/Live updates: Alabama and Georgia meet in College Football Playoff championship game

Live updates: Alabama and Georgia meet in College Football Playoff championship game


What another championship would mean for Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty

Sports Seriously: Dan Wolken breaks down how Alabama can beat Georgia in the national championship game and what another title would mean for Nick Saban’s legacy with the Crimson Tide.

Sports Seriously, USA TODAY

The college football champion for the 2021 season will be crowned in Indianapolis on Monday night as SEC rivals Alabama and Georgia meet in the playoff’s national title game.

The meeting is a rematch from last month when the Crimson Tide took down the then-No. 1 Bulldogs, 41-24, that earned them a place in the playoff and gave coach Nick Saban his fourth victory in four tries against former assistant Kirby Smart.

Saban is seeking his seventh national title at Alabama and his eighth overall, more than any coach in major college football history. It would also be the second repeat championship for the Crimson Tide under Saban after winning in 2011 and 2012. 

Georgia will be trying to end a 41-year drought between titles that dates back to the freshman season of all-time great Herschel Walker in 1980. The Bulldogs also lost to Alabama in the 2017 title game, the other previous meeting of conference foes in the national championship.

There will be star power all around the field with Alabama’s offense boasting Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young at quarterback and Jameson Williams at receiver, along with All-America linebacker Will Anderson. Georgia will counter with several defensive stars, led by defensive lineman Jordan Davis and linebacker Naboke Dean.

It should be a great game. We’ll provide updates on all the action throughout. Please follow along.

CRYSTAL BALL: College Football Playoff title game predictions, analysis

DOMINANCE: SEC’s gap in college football keeps growing. Can anyone stop it?

MOVING PAST: Georgia not dwelling on heartbreaking history with Alabama

Georgia ties up Alabama

The first signs of life for the Bulldogs offense as Stetson Bennett hits George PIckens with a deep ball for 52 yards to the Alabama 29. They’d get closer to the end zone before the Crimson Tide stiffened and Jack Podlesny kicked a 24-yard field goal to even things at 3-3 with 12:35 left in the second quarter.

The pass to PIckens is significant as the deep ball could loosen things up for the Georgia running game that has been bogged down. Bulldogs have 11 yards on eight attempts. The ground hasn’t been much better for Alabama, which has 16 yards on six carrie

Defenses dominating as Georgia, Alabama look for points

Three of the last four possessions have ended without first downs as both teams struggle to run the ball effectively and there is little time to throw. It’s not a huge surprise with the talent on both defenses and this is the way things started in the SEC championship game. A feeling-out process for sure.

Georgia has one yard offense after its two drives. Stetson Bennett still has not completed a pass. It’s early and things should loosen up as game wears on.

It was a quick three-and-out for the Bulldogs on their opening possession as quarterbStetson Bennett was sacked on their first play. Bennett scrambled on second down to make for a manageable third down but then threw incomplete under pressure. Forced to punt, Jake Camarda delivered a 55-yard boot that flipped field position after a field catch. Alabama starts on its own 20 with 8:10 left in the first quarter.

It’s 3-0 for the Crimson Tide after taking the opening kickoff and driving 56 yards in 14 plays before the series stalled. Will Reichard delivered a 37-yard field goal with 9:55 left for the first points of the game.

Alabama mixed run and pass for most of the possession, getting off quick passes as Georgia tried to bring pressure on Bryce Young. The Bulldogs had an touchdown overturned, but stiffened within 20 yards of the end zone. Not a bad start for the defense as it tries to reverse its struggles from the earlier meeting.

On the fourth play from scrimmage, it appeared the Bulldogs got on the board first when Jordan Davis hit Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. The ball appeared to be fumbled and was picked up by Nakobe Dean and returned for a touchdown. However, replay review showed Young had his arm coming forward and it was ruled an incomplete pass.

The bright spot for Georgia? Early pressure by the Bulldogs front that was lacking in last month’s game. 

It’s almost time to kick things off with the national championship on the line. Natalie Grant delivered a stirring rendition of the national anthem before both teams took the field. Alabama went first before Georgia entered with cameras flashing.

Georgia calls tails and wins the coin toss. Bulldogs elect to defer, which means Alabama and Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young take the field first. A good early look at how the Georgia defense will adjust after allowing 41 points in last month’s game.

Look for an early feeling-out period when the Alabama and Georgia meet on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game. The Crimson Tide will look to see what the Bulldogs learned from last month’s loss. How Georgia tweaks a clearly flawed game plan — and how Alabama responds to a new defensive approach — might be the factor that ultimately decides this matchup of SEC powers. But it’s not the only ingredient needed to win. Boiled down, these are the steps that will pilot the Bulldogs or Crimson Tide to the top of college football.

– Paul Myerberg

These teams played just over a month ago for the SEC championship, and Alabama won in convincing fashion, 41-24. That won’t happen in this edition. Remember what happened the last time these schools squared off in the FCS championship four years ago. That one was nothing short of an instant classic, with Alabama rallying for a 26-23 overtime win on a walk-off TD pass.

We can’t promise a similar finish, but we do know that both teams have a whole lot of talent. Both coaching staffs have had several weeks to pore over the footage from this season’s previous encounter, so there will certainly be some adjustments on each side. In theory, this one should be a lot more competitive.

– Eddie Timanus

Former Florida and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier expects a rematch reversal when No. 1 Alabama faces No. 3 Georgia in the national championship on Monday. The Crimson Tide defeated Georgia 41-24 to win the SEC Championship on Dec. 4, but Spurrier has been bullish on the Bulldogs’ title chances throughout the season, and the first result didn’t dissuade his thinking.

“They’re due for the football gods to maybe smile on them this time,” Spurrier said.

– Blake Topppmeyer, USA TODAY Network