Rain did not stop Alabama from dismantling Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2008, and an utter downpour of precipitation caused by Hurricane Joaquin had no effect on the Crimson Tide Saturday against Georgia. Alabama handled the Bulldogs in a 38-10 washout.
Some chippiness started before the game, as players from both sides almost got into a brawl during warm-ups. Officials were able to separate both teams, yet it was Alabama’s efficiency that angered Georgia. Crimson Tide’s senior quarterback Jacob Coker was near perfect.
He threw for 190 yards, rushed for 28 yards and totaled two touchdowns.
A wet field and a depressed mascot (UGA IX) calls for a steady run game. Alabama’s offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin got the memo, as Derrick Henry touched the ball 26 times for 148 yards. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and burst for a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter. True freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley had no issues maneuvering in the rain.
He caught five passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Ridley burned Georgia’s secondary in the second quarter on a post pattern, resulting in a 50-yard touchdown reception from Coker.
The Crimson Tide suffered a lost fumble on a botched center to quarterback exchange, but Alabama’s defense attacked Georgia all game long. Its secondary forced three interceptions, with one returned for 50-yard touchdown by junior safety Eddie Jackson in the third quarter.
Cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick unarguably made the play of the game, a blocked punt off the foot of Georgia’s Collin Barber in the second quarter. He returned it for a 1-yard touchdown.
Bulldogs’ quarterbacks Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey both had difficulties gripping the ball. Georgia had a few fumbles, yet only one was recovered by Alabama (Ryan Anderson).
Three things happened in Alabama’s beatdown of Auburn in 2008, adequate quarterback play from John Parker Wilson, a solid run game with three touchdowns and mediocre play from the opposing signal-caller. These very same concepts came into play in Saturday’s game.
Lambert and Ramsey went a combined 11 for 30 passing for 106 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Numbers like that in rain or sunshine will not defeat Alabama.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.