Jake Fromm would hand the ball off to Nick Chubb in hopes that one of the SEC’s all-time leading rushers would be able to make a play.
But within a few seconds, one of Alabama’s stout defensive linemen would be there to meet him for either a loss or a short gain. Most of the time it was Da’Ron Payne, who collected six tackles on the night. It was something that Georgia saw too frequently in the second half as drives continued to stall.
Meanwhile, Alabama continued to find an offensive rhythm which led to its 26-23 win over the Bulldogs. Chubb finished with 25 yards on 15 carries, and the only sustainable success came from his counterpart Sony Michel, who was able to string together some big plays.
“We didn’t do a good job of finishing. We had some drives, were out of momentum and ended up punting the ball,” Chubb said. “That was a great defense we went up against with a lot of big bodies up front.”
To open the contest, Georgia went with its passing attack quite frequently – its first seven plays were all passes. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm took upon the responsibility and collected 232 yards and a touchdown, despite throwing two interceptions. Admittedly, the plan was to loosen up Alabama’s run defense, and it worked early on.
The balance gave the Bulldogs a burst of offensive flow as they ended up scoring within the final seconds before intermission. But after resuming play, Georgia arguably became conservative as it called 18 run plays in the second half and overtime, as opposed to only nine throws from Fromm.
Georgia tried to continue what it had done throughout the season – wear defenses down. But as Alabama was making its run toward a comeback, the Bulldogs repeatedly found themselves in third-and-long situations and were unable to convert.
The Bulldogs finished with 133 yards rushing – its second-lowest mark of the season. Michel led the way with 95 yards on 18 carries. Offensive players, however, didn’t notice a significant change in play-calling. Rather, it was attributed to self-inflicted mistakes.
“Not at all,” Michel said. “Once you make a game plan, you have to go out there, trust it and execute it. We weren’t able to execute.”
Added Terry Godwin: “They did nothing to stop us, we stopped ourselves.”
After holding a 13-point lead at the half, Georgia’s offense was stymied and its only glimmer of hope came on an 80-yard strike to Mecole Hardman down the right sideline.
Other than the long pass and a few longer runs by Michel, there wasn’t enough for Georgia to overcome an experienced defensive front and find balance in its offensive attack.
“They just ended up making a few more plays than we did,” Fromm said. “I didn’t think there were many changes, but that’s how it came out in the end.”