Tide swamps No. 8 Bull­dogs in del­uge

Coker helps Alabama re­bound with easy win

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY PAUL NEW­BERRY

athens, ga. — With its sea­son in the bal­ance, No. 13 Alabama had quite a re­sponse Satur­day.

The Crim­son Tide is still very much a force in the na­tional race.

Jake Coker ran the of­fense to per­fec­tion, the de­fense turned in a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance, and Alabama even got a touch­down from its spe­cial teams in a 38-10 rout of No. 8 Ge­or­gia.

Alabama (4-1, 1-1 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) jumped ahead 24-3 at half­time and iced the vic­tory on Ge­or­gia’s first of­fen­sive play of the sec­ond half. Ed­die Jack­son in­ter­cepted a pass from the Bull­dogs’ sec­ond quar­ter­back, Brice Ram­sey, and re­turned it 50 yards for a touch­down.

Af­ter a dis­cour­ag­ing, five turn over loss to Mis­sis­sippi in its SEC opener two weeks ago, the Tide looked more like it­self on a rainy day be­tween the hedges.

“I told them be­fore the game that the plan we had for them, or­di­nary men couldn’t go out there and get it done,” said Coach Nick Sa­ban, whose team avoided its first 0-2 start in the SEC since 1990.

“We needed them to be They were. And Sa­ban was about as close to glee­ful as he can get.

“I know they’ve been crit­i­cized a lot, but I thought we played an out­stand­ing game to­day, ev­ery part of the game,” he said.

ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

In­deed, the Tide scored touch­downs on of­fense, de­fense and in the kick­ing game.

Coker, with an as­sist from Lane Kif­fin’s play-call­ing, com­pleted 11 of 16 for 190 yards, passed for one touch­down, and ran for another. Derrick Henry rushed for 148 yards and scored on a 30-yard run that put Alabama ahead to stay mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter.

“Ever since I was lit­tle, I’ve dreamed of beat­ing Ge­or­gia and all those good schools,” said Coker, a trans­fer from Florida State in his first sea­son as the Tide’s starter. “This is pretty sweet.”

Ge­or­gia (4-1, 2-1) yanked start­ing quar­ter­back Greyson Lam­bert late in the first half, but it didn’t mat­ter. He even went back in af­ter Ram­sey threw his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion.

“Their de­fense made plays and cov­ered our guys well,” Lam­bert said. “This just wasn’t our day.”

Af­ter com­plet­ing 33 of 35 passes in the pre­vi­ous two games against South Carolina and FCS op­po­nent South­ern Univer­sity, Lam­bert was 10 for 24 for 86 yards and an in­ter­cep­tion on his fi­nal throw.

Ram­sey was even worse (1 for 6 for 20 yards), leav­ing Ge­or­gia with a huge ques­tion mark at the most prom­i­nent po­si­tion on the field.

“We’ve got to reeval­u­ate ev­ery­thing,” Coach Mark Richt said. “The quar­ter­back play. Ev­ery­thing.”

With the game tied at 3, Henry burst un­touched through the mid­dle of the line to cap an eight-play, 76-yard drive. Lit­tle did the home crowd of more than 91,000 re­al­ize, the Tide was just get­ting warmed up.

KEVIN C. COX/GETTY IM­AGES

Der­rick­Henry, who ran for 148 yards, rum­bles ahead for Alabama, which led Ge­or­gia by 35 points early in the sec­ond half Satur­day.

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