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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Live blog: Alabama vs. Georgia in the college football national championship

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Follow along for updates and analysis from the College Football Playoff national championship between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs.

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Coverage: Nomadic QB Stetson Bennett doesn’t have a confidence problem or smartphone | National championship preview

FINAL: Alabama 18, Georgia 33: Georgia ends this one most fittingly with a sack of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. That’s it. The drought is over. It’s Georgia’s first national championship since 1980.

:54, Q4 (Alabama 18, Georgia 33): That should do it. Kelee Ringo intercepts Bryce Young and takes it back 79 yards for a touchdown. You could feel the weight on Young down the stretch of this game. Georgia’s defense was clamping, and he needed to make plays. It just wasn’t there.

3:33, Q4 (Alabama 18, Georgia 26): That’s called winning time. Georgia just dug its foot into Alabama’s throat on a physical drive that ended with with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to Brock Bowers. Alabama needs a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie.

8:09, Q4 (Alabama 18, Georgia 19): We are just so blessed. Stetson Bennett stepped up in a big way that drive, finding Adonai Mitchell for a 40-yard touchdown. It was a free play because the defense jumped offsides. What a response.

10:14, Q4 (Alabama 18, Georgia 13): Wow. Stetson Bennett was rolling out and fumbled on a play that initially looked like an incomplete pass (and probably intentional grounding). Instead, Alabama recovers the ball and gets its first touchdown of the game on the ensuing drive, a three-yard toss from Young to Latu.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Drew Sanders anticipated it was a fumble when he “recovered” it because that was super casual.

Seems reasonable …

12:59, Q4 (Alabama 12, Georgia 13): Alabama moved the ball again but couldn’t find the end zone. That’s the obvious back-breaker if Alabama can’t win this game. The Tide had first and goal at the 5 and couldn’t get six out of it. And if Georgia can rip off a few more big runs here, look out …

END OF Q3 (Alabama 9, Georgia 13): This is the loudest it’s been in here all night after that Georgia touchdown. By the looks of it, Alabama is going to keep living underneath, trusting its athletes to make enough plays.

1:28, Q3 (Alabama 9, Georgia 13): Georgia gets the game’s first touchdown, set up by a 67-yard run by Jordan Battle. It was Alabama with the costly penalty this time, a face mask that gave the Dawgs first and goal, and Zamir White punched it from a yard out.

3:18, Q3 (Alabama 9, Georgia 6): Georgia’s defense and special teams are doing their part, ending Alabama’s first two drives of the second half with an interception and now a blocked field goal. The Tide went a long way down the field — 17 plays, 68 yards — with nothing to show for it.

12:05, Q3 (Alabama 9, Georgia 6): Maybe just what Georgia needed? Bryce Young made a bad decision throwing into double coverage, and it was overthrown. Christopher Smith with the interception, the first takeaway for either team tonight.

HALFTIME (Alabama 9, Georgia 6): What an entertaining half. Georgia decided to not press the issue deep in its own territory late in the half, content to go into the locker room down three with the ball to start the second half.

Bryce Young has played well (15/26, 206 yards), and Bama has hit some big plays, but Georgia’s defense has stood tall for the most part, and they’re getting good pressure on Young.

The biggest anomaly in the first half was penalties. Georgia had seven for 49 yards, and it’s hard for that offense to stay on schedule when it’s facing first and long or second and long.

Prediction: Georgia is going to try to take the top off of this defense early to spark something. Otherwise, I don’t see a reason to change much. Just avoid penalties and negative plays.

3:09, Q2 (Alabama 9, Georgia 6): Hope you love field goals. We’ve had a lot of action. Big plays, big hits — and 15 points to show for it.

7:07, Q2 (Alabama 9, Georgia 3): Alabama gets another field goal set up by a big play through the air, this time a 61-yard catch-and-run by Cameron Latu. It was a beautiful throw by Young. Georgia answered back with a big sack on third and goal, though. Again, the speed is unreal.

9:36, Q2 (Alabama 6, Georgia 3): Georgia just doesn’t have enough offensively to overcome these penalties: six of them so far for 44 yards.

11:13, Q2 (Alabama 6, Georgia 3): Alabama gets another field goal, but the story of the drive is Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams going down with an apparent non-contact knee injury on the end of a 40-yard reception. He went straight to the medical tent. That would be a big loss for Alabama’s offense.

12:35, Q2 (Alabama 3, Georgia 3): Georgia pays it off with a field goal, but that feels like a bit of a letdown after the big play had them rolling for the first time in this game.

End of Q1 (Alabama 3, Georgia 0): Georgia finally found something, and no surprise that it came right after the Dawgs’ first first down. Bennett found George Pickens 52 yards downfield. Another penalty has the Dawgs facing second and 14 when the second quarter starts, though.

4:12, Q1 (Alabama 3, Georgia 0): Personally, I can’t get enough of this game with Alabama’s offense going against Georgia’s defense. So much speed on both sides. Bama is having some success with underneath stuff, and they’re making Georgia defend the whole width of the filed. Really fun to watch.

8:26, Q1 (Alabama 3, Georgia 0): That Georgia drive felt like it took eight minutes, actually only took a little over one minute. Stetson Bennett was sacked on the first play and then fumbled on a scramble without being touched. Then the Dawgs were called for a false start on third and 5. They were just lucky to punt it away, huh?

9:55, Q1 (Alabama 3, Georgia 0): Georgia thought it started this thing with a scoop and score, but officials ruled it an incomplete pass from Bryce Young, who got Alabama down the field for the game’s first three points.

Georgia got pressure, but Young is getting the ball out fast.

Kickoff: I can’t say for sure there are more Georgia fans here, but they’re definitely louder. Alabama will receive the opening kickoff.

17 minutes until kickoff: Andrew Luck back in Lucas Oil Stadium. Too soon for Colts fans? 😬 The ‘stache lives.

30 minutes until kickoff: Happy to be here as the bands take the field. Alabama is going for its second straight national title and seventh under Nick Saban. Georgia hasn’t won it all since 1980 and had its heard ripped out by the Tide in the 2018 title game in overtime.

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