• 66°

No. 2 Alabama claims 41-24 victory over No. 3 Georgia

By JOHN ZENOR

AP Sports Writer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Mac Jones passed for 417 yards and four touchdowns and No. 2 Alabama’s aerial assault picked apart No. 3 Georgia’s heralded defense in the second half of a 41-24 victory Saturday night.

The Crimson Tide (4-0), with coach Nick Saban stalking the sideline after a COVID-19 scare, rallied with three touchdowns in a 10-minute span starting late in the third quarter of a battle of the Southeastern Conference’s last remaining unbeatens.

The nation’s top scoring offense ultimately got the decisive upper hand in a battle with the Bulldogs (3-1) and one of the nation’s best defenses.

Georgia had no answer for Jones and star receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, especially with Alabama’s own beleaguered defense grabbing two second-half interceptions and three overall.

Smith caught 11 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, including one in the fourth quarter that effectively put it out of reach.

Waddle caught a 90-yard touchdown pass and gained 161 yards on six catches.

Then there was some old-school ground and pound too. Harris gained 152 yards on 31 carries carries with a touchdown during that game-clinching span. He did it against the nation’s top run defense, which came in allowing 38 rushing yards and 12.3 points per game.

Stetson Bennett completed 18 of 40 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, including an 82-yarder to James Cook. But he threw three interceptions.
Alabama got a boost about seven hours before the game when the SEC cleared coach Saban to return to business of usual, determining a Wednesday COVID test was a false positive. He tested negative Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A maskless Saban was yelling at a referee after an intentional grounding call in the second quarter.

The Tide has won the last six meetings with Georgia, including a 3-0 record against Saban’s former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. The first two came in the January 2018 national championship game and the SEC championship game the following season.

THE TAKEAWAY

Alabama: The defense remains more generous than is standard in Tuscaloosa, but it did deliver some big plays. The offense just continues to roll along, and those receivers just appear unstoppable.

Georgia: Led 24-20 deep into the third quarter and gained a solid 410 yards. But the defense that had been so suffocating more than met its match.

POLL IMPLICATION

Clemson hasn’t done anything to weaken its claim to the top spot, but perhaps Alabama’s decisive win will close the gap some. Georgia probably won’t fall much past the Top 10.

UP NEXT

Georgia visits Kentucky, which is fresh from a big win over Tennessee.
Alabama visits traditional rival Tennessee.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

Local

BlockWork returns for 10th year of beautification

Local

Big Chili Cook Off changes format, sells 250 tickets

Lifestyle

Kiwanis Club names five recipients of Centennial Awards

Lifestyle

Rowan County bridge dedicated to local police officer who made ultimate sacrifice

Local

Camp Barnhardt to host drive-in movie, trick-or-treat

News

Dental deserts: Lack of adequate oral health care across North Carolina

Business

Spicing things up: Mise En Place food truck finds success serving Indian fare

Lifestyle

Church foundation distributes record amount of money

Business

Biz Roundup: ‘Forward Rowan’ continues to draw support, raise money

Education

School board set to vote on Faith, Enochville closures Monday

Health

Local health officials worry pandemic will cause long-term effects for children’s health

Local

Ordinance change needed to address night train noise in Salisbury

Elections

Election 2020: Heggins, Warren talk racial injustice, economy

News

Cunningham keeps low in NC Senate race marked by his affair

BREAKING NEWS

Two bodies found in home on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Man arrested in Kannapolis plotted to kill Biden, found with guns, explosive material, court documents state

Local

Flagger clipped by vehicle, taken to hospital with minor injuries

Coronavirus

County finishes week with five deaths, one of 36 to receive letter from state health officials

Business

Salisbury Newsmedia reaches agreement to sell Innes Street building; Post to remain tenant

Crime

Blotter: Teens attempt to break into Gerry Wood Auto Group

Crime

Man faces arson charges for Kannapolis camper fire

Business

New tenant hopes to lease former K&W Cafeteria building

Nation/World

Trump, Biden go after each other on coronavirus, taxes

Coronavirus

County adds three more COVID-19 deaths to total