Alabama was riding high with an undefeated record and a recent national championship under its belt. Georgia, meanwhile, had been struggling to reach .500 with all of the injuries it had suffered through.
So when the two teams met for this year’s college football championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, nobody knew what to expect.
But Georgia came out firing, dropping eight touchdowns and eight field goals against the Crimson Tide and only allowing a late touchdown to give them more than a three-score lead. It was a truly dominant performance, though it came without some of its marquee players who were injured earlier in the season — including star running back Sony Michel — and didn’t show up until almost halftime.
“It really wasn’t a surprise, we just went out there and played hard,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “We knew that if we didn’t turn the ball over and could keep Jalen Hurts from hitting big plays on us, we’d have a great shot at winning.” Alabama got on the board first with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts to Calvin Ridley to take a 7-0 lead. That was the last time it would score for the remainder of the game.
The Bulldogs responded with 40 unanswered points by halftime, including two rare rushing touchdowns from senior quarterback Jake Fromm and one passing touchdown from freshman running back D’Andre Swift.
The second half was more of the same. The only score came with just under 10 minutes to play when Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison snagged a pick-6 to take a 52-7 lead. But it wasn’t even enough for the Crimson Tide to cover the 27.5-point spread, as they went on to lose by 13, 52-39.
Georgia will be returning to the playoffs next season, and Alabama won’t be far behind. The Crimson Tide still has plenty of talent coming back, including star linebacker Mack Wilson who led his team with 13 tackles in the championship game. However, it’s unclear whether head coach Nick Saban will come back for his 11th year at Alabama or finally move on after a historic run.