Final commentary: Alabama ends Georgia football's undefeated season in SEC Championship

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ATLANTA — Welcome to Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Kirby Smart and Georgia began 2021 with a victory at the end of last season and are back for the SEC championship game after a 12-0 regular season.

After being a favorite for 92 straight games, according to ESPN, Alabama is a 6½ point underdog.

More: Stetson Bennett’s ‘mental lapses’ costly in Georgia’s SEC Championship loss to Alabama

“I think what our players need to do is just focus on playing one play at a time, trying to win as many plays in a game as they can,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “don't worry about the scoreboard, don't worry about what the outcome means because we just need to focus on what we need to do to play well in this game.”

Twitter reacts to Georgia football coach Kirby Smart's performance against Alabama

It comes in a game that CFP No. 3 Alabama could be out of the playoff with a loss.

Top-ranked Georgia is in win or lose, it seems.

More: With top prize still in play, how will Georgia football respond to another Alabama loss?

Live updates from the UGA-Alabama SEC Championship matchup:

7:49 p.m. Final: Alabama 41, Georgia 24

Alabama extends its winning streak against Georgia to seven games, ending the Bulldogs' undefeated season in the proce

7:10 p.m. TE Brock Bowers scores on screen

Georgia goes 75 yards on 8 plays in 2:17 and scores on a 19-yard Brock Bowers screen. The freshman tight end broke several Alabama tackles on his way to the end zone to pull UGA within 14, 38-24, with 9:42 to play.

7:01 p.m. Alabama pick-6 all but puts game away

Alabama's Jordan Battle intercepts Stetson Bennett and returns it 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Tide a 21-point lead with 11:59 to play.

6:50 p.m. Turnover on downs ends UGA drive

Georgia marched 54 yards and took nearly 6 minutes off the clock, but couldn't convert on 4th and 9 at the Alabama 19 and turned the ball over to Alabama, which leads 31-17 early in the fourth quarter.

6:32 p.m. Georgia drive ends with Stetson Bennett interception

An encouraging Georgia drive ended with a Bennett interception at Alabama 9 yard line. The Bulldogs converted a fourth and 1 at the Alabama 20 two plays earlier to keep the drive alive, but Bennett's attempted pass to Brock Bowers went into the hands of the Tide's Demarcco Hellams.

6:19 p.m. Alabama scores another TD — guess who: Bryce Young

Bryce Young threw another touchdown pass to open the second half. Alabama has scored on five straight drives and Young has 350 passing yards and four total touchdowns.

Here's the test Georgia hasn't faced all season: Down by two scores with everything going in the opponent's favor. H Bulldogs respond?

5:43 p.m. Alabama scores another TD with Bryce Young's feet

Bryce Young just led Alabama on a 75-yard scoring drive, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by the quarterback. John Metchie left injured during the drive, but the Crimson Tide lead 24-17 with 26 seconds to go in the half.

5:23 p.m. Alabama ties most points vs. Georgia this season

Alabama again moved the ball downfield without much resistance until close to the end zone. Will Reichard's 33-yard field goal increases the Tide's lead to 17-10 with 3:28 to go in the first half.

5:33 p.m. Tie game after Ladd McConkey TD catch

Ladd McConkey took a screen pass from Stetson Bennett 32 yards for a touchdown. Game is tied at 17 with 2:06 to go in the first half.

5:08 p.m. Bulldogs defense is reeling

Bryce Young connects with John Metchie on a 13-yard tocuhdown pass. Bryce Young now up to 189 passing yards and there's still 9:46 to go in the first half. Alabama leads 14-10.

4:56 p.m. Bama strikes fast with big-play TD

Georgia just gave up its longest pass play of the season. The Bulldogs' had a bust in the secondary and Jameson Williams went 67 yards for a touchdown. Alabama cuts the Georgia lead to 10-7 with 14:12 to go in the first half.

4:52 p.m. Darnell Washington TD adds to Bulldog lead

Georgia went 97 yards before a Stetson Bennett 5-yard TD pass over the middle to tight end Darnell Washington. George Pickens made a spectacular 37-yard catch to set the Bulldogs up in good position. It's 10-3 early in second quarter.

More: Darnell Washington scores first career touchdown in first half of SEC Championship

4:30 p.m. Georgia goes ahead on Podlesny field goal

Georgia grabs the early lead on a 38-yard Jack Podlesny field goal. The Bulldogs got a leaping catch from Brock Bowers after running the ball well on the drive, but a third down Dallas Turner sack brought on Podlesny. Georgia 3, Alabama 0. 6:01 1st.

3:42 p.m. Jamaree Salyer, Christopher Smith updates

Jamaree Salyer is working with the starters at left tackle pregame. Christopher Smith is on the field, but safety Dan Jackson was with the 1s for warmups.

3:30 p.m. Two more players back from injury on field

Safety Christopher Smith (knee bone bruise) and running back Kendall Milton (MCL) are on the field going through drills, a good sign. We'll see what role they have today.

3:18 p.m. Three key players dressed out

Georgia offensive tackle Jamaree Salyer (foot) is dressed out and snapping now as the No. 3 center in pregame. Wide receiver Kearis Jackson (rib) is also dressed out and fielding punt returns. Alabama running back Brian Robinson (lower body muscle) is also dressed out.

3:09 p.m. Sideline sights

Our press credential doesn't give us access to the sideline unlike past years. It may be a Covid-19 measure. From the press box, I've spotted former Georgia QB Aaron Murray (CBS) throwing passes to fans in the stands and former Bulldogs DE David Pollack (ESPN) playing around with some kids on the field. Just also spotted Sonny Seiler, which means Uga isn't far away.

2:58 p.m. Jack Podlesny returns to site of big field goal

Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny is kicking field goals pregame along with Jake Camarda and Jared Zirkel. Podlesny kicked the 53-yard game-winner here in the Peach Bowl and booted two other field goals in that win.

2:24 p.m. Scott Cochran greets old friends

Former Alabama strength and conditioning Scott Cochran gave some hugs to some familiar Crimson Tide staffers on the field just now. Cochran, in his second season at Georgia, is in an off-field role now after taking a leave for health reasons. He was hired to oversee Georgia's special teams.

2:09 p.m. Getting ready for Will Anderson and company

Alabama is third in the nation in sacks at 3.58 per game. Linebacker Will Anderson has 14 1/2 sacks and defensive end Phidarian Mathis has 7.

"They are able to push it on two sides," Smart said. "There's four points of pressure in the pocket, and they push it on the edge and up the middle. So as they melt the pocket in the interior, those guys on the edge get an opportunity to make plays and push the quarterback back."

1:56 p.m. SEC championship game UGA captains

Today’s Georgia captains: running backs James Cook and Zamir White and inside linebackers Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean.

1:43 p.m. The officials today

The referee today is Ken Williamson. The rest of the crew: umpire Russ Pulley, center judge Scott Walker, head line judge Nicholas Theriot, line judge Walter Flowers, field judge Daniel Gautreaux, side judge Justin Larrew, back judge Tom Fimmen, alternate official Bryan Murphy, instant replay David Almand.

1:35 p.m. They meet again

This is the fourth meeting between Saban and Kirby Smart, who coached under the Alabama coach for nine seasons at Alabama. Saban has won each of those games.

“He's got really good players now,” Saban said. “They're really well coached. They've been the most consistent team all year long, which is a tribute to he and his staff and being able to have a sense of purpose in what their team is out to try to accomplish and do. …I thought it was a great game that we had -- every game that we've had has been a great game. I've had the utmost respect for Kirby and his team in those games, and I certainly have it in this game.”

1:20 p.m. Alabama running back situation

Alabama top rusher Brian Robinson will be a “pre-game decision,” Saban said Friday night on the SEC Network. He has a muscle injury and practiced “a little bit,” Thursday.

Trey Sanders is the only other scholarship running back and the Tide have moved a receiver to the position and could turn to a linebacker, Saban said.

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1 p.m. Live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Bulldogs won that Peach Bowl against Cincinnati and carry a 16-game winning streak into today’s tilt with Alabama.

It’s an unseasonably warm afternoon. Temperature at kickoff is supposed to be 69 degrees outside with a 1 percent chance of rain and still in the lower 60s or upper 50s by game’s end, according to Weather.com.

The roof is closed and will remain so, according to a league spokesperson. That was an SEC decision.

“We’re not approaching this game with, ‘Aw, if we lose we can still get in the playoffs,’” Bulldogs receiver Ladd McConkey said. “We’re trying to make a statement and keep this thing going.”

Georgia junior wide receiver George Pickens made his season debut at Georgia Tech after tearing an ACL last spring. He could see increased snaps today.

“We'll have to wait and see,” coach Kirby Smart said. “He's done a good job in practice. Physically he was fine from the Georgia Tech game. He didn't play many snaps. He's been in a lot of practice routes getting confidence back and starting to become his old self, and I think that's important.”

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia football vs. Alabama: live updates from the SEC Championship