became the first team to score on its opening possession against Georgia in five games this season.
*Redshirt freshman Chris Harris (Tuscaloosa) made his Alabama debut in the first quarter of today's game with Georgia.  Harris made his debut on the Bulldogs' third possession of the quarter.
*Junior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw) had his second blocked punt of the 2003 season today against Georgia.  The Bulldogs Jarrett Berry blocked the punt and Thomas Davis scooped up the loose football to complete the 29-yard punt return for a UGa touchdown.
*The last time an Alabama opponent blocked a punt for a touchdown in the regular season was Sept. 15, 1990 when Florida's Jimmy Spencer blocked a Stan Moss punt and Richard Fain recovered the ball in the end zone for a Gators touchdown.  Florida won the game 17-13.  In the Jan. 1, 1991 Fiesta Bowl, Louisville's Ray Buchanan blocked a Stan Moss punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a TD as the Cardinals posted a 34-7 win.
*Alabama has had four kicks blocked in six games this season, including two punts and two extra points.
*Redshirt freshman Ramzee Robinson (Huntsville) has four kickoff returns for 83 yards, including a career-long 30-yarder today against Georgia. 
*The loss to Georgia also snapped Alabama's five-game road winning streak, dating back to last season.  The Crimson Tide won five consecutive road games last year at Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU and Hawai'i.
*In addition, the Crimson Tide had its five-game SEC road winning streak snapped today.  That streak, which dated back to the 2001 season, included wins over Auburn (2001), Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and LSU.
*The Crimson Tide is 7-4 in last 11 road games, including a 5-2 mark in its last seven SEC road games.
*Alabama falls to 8-4-1 all-time in games played on Oct. 4 and has a two-game losing streak on this date.