ATHENS, Ga.—During a game of steady, unrelenting rain at Sanford Stadium, 13th-ranked Alabama broke a 3-3 second-quarter tie against Georgia, and then poured it on, defeating the 8th-ranked Bulldogs, 38-10. The 28-point margin of defeat was Georgia’s worst loss in Sanford Stadium since a 52-17 setback to Florida 20 years ago in 1995.
The Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and went three-and-out and punted—an indication of what was to come for the Georgia offense for most of the contest. Of their 18 possessions the entire game, the Bulldogs went three-and-out and punted 10 times. The one offensive drive of the Bulldogs’ first seven when they actually moved the ball resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan early in the second quarter, which answered a 29-yard field by Alabama’s Adam Griffith late in the opening quarter.
With the score tied 3-3 midway through the second quarter, the Crimson Tide opened the flood gates, scoring three touchdowns in a span of only four-and-a-half minutes.
“The dam broke and unfortunately we just didn’t have enough counterpunches to get back in it,” head coach Mark Richt said following the game. “I’m disappointed for us as a team, players and coaches… It’s no fun to have that kind of performance.”
With the score tied, Alabama’s Derrick Henry scored on a 30-yard touchdown run up the middle, giving Alabama a 10-3 advantage. For the game, Henry rushed for 148 yards on 26 carries.
Only one minute after Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick scored a touchdown on a blocked Collin Barber punt with 4:48 until halftime, Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker passed for a 45-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley. Ridley finished with a game-high five catches for 120 yards. For Coker, who had come under fire for his sporadic play under center, he was absolutely brilliant against the Bulldogs. For the game, he completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards, and also added 28 yards rushing and a touchdown.
On the opposite side, Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert struggled mightily. After having completed a staggering 90 percent of his passes (44 of 49) since the third quarter of the Vanderbilt game, Lambert was only 10 of 24 passing for 86 yards. Against the Tide, the once impressive Lambert was at times booed by the Sanford Stadium crowd, and replaced by backup Brice Ramsey.
“It was a tough one,” Lambert said. “My hat’s off to their defense. They came ready to play, and we did not execute—whether it was communication or X’s and O’s, we did not do our job.”
Ramsey didn’t fare any better, completing just 1 of 6 passes for 20 yards, and was sacked twice. The Georgia quarterbacks, who entered the third quarter this evening not having thrown an interception all season in four-and-a-half games and 106 pass attempts combined for three (Lambert one, Ramsey two) after halftime on only 13 attempts.
The Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half resulted in a Ramsey interception returned 50 yards by Eddie Jackson for a touchdown. Three minutes later and leading 31-3, Coker scored on a 2-yard run.
Perhaps Georgia’s lone highlight of the game came late in the third quarter when tailback Nick Chubb got loose for an 83-yard scoring jaunt. The standout sophomore finished with 146 rushing yards on 20 carries, extending his 100-yard rushing streak to a school-record-tying 13 games.
Chubb’s run cut Georgia’s deficit to a 38-10 score, but it was way too little, way too late. In the final, rainy quarter of play, the Bulldogs had no success moving the ball on the wet turf, while Alabama essentially killed the clock, prevailing in a rout.
“It’s a long season, and we have to get ready for the next one,” Richt said. “We’ve got to make a lot of corrections and get back on track.”
Facing Tennessee next week in Knoxville—a game which is arguably more important for the Bulldogs to win than their rainy affair was this afternoon—Georgia has mere days to “get ready for the next one” and “make a lot of corrections.” Still, a victory over the Volunteers in essential, or the Bulldogs’ 2015 campaign may never get back on track.