ATLANTA, Ga- On a neutral Mercedes-Benz Stadium site, the no. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 SEC) trail the 3rd-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1. 7-1 SEC) 24-17 in front a CBS audience.
Stetson Bennett finished the half 11-of-16 passing with 168 yards including 2 touchdowns. George Pickens led all Bulldog pass catchers in yards with 37 coming on a first quarter reception. Ladd McConkey followed behind with 2 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Darnell Washington also caught his first career touchdown early in the second quarter.
Zamir White led the way for the Bulldogs on the ground with 25 rushing yards on 5 carries. James Cook also posted 23 yards on 6 carries.
Following an exchange of punts, the Bulldogs broke into Alabama territory with successful carries from James Cook and Zamir White. Stetson Bennett later connected with tight end Brock Bowers for 18-yards setting Georgia up in the red zone before a Dallas Turner sack stalled the drive. Jack Podlesny was called on and connected on a 38-yard field goal. The kick concluded an 11-play, 52-yard drive as Georgia took a 3-0 lead with 6:01 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tide’s following drive broke into Bulldog territory with a 13-yard completion to Cameron Latu before stalling at the UGA-44. The Bulldog offense then produced an 8-play, 97-yard scoring drive. A George Pickens 37-yard reception set the Bulldogs up inside the Alabama-10 before Stetson Bennett connected with Darnell Washington in the back of the endzone. Darnell Washington’s first career Bulldog touchdown gave Georgia a 10-0 lead with 14:56 remaining in the second quarter.
In need of a response, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young connected with Jameson Williams for a 67-yard score. The 3-play drive used just 44 seconds of possession and cut Georgia’s lead to 10-7.
Following a Bulldog punt, Bryce Young connected with John Metchie from 13-yards out giving Alabama a 14-10 with 9:46 remaining in the half. The 6-play, 80-yard drive was sustained by several big competitions including a 40-yard pass to Metchie on the drive’s second play.
Alabama’s ensuing drive produced a third-straight score as Alabama kicker Will Reichard drilled a 33-yard field goal. The 12-play, 79-yard drive was sustained by 2 short third down conversions including a 22-yard competition to Slade Bolden on a Bryce Young scramble. Alabama would lead 17-10 with 5:13 remaining in the half.
The Georgia offense responded after Ladd McConkey ran a WR screen 32-yards for a touchdown. The drive saw only 2 official plays ran after 4-straight penalties, including 3 on the Tide secondary, put the Bulldogs into Alabama territory. Ladd’s 5th touchdown on the season tied the game at 17 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the half.
Bryce Young scrambled into the endzone from 11-yards out completing the Crimson Tide’s 4th-straight scoring drive to end the half. Young accounted for all 75 of Alabama’s yards on the drive as he broke the SEC championship record for passing yards in a half with 286-yards. Alabama would enter the half with a 24-17 lead and will receive to begin the second half.