Alabama vs.Georgia

  Date: 9/27/2008  
  Score: 41-30  
  Alabama vs. Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. – The Alabama Crimson Tide turned the blackout into a knockout. Eighth-ranked Alabama looked impressive by whipping Georgia 41-30, in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. The Tide raced to a stunning 31-0 lead at halftime, and the Bulldogs managed a couple of cosmetic touchdowns in the waning minutes. Dominance at the line of scrimmage and pinpoint passing by John Parker Wilson keynoted the Crimson Tide’s performance as Alabama (5-0 overall, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) put this one away early. The Tide scored on its first five possessions.

Georgia (4-1 overall; 1-1 in the SEC) came out wearing black jerseys, and most of its fans at 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium also took part in the "blackout." But 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 Wilson to 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. He ended the night completing 13 of 16 for 205 yards and a touchdown. A 29-yard pass to Roy Upchurch in the second half surpassed former quarterback Brodie Croyle (2002-05) for the top spot in career passing yards at Alabama.

Alabama scored 10 points in the first quarter, earning a 7-0 lead on its opening drive on a 7-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. After forcing Georgia to punt on its opening possession, the Tide got a 23-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin to extend the lead to 10-0. Alabama kept the pressure on Georgia in the second quarter, scoring quickly from three yards out before linebacker Dont’a 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 31-0.

Jones finished 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 Mike McCoy had two catches for 22 yards. On the ground, Glen Coffee carried 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 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. 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, holding tailback Knowshon Moreno to just 34 yards on nine carries. The defensive performance extended Alabama’s streak of not allowing a 100-yard rushing performance to six games.

The Alabama defense sacked Stafford twice in the game and recorded four tackles-for-loss. Safety Justin Woodall and linebacker Rolando McClain shared the team

lead in tackles with five apiece.