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BAMA
UGA

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Hurts rallies No. 1 Alabama to 35-28 win over No. 4 Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) Jalen Hurts spent most of the season watching from the sideline, cheering on the guy who took his job and hoping for one more chance to lead the Alabama Crimson Tide.

He didn't pout. He didn't gripe. He didn't transfer.

On Saturday, Hurts got the call.

Boy, did he respond.

Hurts threw for one touchdown and ran for another with just over a minute to go, rallying No. 1 Alabama to a 35-28 victory over No. 4 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game. It was a stunning twist on the scenario that played out less than 11 months earlier on the very same field.

''I've probably never been more proud of a player than Jalen,'' coach Nick Saban said.

If they had pitched this script to Hollywood, it would've been laughed out of the room for being too implausible. In last season's national title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, between these same two teams, Tua Tagovailoa replaced an ineffective Hurts at the start of the second half with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-0. The replacement threw three touchdown passes, including a 41-yarder in overtime that gave the Tide a stunning 26-23 victory.

Tagovailoa won the starting job outright heading into this season and performed brilliantly before Saturday, throwing 36 touchdown passes with only two interceptions.

The SEC title game took a different path. Georgia put quite a beating on Tagovailoa, who was picked off twice, spent much of his spare time in the medical tent and was largely ineffective as the Bulldogs built a pair of two-touchdown leads.

Finally, with just over 11 minutes remaining, Tagovailoa went down for good after one of his own linemen stepped on his right foot as he attempted to throw.

Enter Hurts, who posted a 26-2 record as the starter before Tagovailoa claimed the job.

He calmly guided the Crimson Tide (13-0, No. 1 CFP) to a game-tying touchdown with a 10-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy, capping a 16-play, 80-yard drive that consumed more than 7 minutes .

After Georgia (11-2, No. 4 CFP) was stuffed on a fake punt near midfield , Hurts took matters into his own hands for the winning score. Spotting an opening up the middle, he took off on a 15-yard TD run with 1:04 remaining .

''It's unprecedented to have a guy that won as many games as he won ... start as a freshman, only lose a couple of games the whole time that he was the starter, and then all of a sudden he's not the quarterback,'' Saban said. ''How do you manage that? How do you handle that? You've got to have a tremendous amount of class and character to put team first, knowing your situation is not what it used to be.''

Hurts completed 7 of 9 passes for 82 yards, to go along with five carries for 28 yards in less than a quarter of action.

''It kind of feels like I'm breaking my silence,'' Hurts said.

He spoke loud and clear against the Bulldogs. And when he trotted off the field after the winning TD, Tagovailoa was one of the first teammates to greet him. Afterward, they stood side-by-side on the podium in the middle of the field while Alabama received its SEC championship trophy.

''When he went into the game,'' linebacker Mack Wilson said, ''I was telling Dylan Moses, `Man, it's like deja vu.' I was like, `Watch him go in and bring us back and win the game.' I knew he was going to do that and I'm pretty sure everybody else did, too.''

The Crimson Tide is headed back to the College Football Playoff, looking for its second straight national title and the sixth of the last decade under Saban.

''I know at Alabama, there's always an opportunity to win,'' Hurts said. ''I'm so happy, so happy for everybody.''

Georgia can make a pretty good case for the playoff, too, but the Bulldogs will likely get left out. Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) avenged its only loss by beating Texas, and Ohio State (12-1) knocked off Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.

This was another galling loss for Saban's former assistant, Kirby Smart. He's quickly built Georgia into a national powerhouse, but he keeps coming up short against his ex-boss.

For the second time in less than a year, the Bulldogs squandered a double-digit lead to the Crimson Tide. While this one didn't end with the suddenness of that national title game, it hurt just as bad. The Bulldogs had another chance to knock off the team that had been No. 1 in the polls all season, a team that has built perhaps the greatest dynasty in college football history.

''With a team like that, you've got to be able to put them way because they keep hanging on,'' Georgia tight end Isaac Nauta said. ''They've been doing it for a lot of years.''

FROMM SHINES

Jake Fromm got the best of his duel with Tagovailoa.

Georgia's sophomore quarterback threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, while Tagovailoa was only 10 of 25 for 164 yards.

The Alabama QB did spark the comeback with a short pass to Jaylen Waddle that resulted in a 51-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, cutting Georgia's lead to 28-21.

IT'S A FAKE!

With the game tied at 28, Georgia raced fourth-and-11 at its own 50. The Bulldogs lined up for a punt that could've put the Tide in a deep hole, but Smart inexplicably called for a fake punt.

It never had a chance.

Backup quarterback Justin Fields took a direct snap, looked to throw and then took off running. He was quickly swarmed by the Tide defenders, gaining only 2 yards.

Hurts took it from there.

''Look, I wasn't coming here to play to tie,'' Smart said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Alabama: This was the sort of challenge that should serve the Crimson Tide well in the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide had not been in serious trouble all season, beating everyone by at least 22 points, but they showed plenty of grit when finally challenged by the Bulldogs.

Georgia: The Bulldogs will be kicking themselves for the way they let this one slip away. Twice, on third-and-short with a chance to extend drives, they failed to convert. And that fake punt will go down as one of Smart's worst blunders.

UP NEXT

Alabama: The Crimson Tide heads to the playoff for the fifth year in a row, undoubtedly as the No. 1 seed and the favorite to win another national title. Alabama is expected to play in the Cotton Bowl semifinal against Oklahoma, Ohio State or maybe even Georgia. Saban endorsed the Bulldogs for a spot in the playoff, saying ''they're one of the four best teams in the country.''

Georgia: The Bulldogs are hoping to land a playoff spot but will likely have to settle for a trip to the Sugar Bowl as a consolation prize.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

---

For more AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:04
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
35
28
Touchdown 1:11
2-J.Hurts runs 15 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
52
yds
02:00
pos
34
28
Point After TD 5:19
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
28
Touchdown 5:30
2-J.Hurts complete to 4-J.Jeudy. 4-J.Jeudy runs 10 yards for a touchdown.
17
plays
85
yds
07:07
pos
27
28
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:02
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
28
Touchdown 3:14
13-T.Tagovailoa complete to 17-J.Waddle. 17-J.Waddle runs 51 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
72
yds
01:25
pos
20
28
Point After TD 12:39
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
28
Touchdown 12:47
11-J.Fromm complete to 8-R.Ridley. 8-R.Ridley runs 23 yards for a touchdown.
3
plays
51
yds
01:09
pos
14
27
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 2:18
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
21
Touchdown 2:24
8-J.Jacobs to UGA 1 FUMBLES (44-J.Taylor). Downed at the UGA End Zone 8-J.Jacobs runs no gain for a touchdown.
1
plays
1
yds
0:00
pos
13
21
Point After TD 4:05
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
21
Touchdown 4:12
11-J.Fromm complete to 7-D.Swift. 7-D.Swift runs 11 yards for a touchdown.
6
plays
51
yds
02:30
pos
7
20
Point After TD 7:31
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
14
Touchdown 7:37
7-D.Swift runs 9 yards for a touchdown.
14
plays
65
yds
07:19
pos
7
13
Point After TD 14:56
97-J.Bulovas extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 15:00
8-J.Jacobs runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
10
plays
80
yds
02:36
pos
6
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:08
98-R.Blankenship extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 3:14
11-J.Fromm complete to 18-I.Nauta. 18-I.Nauta runs 20 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
60
yds
03:08
pos
0
6
Team Stats
1st Downs 21 23
Rushing 9 8
Passing 10 14
Penalty 2 1
3rd Down Conv 5-11 5-16
4th Down Conv 0-0 2-3
Total Net Yards 382 441
Total Plays 63 79
Avg Gain 6.1 5.6
Net Yards Rushing 157 153
Rush Attempts 29 39
Avg Rush Yards 5.4 3.9
Net Yards Passing 225 288
Comp. - Att. 17-34 25-40
Yards Per Pass 6.6 7.2
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-21 2-13
Penalties - Yards 3-10 6-50
Touchdowns 5 4
Rushing TDs 3 1
Passing TDs 2 3
Other 0 0
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles - Lost 2-0 1-0
Int. Thrown 2 0
Punts - Avg 5-40.2 6-48.0
Return Yards 36 112
Punts - Returns 1-36 2-16
Kickoffs - Returns 0-0 4-67
Int. - Returns 0-0 2-29
Kicking 5/6 4/5
Extra Points 5/5 4/4
Field Goals 0/1 0/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
1 Alabama 13-0 01471435
5 Georgia 11-2 7147028
225 PASS YDS 288
157 RUSH YDS 153
382 TOTAL YDS 441
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
40% 164 1 2 92.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.7% 3353 37 4 202.3
T. Tagovailoa 10/25 164 1 2
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
77.8% 82 1 0 191.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
74.6% 755 8 2 202.7
J. Hurts 7/9 82 1 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
J. Jacobs 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 83 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
94 495 11
J. Jacobs 8 83 2 59
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 52 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
126 771 7
D. Harris 9 52 0 14
J. Hurts 2 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 28 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
34 167 2
J. Hurts 5 28 1 15
N. Harris 22 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
102 679 4
N. Harris 4 15 0 17
T. Tagovailoa 13 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 -21 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
48 190 5
T. Tagovailoa 3 -21 0 0
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Waddle 17 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 113 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 113 1
J. Waddle 4 113 1 51
H. Ruggs III 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 49 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
42 724 10
H. Ruggs III 3 49 0 23
I. Smith Jr. 82 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 35 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
38 648 7
I. Smith Jr. 3 35 0 19
D. Smith 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 26 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
30 524 5
D. Smith 3 26 0 13
J. Jeudy 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 24 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
59 1103 12
J. Jeudy 3 24 1 12
D. Harris 34 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 -1 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
18 176 0
D. Harris 1 -1 0 -1
Defense T-A SACK INT
S. Smith 4 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
11-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-0 3 0.0
S. Smith 11-0 0.0 0
Q. Williams 92 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 1.0
Q. Williams 8-0 1.0 0
P. Surtain II 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 1 0.0
P. Surtain II 7-0 0.0 0
M. Wilson 30 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 2 0.0
M. Wilson 6-0 0.0 0
S. Carter 5 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 2 0.0
S. Carter 5-0 0.0 0
D. Moses 32 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
D. Moses 5-1 0.0 0
I. Buggs 49 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
I. Buggs 4-0 0.0 0
X. McKinney 15 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 2 0.0
X. McKinney 4-1 0.0 0
D. Thompson 14 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 2 0.0
D. Thompson 4-1 0.0 0
A. Jennings 33 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 1 0.0
A. Jennings 3-1 0.0 0
C. Miller 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
C. Miller 2-1 0.0 0
L. Ray 89 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
L. Ray 1-0 1.0 0
R. Davis 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-5 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-5 0 0.0
R. Davis 0-5 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Bulovas 97 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 5/5
SEASON FG XP
12/16 68/73
J. Bulovas 0/0 0 5/5 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Bernier 98 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 40.2 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
21 37.9 0
M. Bernier 5 40.2 0 46
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Waddle 17 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 36.0 36 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 36.0 36 0
J. Waddle 1 36.0 36 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.1% 301 3 0 154.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
68.4% 2537 27 5 175.8
J. Fromm 25/39 301 3 0
J. Fields 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
0% 0 0 0 0.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69.2% 328 4 0 173.7
J. Fields 0/1 0 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
16 75 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
155 1037 10
D. Swift 16 75 1 20
E. Holyfield 13 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 60 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
147 956 7
E. Holyfield 14 60 0 21
J. Stanley 2 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 81 0
J. Stanley 1 12 0 12
J. Fields 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 6 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
42 266 4
J. Fields 3 6 0 3
T. Simmons 87 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
5 131 2
T. Simmons 1 2 0 2
J. Fromm 11 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
36 -22 0
J. Fromm 4 -2 0 8
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
I. Nauta 18 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 81 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
29 427 3
I. Nauta 4 81 1 55
D. Swift 7 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 63 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
27 267 2
D. Swift 6 63 1 26
R. Ridley 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 48 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
38 498 9
R. Ridley 4 48 1 23
J. Holloman 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 37 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
23 387 5
J. Holloman 2 37 0 19
T. Godwin 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 24 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
20 340 3
T. Godwin 3 24 0 11
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 21 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
34 540 6
M. Hardman 2 21 0 11
C. Woerner 89 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 12 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 121 0
C. Woerner 2 12 0 7
T. Simmons 87 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 8 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
9 138 2
T. Simmons 1 8 0 8
J. Cook 6 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
8 89 0
J. Cook 1 7 0 7
Defense T-A SACK INT
T. Crowder 30 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-0 2 0.0
T. Crowder 8-0 0.0 0
J. Reed 20 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 2 0.0
J. Reed 7-1 0.0 1
D. Walker 15 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 1.0
D. Walker 5-1 1.0 0
J. Taylor 44 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
J. Taylor 3-1 0.0 0
E. Stokes 27 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
E. Stokes 3-1 0.0 0
R. LeCounte 2 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
R. LeCounte 3-0 0.0 1
D. Baker 18 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 2 0.0
D. Baker 3-0 0.0 0
W. Grant 84 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
W. Grant 2-0 0.0 0
J. Ledbetter 13 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. Ledbetter 2-0 0.0 0
T. McGhee 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
T. McGhee 1-0 0.0 0
N. Patrick 6 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
N. Patrick 1-0 0.0 0
T. Clark 52 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Clark 1-0 0.0 0
D. Wyatt 95 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
D. Wyatt 1-0 0.0 0
T. Campbell 3 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Campbell 1-0 0.0 0
C. Tindall 41 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
C. Tindall 1-0 1.0 0
J. Davis 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
J. Davis 0-2 0.0 0
M. Webb 23 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
M. Webb 0-2 0.0 0
B. Cox 1 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-2 0 0.0
B. Cox 0-2 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Blankenship 98 K
IN-GAME FG XP
0/1 4/4
SEASON FG XP
19/23 62/62
R. Blankenship 0/1 0 4/4 4
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Camarda 90 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 48.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
38 43.2 0
J. Camarda 6 48.0 0 60
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 21.0 36 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
13 25.0 36 0
M. Hardman 3 21.0 36 0
B. Herrien 35 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 4.0 4 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 16.0 4 0
B. Herrien 1 4.0 4 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Hardman 4 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 8.0 16 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
16 20.1 16 1
M. Hardman 2 8.0 16 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:07 UGA 29 1:26 5 34 INT
7:19 BAMA 20 0:49 3 0 Punt
3:08 UGA 35 2:36 10 75 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:31 UGA 35 0:40 4 -11 Punt
4:05 UGA 35 1:41 7 -14 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:08 UGA 35 0:00 4 -20 Punt
12:39 UGA 35 0:41 4 -6 Punt
8:25 BAMA 20 1:22 6 22 INT
4:39 BAMA 28 1:25 4 72 TD
0:20 BAMA 20 0:09 4 17 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:37 BAMA 20 7:07 17 80 TD
3:11 BAMA 48 2:00 5 52 TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 BAMA 35 1:14 4 15 Punt
10:57 UGA 19 3:32 9 37 Punt
6:22 UGA 40 3:08 7 60 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:56 BAMA 35 7:19 14 65 TD
6:42 UGA 49 2:30 6 51 TD
2:18 BAMA 35 2:05 7 12 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:56 UGA 49 1:09 3 51 TD
11:23 UGA 25 2:53 6 62 FG Miss
6:55 UGA 3 1:36 3 9 Punt
3:02 BAMA 35 2:38 6 12 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:40 UGA 27 1:55 5 25 Punt
5:19 BAMA 35 2:02 7 17 Downs
1:04 BAMA 35 0:46 9 25