Atlanta, Ga. --- Bryce Young threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as No. 3 Alabama handed top-ranked Georgia its first loss of the season, 41-24 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Alabama won its conference leading 29th SEC title while also beating the Bulldogs for the eight straight time in the series dating back to 2007, Nick Saban’s first year as the Crimson Tide’s head coach.
Young threw for a championship game record 421 yards and his touchdown passes covered 67 and 55 yards to Jameson Williams and 8 yards to John Metchie III. Young has now thrown 43 TD passes on the season with only four interceptions.
Williams now has 15 TD catches this year, nine of those going for 50 or more yards.
Both teams are now 12-1 as Georgia’s 16 game winning streak dating back to last season came to an end.
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Bennett also threw two second half interceptions, the last one returned 42 yards by Alabama safety Jordan Battle for a TD that gave the Tide a 38-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Things started well for Georgia as Jack Podlesny kicked a 38 yard field goal midway thru the first quarter. The Bulldogs then scored the first touchdown of the game on the first play of the second quarter. Tight end Darnell Washington caught a five yard scoring pass from Bennett. It was Washington’s first career TD that gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead.
The ten point lead was short-lived though as Alabama struck back quickly to get on the board. Williams caught a 67 yard touchdown pass to cut the Georgia lead to 10-7 less than a minute later.
Following a Bulldogs’ three-and-out, Alabama scored on its second straight possession for a 14-10 lead as Young found John Metchie on an eight yard touchdown pass. The four point deficit marked just the fifth time in 13 games that the Bulldogs had trailed at any point.
Following an Alabama field goal that gave the Tide a 17-10 lead with 3:28 remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs answered with a 75 yard touchdown drive finished off by a Bennett to Ladd McConkey 32 yard scoring pass. It was McConkey’s 5th touchdown catch of the year and tied the score at 17 with 2:06 left in the second quarter.
But it was Alabama that scored the final points of the half as Young ran for his 3rd touchdown of the season with 26 seconds remaining. Alabama scored all 24 of its first half points in the second quarter against a Georgia defense that was allowing less than seven points per game this year.
Things got worse for Georgia to start the second half as Alabama added to its lead. Young hit Williams for a 55 yard touchdown pass to give the Tide a 31-17 advantage with 13:10 remaining in the third quarter. The TD marked the 5th straight scoring drive for Alabama. In that span, the Crimson Tide outscored the Bulldogs 31-7 following Georgia’s 10 point lead early in the second quarter.
Georgia’s Brock Bowers caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. The receptions and yardage were both SEC Championship game records for a tight end. Bowers now has 11 TD catches this season.
The Bulldogs now await their post-season fate as the College Football Playoff Committee will unveil its top four teams at noon on Sunday.
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