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Upon Further Review: SEC Championship Game, Alabama 41, Georgia 24

The final word on the Crimson Tide's victory over the Bulldogs in their back yard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Taking a step back and looking at the 2021 SEC Championship Game from afar, the 41-24 victory over Georgia was even more impressive following a second and third glance. 

Alabama averaged 16.2 yards per completion, and a respectable 4.4 yards per carry on the ground. Coming in Georgia's defense was yielding just 8.8 and 2.5, respectively.

The Crimson Tide was 7-for-14 on third-down conversions while the Bulldogs were just 3-for-12. 

Alabama also won in turnover margin, 2-0. 

Georgia's statistical advantages were few. It had more first downs (30-25), better time of possession (34:13-25:47), and punter Jake Camarda was fantastic, averaging 52.5 yards and placing three within the 20. 

Consequently, one has to seriously wonder if the Crimson Tide might have damaged the Bulldogs psyche so much that Georgia may not be able to recover should the teams play again for the national championship. 

"Their greatest thing is when they lost their game against Texas A&M, they garnered some focus and some attention," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "To me, that's an opportunity for a wakeup call, if anything. Unfortunately that it comes in a setting like this, but they're a really good football team."

Meanwhile, Alabama had a major setback with the loss of wide receiver John Metchie III. 

"John Metchie is probably going to be out now, and we have a couple other guys that might be injured," Alabama coach Nick Saban said after the game. "It creates a lot of opportunities for a lot of other players. Hopefully, we'll be able to get them to step up."

Metchie suffered the injury late in the first half while running a route, when something in his knee appeared to give. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, and was walked around with teammates after the game, but ESPN reported that Metchie is feared to have suffered a torn ACL.

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Metchie topped 100 yards in four of his previous six games, including 13 catches for 150 yard last week at Auburn (where Jameson Williams was disqualified for targeting), and 10 receptions for 173 yards against Arkansas. He had six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown against Georgia. 

For the season, he has 96 catches for 1,142 yards (11.9 average) and eight touchdowns. 

Metchie is listed on the roster as being a junior. 

Play of the Game: The turning point was when sophomore quarterback Bryce Young hit a wide open junior wide receiver Jameson Williams at midfield and he turned it into a 67-yard touchdown. It was the first of five straight possessions in which Alabama scored, while turning a 10-0 deficit into a 31-17 lead. 

Player of the Game: Young set an SEC Championship Game record on 421 passing yards, with four touchdowns including three in the air. He was 26-for-44 (59.1 percent), with no interceptions, for a passer rating of 162.0. 

Statistic of the Game: Georgia's defense gave up 23 points in the entire month of September, 30 in October, and 30 points in November. It yielded 34 to the Crimson Tide offense, which scored on possessions of 75, 80, 79 (FG), 75, 75 and 62 (FG) yards.  

5 Things to Remember

1] Unsung hero I, the offensive line: Young's completion percentage may have been his third worst of the season, but he also didn't take a sack. It's the only time this season the Crimson Tide's opponent wasn't able to notch at least one sack, and the only time Georgia was shut out in the statistical category. It was also the first time the Bulldogs were out-gained on the ground (115-109). 

2] Unsung hero II, Williams: In just about any other SEC Championship Game, having seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns would land a wide receiver MVP honors. The Bulldogs never had an answer for Williams, who was also credited with 119 yards after the catch, giving him an average of 17.0 extra yards per reception. No one else had more than 18 yards after the catch for the entire game (Metchie). 

3] The pick-six: Safety Jordan Battle's 42-yard interception return was just the second touchdown scored by the Crimson Tide defense in 2021. Battle had the other one as well, a 40-yard interception return at Mississippi State. It was the third pick-six of his career.

4] The Saban streak is back on: The coach improved to 25-1 when facing teams led  by his former assistants. He's had the most wins, four, against Jimbo Fisher (Florida State, 2017; Texas A&M 2018-20), and now Kirby Smart. However, three of the wins against Smart at Georgia have come in a title game (two SEC, one national). 

5] Just a second ... Georgia had absolutely owned the second quarter of its games during the regular season, outscoring opponents 222-7. Alabama notched 24, which exceeded the most points the Bulldogs had yielded in an entire game (17 by Tennessee).