The Georgia offense was able to hang 21 points on the number one scoring defense in the country. That, in and of itself, is pretty impressive. The Georgia offensive line paved the way for freshman running Todd Gurley to carry the football 23 times for 122 yards and two scores. There were times where it looked as if Gurley couldn't be knocked off his feet, and at other times it appeared as if the Bulldog offensive line was taking control of the line of scrimmage. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray finished the game 18 for 33 passing for 265 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Murray looked as calm in the pocket as he ever has in a big game, and lead Georgia on a final drive that ended in a play that will likely go down as one of the most heartbreaking plays in UGA football history.
Despite the fact that Georgia was able to move the ball against Alabama and put up 21 points, it did a number on the defense, which had its own struggles, by having seven three play and out drives. In those three and out drives, Georgia gained 23 total yards and created a situation where Alabama had the ball on offense 15 minutes and 10 seconds more than the Bulldogs had the ball on offense.
The final play of the game was about as ugly as it gets, and not necessarily from a decision-making standpoint. The Bulldogs had the ball on the Alabama eight-yard line with 15 seconds to go in the game, and elected to line up and throw a fade route to Malcolm Mitchell instead of spiking the ball. In hindsight, spiking the ball would have been the wiser call because Murray's pass was tipped and caught by Chris Conley and that allowed the clock to expire. If the ball isn't tipped and Mitchell makes the catch or the ball falls incomplete, things look much differently, but this call will be picked apart and debated for a long, long time. The ugly part was simply the way it all happened. It has to be almost impossible to swallow a loss on such a play where almost everything went wrong for the Bulldogs.
Georgia forced two huge turnovers against Alabama but was unable to capitalize on either. Jarvis Jones forced a first quarter fumble from Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, and gave the Bulldogs a short field opportunity that was essentially squandered when Marshall Morgan missed a 51-yard field goal. The Bulldogs forced their second turnover on a third down from their own five yard line when Sanders Commings picked off McCarron and stopped a big scoring opportunity for the Tide. Alabama is a team that doesn't turn it over, but the Bulldogs were able to force a couple that could have been huge if the offense were able to capitalize.
Georgia just could not stop the run. Alabama was able to line up in a lot of one and two tight end sets and find running room against a Georgia defense that had shown improvement in its last five games. Alabama rushed the ball 51 times for 350 yards against the Bulldog defense, and the Tide's ability to dominate the line of scrimmage on offense allowed them to outlast the Bulldogs. It is tough to discuss the struggles of Georgia's run defense without talking about a number of missed tackles that turned decent gains into huge gains for Alabama.
With Georgia up by three points and just over five minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs were forced after a first down run by Tide running back T.J. Yeldon to roll a safety down into the box to stop the run. McCarron took advantage of that aggressiveness with a 45-yard strike to Amari Cooper that gave Alabama a lead that would be threatened but not overcome. The Tide drew Georgia in with the run game and beat them over the top for the win.
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