Georgia 27, Alabama 25: Postgame Notes & Statistics

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Saturday, October 05, 2002

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*Alabama suffers its first-ever loss Georgia in Tuscaloosa, after winning the first seven games in series history. Alabama is now 7-1 against Georgia here in Tuscaloosa.  The Crimson Tide still holds the all-time series lead 35-23-4.

*The 27-25 loss to Georgia snaps Alabama's three-game winning streak and five-game home winning streak.  The loss also snaps the Crimson Tide's three-game winning streak over the Bulldogs.

*With the loss today, Alabama has now lost 11 of its last 20 games in the month of October.

*Georgia managed 161 rushing yards in its win over Alabama, the second-most against the Crimson Tide this year.  Middle Tennessee ran for a season-high 183 yards in the season opener.

*Georgia tailback Musa Smith (21-126-1 TD) is the first back to rush for 100 yards against the Alabama defense this season.  The previous high was 70 yards by Cedric Cobbs last week at Arkansas.  The last back to rush for 100 yards against Alabama was Miss. State's Dontae Walker (15-101) on Nov. 10, 2001.

*Today's game was the fourth Top 25 matchup in the Alabama-Georgia series and the Bulldogs have won all four meetings, including 1942, 1946, 1976 and 2002.

*Alabama's 27-25 loss to Georgia is just the second loss in school history on Oct. 5.  The Crimson Tide is now 11-2-1 on Oct. 5.  The last loss on Oct. 5 was a 10-8 setback to Ole Miss in Jackson in 1968 (Archie Manning's sophomore year).

*Georgia won the time of possession battle with Alabama, marking only the second time this year the Crimson TIde has not won the time of possession battle. Georgia held the ball 30:16 to Alabama's 29:44  in today's games.  Alabama entered the game as the SEC's best team in terms of time of possession, while Georgia ranked last.  In addition to Georgia, Middle Tennessee also held an eight second advantage over Alabama in the season opener. 

*Alabama forced three turnovers today against Georgia and has 10 in its last three games.  Of those 10 forced turnovers, only two have resulted in points.  Alabama kicked a field goal last week at Arkansas and posted a 35-yard interception return today vs. Georgia.  Prior to the interception return, Alabama had forced 10 consecutive turnovers with a touchdown, dating back to the North Texas game.  For the season, Alabama has forced 14 turnovers, resulting in only 24 points.

*Alabama started five defensive backs against Georgia, including the first career start for Anthony Madison. 

*Alabama did not score on its opening possession of the game for the first time this season.

*Georgia scored on its opening possession marking the first time since the Oklahoma game that an opponent has scored in the first quarter against the Alabama defense.  Oklahoma scored nine points in the first quarter to give OU a 9-3 lead.  The Crimson Tide had shutout North Texas, Southern Miss and Arkansas in the first quarter in its three previous games.  Alabama's Derrick Pope had a 75-yard fumble return on Georgia's opening drive, but a dead ball penalty against the Bulldogs (illegal procedure) nullified the return to the Georgia one-yard line.

*Musa Smith's 15-yard TD run marked the first time Alabama has trailed in a game since losing 37-27 at Oklahoma on Sept. 7 in Norman.  The Crimson Tide never trailed in wins over North Texas, Southern Miss and Arkansas.

*Michael Ziifle's 47-yard field goal with 5:16 left in the first quarter is the longest of his Alabama career.  The previous long was 45-yards at Oklahoma on Sept. 7th.  In fact, he kicked two 45-yard FGs in the loss to OU.

*Senior left cornerback Gerald Dixon recorded his first interception of the 2002 season when he picked off a David Greene pass at the UA 32-yard line.  Dixon's four-yard return gave the Crimson Tide a first down at the UA 36-yard line.  Dixon's interception was the second of his career and first since the 1999 season.

*Georgia's David Pollack recorded the second blocked field goal attempt against Alabama this season.  Pollack blocked Brian Bostick's 28-yard FG with 10:09 left in the second quarter.  Earlier this season, Oklahoma's Pasha Jackson blocked a 52-yard FG attempt by Michael Ziifle in the first quarter in  Norman.

*Dre Fulgham recorded his first career touchdown reception, hauling in a 30-yard TD pass from Brodie Croyle with 51 seconds left in the second quarter as UA cut the Georgia lead to 14-9.  Croyle was 3-for-3 on the drive for 38 yards and one TD.

*Sophomore place kicker Brain Bostick missed the PAT attempt following the Croyle-to-Fulgham TD pass, marking the first time since 1996 the Crimson Tide missed an extra point.  Jon Brock missed a PAT attempt in a 17-16 loss at Miss. State in 1996. 

*After falling behind 24-12 with 13:32 left in the game, Alabama answered with a one-yard TD run by freshman quarterback Brodie Croyle to cut the lead to 24-19 with 9:27 to play in the game.  Croyle 3-for-3 passing on the drive for 35 yards and added a one-yard TD run as leaped over a Georgia defender and into the end zone.

*Two plays later, Charlie Peprah intercepted a David Greene pass at the Georgia 35-yard line and returned the ball for his first collegiate touchdown, giving Alabama a 25-24 lead with 8:24 left in the game. The interception was the second of the year by Peprah. 

*Peprah's 35-yard interception return is the second by an Alabama player this season.  In the 2002 season opener, Freddie Roach recorded a 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to give the Crimson Tide a 39-27 lead.  The Crimson Tide won the game 39-34.

*Alabama has an open date next week before hosting Ole Miss here at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 19, 2002. 

*Alabama will play its first Junior Varsity football game this Thusrday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. (CT) against Georgia Military College here at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Admission is free.

GEORGIA POST-GAME NOTES

*Under Mark Richt, Georgia is now 6-0 on opponents home field, including Georgia's first-ever win here in Tuscaloosa.  Previously, the Bulldogs were 0-7 in their history in Tuscaloosa.  Richt is 3-0 in his career vs. ranked opponents on their field, winning at No. 6 Tennessee and No. 21 Georgia Tech last season.

*This is Georgia's 5th come-from-behind win under Richt, including their second of the season.  UGa rallied to beat Clemson 31-28 in the season opener.  Also, Georgia is 10-1 when they lead at halftime under Richt.

*Georgia is 5-0 for the first time since 1982, the year the Bulldogs won their last SEC Championship and lost to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl (27-23).

*For the fourth time in the series, today was a Top 25 matchup and the Bulldogs are now 4-0 in those meetings, winning 1942, 1946, 1976 and 2002.

*Georgia QB David Green was the CBS Player of the Game.  He completed 15 of 27 passes for 224 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.  Georgia rushed the ball a season-high 41 times, including a season-high 21 times by Musa Smith for 126 yards.  It was his third 100-yard game of the season.  He is the first back to rush for 100 yards against Alabama this season.

*Sophomore David Pollack had his first career blocked field goal, which eventually led to a Georgia touchdown.  It was Georgia's first blocked FG since the 2000 season (Jamie Henderson vs. Vandy).

*Redshirt freshman safety Thomas Davis recorded his first career interception today.  Freshman Darius Swain added his first career fumble recovery today.

*Billy Bennett's 32-yard game-winning FG was his first from that distance this year.  Bennett is 5-for-6 this season, including two FGs today.  Bennett is 36-for-46 in his career.  Bennett's game-winning FG came in the same end zone that Alabama's Michael Proctor beat Georgia with a last-minute FG in 1994.  Proctor's field goal with 51 seconds left in the game gave UA a 29-28 win on Oct. 1, 1994.

University of Alabama Coach Dennis Franchione Quotes

"It was a tough hard-fought game. Our players played with a lot of heart and determination. We've lost two tough games to teams in the top six and we've taken them down to the wire. There were a lot of big plays. "

"Charlie Peprah made a big play in the fourth quarter to give us a chance to win the ball game."

"We never got in rhythm offensively. And they kept us off-balance with their great running game."

"(Michael) Ziifle was great. He would have been the MVP if we would have won. Brodie (Croyle) played well and showed a lot of toughness. We just put him in a tough situation that he hadn't been in yet."

"You never take consolation in losing, penalties are a concern for us but the open week comes at a good time for us."

"Shaud (Williams) is a play maker. He's earned the coaches trust with his outstanding playmaking ability. He's not the only one that makes plays but he always seems to be making them at the right time and I'm glad he's on our team." 

University of Alabama Player Quotes

Shaud Williams:

"It hurts. One or two more plays and we could be sitting at 5-1 right now. We've got to see how strong we are and how we respond to a tough loss like this."

"We need a week off to let some people heal. We've got some people banged up right now and they will have some time to rest. We've got some tough games ahead of us and we've got to have everybody ready to play." 

Brodie Croyle:

"Too many missed opportunities. We had our chance and they had theirs. They took care of it in the end. They had a good plan."

On his TD pass: "Dre (Fulgham) was one on one and not too many people can cover him one on one. We got some points before the half."

On his TD run:  "I couldn't get by the defender. It was my last option (to go over top) and luckily it worked out for me." 

Nautyn McKay-Loescher:

"They won it at the end. They made some key plays and we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. They came out and tried to establish the run. All hats off to them, we played a real good team."

"We've got a long time to re-group and prepare for another big one. Ole Miss just beat a top team. We've got a big-time schedule coming up." 

Charlie Peprah:

"It was a tough loss. Everybody played their hearts out. Everyone fought their tails off. A couple of plays didn't go our way. A lot of plays can determine where we are at. We've got two weeks to prepare for Ole Miss and get our legs back. This is the SEC and every game is a battle. Anything can happen. Florida lost to Ole Miss. Every game is a battle. This is a tough loss." 

Georgia Player Quotes

#30 Billy Bennett, PK- "We played a great game. I am glad the guys blocked. The snap was there.They asked me which hash and I just said kick it from the middle I guess. I didn't like to stand on the field too long. The quicker you do it, the better it is."

"They said we have not been 5-0 since '82. That was our goal especially for this game. I think this will carry us for awhile."

#47 David Pollack, DE- "We are man enough. We knew that. We played responsible football. You have got to take care of your gap and play disciplined defense."

(On 2-point conversion stop)- "They ran the speed option to the right and he cut it back. Thankfully we were able to stop him."

"They went away from a lot of their tendencies. In the running game their main play is the sprint draw and they didn't run it much."

(On blocked field goal)- "I just fired in there and got a hand on it somehow. I came through the middle and it hit me."

# 8 Terrence Edwards, FLK- "You've got to give them credit, they played hard. We just made the plays we have been making all year. It's a big win. With Florida losing today we stand alone in the East. We control our own destiny."

"We have so much confidence we knew Billy was going to make that kick. The offense did a great job of putting him in the position to do so. We were balanced today. If we can carry that over the rest of the season we will be hard to beat."

#14 David Greene, QB- "It's great. I can't tell you how good it is. It feels like the win in Knoxville last year. People counted us out and we stuck together and won."

"The line was solid all night long. We had a lot of success in the running game. I knew they could I had confidence in them. I knew we had a great offensive line and they showed it today."

"Billy has been so clutch for us ever since he has been here. We have total confidence in him. We drained the clock and set it up in the middle of the field and Billy just drained it."

"Our football team is like a family. Nobody points fingers. We never feel we are out of a game. It took every phase of our football team today and we did just enough to win. We have to keep going because we have a tough game next week."

Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt Post Game Quotes

(on the win) "Well let's fact it, it was huge. We're really battling for this Southeastern Conference Championship. Winning here was big. I am proud to be a part of this victory."

"We just executed a little bit better (this week).  Bennett had the kick when we had to have it. We had our share of mishaps too. The defense had some ups and downs but they made the plays to win the ballgame."

"I think Brodie Croyle played a great game. They are a tremendous football team."

"Overall we did a good job (of stopping the run off the option)."

(on Musa Smith) "He played great. He would've run for even more yards if he didn't start cramping up."

(on penalties) "There were a couple that really hurt us. In a hard fought game there are going to be some penalties. You've got to cut down on those."

"I think everybody was tired. I could see fatigue on their side also."

(on preparing his team for Tennessee) "I think these guys will be ready for Tennessee. These guys are tough and resilient."