TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It's not often that Alabama finds itself as the underdog in a game, but that's exactly what it will be when facing No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship on Saturday.
According to multiple Crimson Tide players on Monday, they are up for the challenge.
"This is why you come to Alabama," said outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. "You come to Alabama to play in games like this. We just want to prepare the right way, and we’re very excited.”
For Tennessee transfer linebacker Henry To'oTo'o, the opportunity to play for championships was part of the reason he chose Alabama in the offseason. And he feels like Alabama is playing its best defense of the season after the Iron Bowl and wants to continue that momentum throughout practice this week.
"Really excited to be in the position to be in the SEC Championship," To'oTo'o said. "Huge goal for our team. We get to play the No. 1 team in the country. It's going to be a huge challenge for us, and we're looking forward to it.”
The Bulldogs have the best defense in the country. Statisically they are No. 1 in scoring defense (6.9 PPG) and in yards per game (230.4). The most points allowed by the Georgia defense this season were 17 points to Tennessee.
Meanwhile, the Alabama offense, led by quarterback Bryce Young and receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III, has the fifth best scoring offense in the country at 42.3 points per game. Tennessee is the only other top-25 scoring offense that the Georgia defense has had to face all year.
"Individually and as a team, we’re excited for the challenge," Young said. "I have confidence in my guys. We all understand what it’s going to take. We all know offensively how good they are on defense. So we all know what it’s going to take for us during the week in preparation, and what it’s going to take from us on Saturday."
Metchie said he's "extremely confident" in his offense's ability to produce against the tough Bulldogs defense.
"I think we’re concerned about ourselves more and playing our best brand of football knowing that we’re going against a really good defense," Metchie said. "For us, it’s just playing our best brand of football.”
Alabama has won the last six matchups with Georgia, including a 41-24 win over the Bulldogs in Bryant-Denny Stadium last season. That streak also includes memorable matchups in the 2012 and 2018 SEC Championship games and the iconic 2nd-and-26 game to win the 2017 national championship.
But for the Crimson Tide, the focus isn't on the series history. The focus is on the present moment.
"I wasn't even here for that in that in the past— that was last year, that was some years ago," Anderson said. "It’s 2021 right now, and that's the only thing we could focus on is the 2021 games and how this game can go.”