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Alabama delivers Georgia another heartbreak

Georgia blows 4th quarter lead in SEC Championship game against Alabama

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(Getty Images)

ATLANTA – Heartbreak part II. For three and a half quarters of the SEC Championship game it looked like Georgia was finally going to finally knock off Alabama. Instead just like in January’s national title game the Bulldogs couldn’t close. 

Jalen Hurts replaced an injured Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter and delivered two touchdowns in the final 5:19 in the top-ranked Crimson Tide's 35-28 come-from-behind win over No. 4 Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A win likely would’ve landed Georgia a spot in the college football playoffs. Instead they’ll spend Saturday night hoping for mercy from the selection committee. 

The Playoff committee will announce the four-team Playoff at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“They are one of the four best teams in the country,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “I don't want to play them again. That is the ultimate compliment I can give them."

This was a game dominated by the Bulldogs. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who reportedly will take over as Colorado’s head coach, drew up the perfect game plan. 

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looked like a mere mortal for the first time this season. 
He was 10-25 passing for 164 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. The two INTs matched his total for the entire season. 

“I think any quarterback that gets hit gets rattled,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “We knew we had to affect him. If we listened to you guys [media], we wouldn't have even showed up. I gave all the love I could all week, and our team just worked. Our guys just grinded. We knew, if we could affect him, we could have some success. We had that early. We've got good cover guys out there too and got good disguise and good defenses.”

What the Bulldogs didn’t account for was a great performance off the bench by Hurts. He didn’t win MVP for the SEC Championship game but he’s the reason Alabama pulled off the come from behind win.

“We did a good job with Tua,” said Georgia defensive Jonathan Ledbetter. Jalen came in and surprised us a bit, a more mobile quarterback. Those are adjustments you've got to make in the game, and you've got be aware, have awareness in those situations.”