What has happened so far in the SEC Championship game
Here are three things to know as Georgia leads Alabama 21-14 at the halftime intermission. Georgia has led Alabama at the half the last time the two SEC foes met in last season’s game, a 20-7 advantage. The Bulldogs fell 26-23.
A momentum-changing interception
It looked as if Alabama’s fast starts would continue. After punt returner Jaylen Waddle had a 36-yard return to give the Crimson Tide advantageous field position, Alabama was suddenly six yards from the end zone.
Then things flipped in favor of Georgia.
It started with an 11-yard sack by D’Andre Walker — good enough for 7.5 on the season — and Alabama had 17 yards to go on third-and-goal. Georgia fans held their breath after knowing what happened after the last sack, but it was the opposite. Richard LeCounte stood at the goal-line and hauled in the interception on a telegraphed pass by Tua Tagovailoa.
It was LeCounte’s first interception of the season, and only Tagovailoa’s third. It was his first since Nov. 10 at Mississippi State. He returned it 29 yards.
While Georgia didn’t score on the following possession, it stymied Alabama’s first attempt and the Bulldogs later scored on back-to-back drives.
Fromm has Tagovailoa’s number through a half
Tagovailoa’s interception resulted in the quarterback spending time in the injury tent with a nagging ailment. He hasn’t missed a snap, but returned to the tent on consecutive possessions.
Tagovailoa, however, has been favoring the leg in which there was an undisclosed injury. He is 3-of-9 for 35 yards at the intermission. His receivers — Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and Irv Smith — have also dropped passes. Ruggs’ and Smith’s receptions would’ve likely resulted in touchdowns.
Jake Fromm, on the other hand, has continued his ways of being an offensive weapon for the Bulldogs. He is 14-of-18 for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Fromm has found his receivers on a variety of routes, and has a completion to eight different targets. Jeremiah Holloman leads with 37 yards on two catches.
He tied an SEC Championship record with 10 consecutive completions. Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims set the record in 2014.
Fromm has also been strong on third down, which has been the case throughout the latter stretch of the season. Maybe the “Third-and-Fromm” phrase has some validity. He is 4-for-5 on third-down passes, and the Bulldogs are 5-for-7 at the result.
Swift sparking Georgia’s run game
D’Andre Swift was determined to get in the end zone from nine yards out. He drug a host of Alabama defenders to the end zone, and Georgia had its second score of the game.
Georgia’s sophomore running back has had four 100-yard games since Oct. 27 at Florida, and he’s on his way to another. Swift has 66 yards on 12 carries at the intermission. It comes after Georgia had 12 yards on 10 carries as a team at one point, then the agile rusher came alive.
Swift’s longest run was 20 yards on the following drive, then he gave Georgia its 21st point on an 11-yard reception from Fromm. Last season against the Crimson Tide, Georgia’s run struggles were well-documented as Georgia averaged only 3 yards per carry. To this point, the Bulldogs average four.
Alabama, however, holds an advantage in rush yardage. Josh Jacobs has had a similar impact on more-explosive plays. He has 77 yards and two touchdowns on five carries, and his second score came as result of a 59-yard burst.