Georgia’s halftime lead against Alabama disappeared pretty quickly.
The No. 2 Crimson Tide capitalized on two second-half interceptions to score 21 straight points and turn a 24-20 deficit into a 41-24 lead in less than 10 minutes in its win over No. 3 Georgia.
DeVonta Smith, the man who caught the title-winning TD pass from Tua Tagovailoa in overtime of the 2018 national title game, had 10 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. That second score pushed Alabama’s lead to 17 points with less than 10 minutes to go and put the game out of reach for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s burst started with a 90-yard touchdown pass from Mac Jones to Jaylen Waddle. That gave Alabama its first lead since the Tide scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter. Alabama never trailed again after Waddle’s score.
GOODBYE JAYLEN WADDLE! 90 YARDS TO THE HOUSE! pic.twitter.com/SCaA6rYY9e— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 18, 2020
Jones threw four touchdowns and rebounded extremely well after he threw an interception on his first pass of the game. Richard LeCounte picked off Jones after a pass floated through the air when Jones was hit in the back as he got rid of the ball.
Three plays after Jones threw that interception, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett was intercepted by Justin Eboigbe after the pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage. Unlike Jones, that wasn’t Bennett’s last pick of the night. Bennett’s two interceptions in the second half — one off a deflection, one off a pass that wasn’t going anywhere near a Georgia player — directly led to each of Alabama’s touchdowns after Waddle’s score.
Alabama’s scoring streak
Alabama has now scored 35 or more points in 17 consecutive games. The Tide hasn’t scored less than 35 since a 44-16 loss to Clemson in the national title game to end the 2018 season.
It’s a remarkable streak for any team, let alone a team coached by Nick Saban. But it’s also the best proof of how Saban’s teams have evolved in his Alabama tenure. A team that was once built off a dominant defense and clock-chewing run game can score from any spot on the field and has the most dynamic receiving duo in the country in Waddle and Smith. Just ask Georgia’s defense, a unit that entered the game regarded as the best in the country.
Nick Saban now 22-0 against former assistants
It seemed highly unlikely that Nick Saban would be able to coach Saturday night on Wednesday afternoon after Alabama announced that Saban had tested positive for COVID-19. But Saban, who had not shown any symptoms, tested negative for the virus Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Those three tests meant that Wednesday’s test was considered a likely false positive and allowed him to be on the sideline for Saturday night’s game.
The win also pushes Saban’s record against his former assistants to 22-0. Georgia coach and former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has now lost to Saban three times.
Saban can run his record to 23-0 next week. The Crimson Tide play at Tennessee. The Volunteers, coached by former Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt, are 2-2 after back-to-back losses.
A rematch on the horizon?
The win leaves Alabama as the only undefeated team in the SEC. And it shouldn’t drop Georgia down too much in the AP Top 25 on Sunday. No. 4 Notre Dame wasn’t that impressive in a 12-7 win over Louisville and No. 5 North Carolina lost to Florida State on Saturday.
Georgia is still one of the best teams in the country and it’s hard to see them as anything less than a co-favorite in the SEC East. That means our chances of seeing Alabama and Georgia meet in the SEC title game for the second time in three seasons are pretty good. While Ole Miss gave Alabama a good run a week ago, it’s hard to see anyone slowing Alabama down enough for a full game if Georgia’s defense can’t do it.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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