ATLANTA – Here are five plays that helped Alabama complete another comeback against Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:
The situation: 4th-and-11 on the Alabama 48-yard line, 3:04 left in the game
The play: Alabama tied the game and Georgia started a drive, only to watch it sputter near midfield. Georgia coach Kirby Smart called for a fake punt on 4th-and-11. Freshman quarterback Justin Fields, who hadn’t been used in a punt formation all season, got the ball. Alabama sniffed it out quickly, leaving no time for players to run receiving routes. Fields scrambled but picked up only two yards before Anfernee Jennings brought him down, giving Alabama the ball near midfield for what was the game-winning drive.
The situation: 1st-and-10 on the 15-yard line on Alabama’s final drive in the fourth quarter
The play: Junior quarterback Jalen Hurts had already guided Alabama on one touchdown drive to tie the game. This was his moment to put the game in Alabama’s hands. He waited, and then scrambled up the middle. A Georgia defender reached for his collar as he neared the goal line, but Hurts was able to reach the end zone to give Alabama a 35-28 lead. The defense held on in the final minute for the win.
The situation: 1st-and-10 on the Georgia 25, Alabama’s final possession of the second quarter
The play: Running back Josh Jacobs took the ball and got around the left edge, fighting Georgia safety J.R. Reed at the end of a 59-yard run to start the drive. Jacobs tweeted Friday he had “flu-like” symptoms but was named game MVP after rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. He finished the drive with a touchdown. Jacobs fought for the final yard to get in the end zone, fumbling but reaching out to recover the ball in the end zone while his body was still on the ground. That made the score 21-14.
The situation: Alabama facing 3rd-and 12 midway through the fourth quarter on its own 29
The play: The Crimson Tide offense was 0-for-6 on third down when Jalen Hurts entered the game following Tua Tagovailoa’s injury. He handed the ball off to Najee Harris for a two-yard loss on second down to set up the third-down play. Hurts found tight end Irv Smith Jr. open in the middle of the field for 13 yards, firing the ball in as a defender tried to rip the ball out. It was a pressure-packed throw over the middle against an elite defense. It picked up a new set of downs. After Hurts entered the game, Alabama was 5 of 5 on third downs.
The situation: Georgia receives the Alabama kickoff with 1:04 remaining in the game
The play: Alabama had finally taken its first lead of the game when Georgia returner Mecole Hardman fielded Joseph Bulovas’ kick on the goal line. Hardman, an elite athlete, turned to the left and nearly gained the edge to turn the corner. Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, perhaps the Crimson Tide’s fastest player, was able to force him out of bounds at the 36. Only kicker Joseph Bulovas was behind Ruggs. If Ruggs hadn’t been able to stop him, Hardman might have tied the game with a 100-yard kickoff return.
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.
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