Alabama vs.Georgia

 
  Date: 9/22/2007  
  Score: 23-26  
  Alabama vs. Georgia

TUSCALOOSA – For the second consecutive game, Alabama came up with a clutch defensive stand and a last-minute drive led by John Parker Wilson in a dramatic fourth quarter comeback. But this time, a 10-point last-minute explosion wasn’t enough to earn a victory as Georgia (3-1 overall, 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference) knocked off the Crimson Tide, 26-23, in overtime before a sellout crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium and an ESPN national television audience.

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford hit receiver Mikey Henderson with a 25-yard pass for a touchdown in the first overtime period to give the Bulldogs the victory.

Georgia’s winning play, on its first offensive snap of the overtime period, erased a 23-20 Alabama lead that capped a Crimson Tide comeback that erased a 10-point Georgia lead.

Georgia took a 20-10 lead with 12:23 left in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Brandon Coutu before the Tide offense awoke. Alabama (3-1 overall, 2-1 in the SEC) responded with a 61-yard, 13-play drive to a 22-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal to draw within 20-13 with 6:30 remaining. After the Tide defense forced a Georgia punt, the Tide took over at its own 12-yard line with 4:44 to go. Alabama marched 88 yards in 10 plays to score on a six-yard scramble by quarterback John Parker Wilson with 1:09 remaining. Tiffin’s conversion kick tied the game at 20-20. Georgia drove to a 48-yard field attempt by Coutu on the final play of regulation, but the kick missed wide to force overtime.

"I think the biggest difference in the game was time of possession and their ability to keep the ball," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "It was really a problem in the first half."

Georgia won the overtime coin toss and chose to play defense first. After Alabama could not mount a drive, Tiffin entered and kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Tide a 23-20 lead. On the next play, Georgia ended the game in the southeast corner of Bryant-Denny Stadium. After faking a handoff, Stafford lofted a pass to the end zone for Henderson, who made an over the shoulder catch for his first career touchdown and ended the Tide’s hopes of a second straight dramatic victory.

Stafford completed 19-of-35 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted twice. He was excellent on third downs, helping Georgia convert

9-for-19 and keep the ball nearly nine minutes longer than Alabama. After falling behind the Bulldogs, 10-0, Alabama got a 40-yard field goal by Tiffin as the clock expired at halftime to cut the lead to seven. After a Rashad Johnson interception and a 30-yard run from Terry Grant, Wilson sneaked for a one-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10.

A touchdown and a field goal from Georgia gave the Bulldogs a 20-10 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the game. The Tide started its late comeback with Tiffin’s 22-yard field goal on a drive kept alive by a pass interference call on fourth-and-7. Alabama held Georgia without a first down and got the ball back at its own 12 with 4:44 left. Wilson hit Keith Brown down the left sideline for a 43-yard gain after Brown broke free from cornerback Bryan Evans, moving into Georgia territory.

Roy Upchurch’s tackle-breaking 10-yard run up the middle gave Alabama first-and-goal from the 6. Then Wilson dropped backed before quickly darting into an open lane and zigzagging into the end zone with 1:09 left. Wilson threw for 185 yards, completing 17-of-35 passes. Glen Coffee and Terry Grant combined for 142 yards rushing for Alabama.

Georgia nearly earned the win in regulation time. Stafford moved the ball downfield in the final 1:09 despite having only one time out to work with, but Brandon Coutu’s 47-yard field goal attempt went wide left as time ran out. The Tide started overtime with the ball but failed to gain a yard and Tiffin put Alabama ahead with a 42-yard field goal.

"You can’t execute the way we did in the first half and do some of the things that we did out there and have a chance to be successful against a team like that," Saban said. "We put ourselves in a hole and were unable to overcome it."