Alabama suffers its first-ever loss Georgia in Tuscaloosa, after winning the first seven games in series history. Alabama is now 7-1 against Georgia here in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide still holds the all-time series lead 35-23-4.
The 27-25 loss to Georgia snaps Alabama's three-game winning streak and five-game home winning streak. The loss also snaps the Crimson Tide's three-game winning streak over the Bulldogs.
With the loss today, Alabama has now lost 11 of its last 20 games in the month of October.
Georgia managed 161 rushing yards in its win over Alabama, the second-most against the Crimson Tide this year. Middle Tennessee ran for a season-high 183 yards in the season opener.
Georgia tailback Musa Smith (21-126-1 TD) is the first back to rush for 100 yards against the Alabama defense this season. The previous high was 70 yards by Cedric Cobbs last week at Arkansas. The last back to rush for 100 yards against Alabama was Miss. State's Dontae Walker (15-101) on Nov. 10, 2001.
Today's game was the fourth Top 25 matchup in the Alabama-Georgia series and the Bulldogs have won all four meetings, including 1942, 1946, 1976 and 2002.
Alabama's 27-25 loss to Georgia is just the second loss in school history on Oct. 5. The Crimson Tide is now 11-2-1 on Oct. 5. The last loss on Oct. 5 was a 10-8 setback to Ole Miss in Jackson in 1968 (Archie Manning's sophomore year).
Georgia won the time of possession battle with Alabama, marking only the second time this year the Crimson Tide has not won the time of possession battle. Georgia held the ball 30:16 to Alabama's 29:44 in today's games. Alabama entered the game as the SEC's best team in terms of time of possession, while Georgia ranked last. In addition to Georgia, Middle Tennessee also held an eight second advantage over Alabama in the season opener.
Alabama forced three turnovers today against Georgia and has 10 in its last three games. Of those 10 forced turnovers, only two have resulted in points. Alabama kicked a field goal last week at Arkansas and posted a 35-yard interception return today vs. Georgia. Prior to the interception return, Alabama had forced 10 consecutive turnovers with a touchdown, dating back to the North Texas game. For the season, Alabama has forced 14 turnovers, resulting in only 24 points.
Alabama started five defensive backs against Georgia, including the first career start for Anthony Madison.
Alabama did not score on its opening possession of the game for the first time this season.
Georgia scored on its opening possession marking the first time since the Oklahoma game that an opponent has scored in the first quarter against the Alabama defense. Oklahoma scored nine points in the first quarter to give OU a 9-3 lead. The Crimson Tide had shutout North Texas, Southern Miss and Arkansas in the first quarter in its three previous games. Alabama's Derrick Pope had a 75-yard fumble return on Georgia's opening drive, but a dead ball penalty against the Bulldogs (illegal procedure) nullified the return to the Georgia one-yard line.
Musa Smith's 15-yard TD run marked the first time Alabama has trailed in a game since losing 37-27 at Oklahoma on Sept. 7 in Norman. The Crimson Tide never trailed in wins over North Texas, Southern Miss and Arkansas.
Michael Ziifle's 47-yard field goal with 5:16 left in the first quarter is the longest of his Alabama career. The previous long was 45-yards at Oklahoma on Sept. 7th. In fact, he kicked two 45-yard FGs in the loss to OU.
Senior left cornerback Gerald Dixon recorded his first interception of the 2002 season when he picked off a David Greene pass at the UA 32-yard line. Dixon's four-yard return gave the Crimson Tide a first down at the UA 36-yard line. Dixon's interception was the second of his career and first since the 1999 season.
Georgia's David Pollack recorded the second blocked field goal attempt against Alabama this season. Pollack blocked Brian Bostick's 28-yard FG with 10:09 left in the second quarter. Earlier this season, Oklahoma's Pasha Jackson blocked a 52-yard FG attempt by Michael Ziifle in the first quarter in Norman.
Dre Fulgham recorded his first career touchdown reception, hauling in a 30-yard TD pass from Brodie Croyle with 51 seconds left in the second quarter as UA cut the Georgia lead to 14-9. Croyle was 3-for-3 on the drive for 38 yards and one TD.
Sophomore place kicker Brain Bostick missed the PAT attempt following the Croyle-to-Fulgham TD pass, marking the first time since 1996 the Crimson Tide missed an extra point. Jon Brock missed a PAT attempt in a 17-16 loss at Miss. State in 1996.
After falling behind 24-12 with 13:32 left in the game, Alabama answered with a one-yard TD run by freshman quarterback Brodie Croyle to cut the lead to 24-19 with 9:27 to play in the game. Croyle 3-for-3 passing on the drive for 35 yards and added a one-yard TD run as leaped over a Georgia defender and into the end zone.
Two plays later, Charlie Peprah intercepted a David Greene pass at the Georgia 35-yard line and returned the ball for his first collegiate touchdown, giving Alabama a 25-24 lead with 8:24 left in the game. The interception was the second of the year by Peprah.
Peprah's 35-yard interception return is the second by an Alabama player this season. In the 2002 season opener, Freddie Roach recorded a 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter to give the Crimson Tide a 39-27 lead. The Crimson Tide won the game 39-34.
Alabama has an open date next week before hosting Ole Miss here at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 19, 2002.
Alabama will play its first Junior Varsity football game this Thursday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. (CT) against Georgia Military College here at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Admission is free.
Georgia game notes
Under Mark Richt, Georgia is now 6-0 on opponent's home field, including Georgia's first-ever win here in Tuscaloosa. Previously, the Bulldogs were 0-7 in their history in Tuscaloosa. Richt is 3-0 in his career vs. ranked opponents on their field, winning at No. 6 Tennessee and No. 21 Georgia Tech last season.
This is Georgia's 5th come-from-behind win under Richt, including their second of the season. UGa rallied to beat Clemson 31-28 in the season opener. Also, Georgia is 10-1 when they lead at halftime under Richt.
Georgia is 5-0 for the first time since 1982, the year the Bulldogs won their last SEC Championship and lost to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl (27-23).
For the fourth time in the series, today was a Top 25 matchup and the Bulldogs are now 4-0 in those meetings, winning 1942, 1946, 1976 and 2002.
Georgia QB David Green was the CBS Player of the Game. He completed 15 of 27 passes for 224 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. Georgia rushed the ball a season-high 41 times, including a season-high 21 times by Musa Smith for 126 yards. It was his third 100-yard game of the season. He is the first back to rush for 100 yards against Alabama this season.
Sophomore David Pollack had his first career blocked field goal, which eventually led to a Georgia touchdown. It was Georgia's first blocked FG since the 2000 season (Jamie Henderson vs. Vandy).
Redshirt freshman safety Thomas Davis recorded his first career interception today. Freshman Darius Swain added his first career fumble recovery today.
Billy Bennett's 32-yard game-winning FG was his first from that distance this year. Bennett is 5-for-6 this season, including two FGs today. Bennett is 36-for-46 in his career. Bennett's game-winning FG came in the same end zone that Alabama's Michael Proctor beat Georgia with a last-minute FG in 1994. Proctor's field goal with 51 seconds left in the game gave UA a 29-28 win on Oct. 1, 1994.