Written by PAUL NEWBERRY, a sports journalist for the Associated Press.
Alabama has reclaimed its position as the dominant team in the Southeastern Conference. They may also be on their way to the College Football Playoff, as they put an end to Georgia’s 29-game winning streak with a 27-24 triumph in the SEC championship game on Saturday.
The pressing inquiry is: Has Georgia’s attempt to win a third consecutive national championship come to an end?
Jalen Milroe, the star of the Iron Bowl, made two successful touchdown passes while Alabama’s defense controlled the game after giving up an initial score to Georgia. This performance serves as a strong indication of Alabama’s potential for the playoffs, especially after their previous loss to Texas at home earlier in the season.
The Alabama football team, with a record of 12-1, resolved their issues at quarterback and has remained undefeated since. Their latest win against Georgia marks their 11th consecutive victory and could potentially elevate them from 8th place in the CFP rankings to a highly coveted spot in the top four.
The team from Georgia with a record of 12-1 is relying on their strong performance in the past two seasons to convince the selection committee to include them in the playoffs again. This scenario is similar to what occurred two years ago, when Alabama beat Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game and both teams were chosen to compete in the playoffs.
Georgia sought redemption for their previous loss in the SEC by defeating Alabama 33-18 in the national championship game. They then continued their success with a perfect 15-0 season in 2022, securing back-to-back titles. However, their dream of achieving a record-breaking third consecutive title now lies in the hands of other teams.
Georgia narrowed the deficit to 20-17 when rarely utilized player Anthony Evans III returned a punt for 28 yards, leading to Carson Beck’s successful sneak into the end zone for Georgia’s first touchdown since the beginning of the game.
However, Milroe’s impressive performance included four successful passes to Isaiah Bond for a total of 56 yards. This brought back memories of the previous week when the duo pulled off a miraculous fourth-and-31 touchdown pass to secure a win against Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
At the 5:47 mark, Roydell Williams scored a 1-yard run, putting Alabama back in the lead with a score of 27-17.
Georgia did not give up easily. The team quickly moved down the field and scored another touchdown, with Kendall Milton running from the 1-yard line on a fourth-and-goal play with 2:52 left. This brought them within a field goal once again.
However, Milroe made a strategic decision to end a 30-yard run while staying inbounds to maintain control of the clock. As a result, Alabama was able to run out the remaining time.
In their initial possession, Georgia swiftly advanced down the field and secured a 7-0 advantage with Kendall Milton’s 17-yard touchdown run.
However, the second half was dominated by the Crimson Tide. They outperformed the Bulldogs in total yards, 193 to 55, after Georgia’s initial attack.
Will Reichard, a finalist for the Groza Award, kicked a 43-yard field goal to surpass former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and become the top scorer in NCAA history with 533 points.
Alabama was just getting warmed up.
Milroe struggled with his first four passes, but then regained his accuracy. He successfully completed six out of eight passes for a total of 110 yards. This included two impressive touchdown passes – one for 28 yards to running back Jam Miller due to a defensive breakdown, and another for 15 yards to former Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton with only 48 seconds remaining in the first half.
Miller’s TD capped a 10-play, 92-yard drive, giving a huge boost of confidence to the Alabama offense. After Georgia’s Peyton Woodring missed a potential tying field goal from 50 yards out that deflected off the right upright, Milroe got the Tide rolling again.
Starks received a penalty for interfering with a pass, Milroe successfully completed a fourth-and-4 play with a 22-yard pass to Bond, and Burton caught a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone, giving Alabama a 17-7 lead going into halftime.
Since the beginning of their winning streak, Georgia had only been behind at halftime five times.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to make a comeback this time.
The Crimson Tide of Alabama suffered a defeat against Auburn’s running game in the previous week, but they were able to limit Georgia to only 78 rushing yards in their recent matchup. As a result, Georgia was forced to rely on their passing game led by quarterback Carson Beck more than they had anticipated.
Georgia: Similar to two years prior, the second quarter proved to be the Bulldogs’ downfall. In their 2021 defeat, they allowed 24 points from Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide. This time, Alabama gained the upper hand by outscoring Georgia 14-0 during that timeframe.
The decision regarding this is up to the CFP selection committee. On Sunday, they will reveal the four teams chosen for the playoffs and the remaining bowl assignments for the New Year’s Six.