Alabama football built their dynasty against the Georgia Bulldogs.
In Nick Saban’s early years as the head coach of Alabama football, he had a lot of work to do. After a year of struggles to start, the reign of terror on the SEC really began in 2008. Expectations were relatively low, but people knew that Saban was cooking something in the Tuscaloosa kitchen.
After both teams won their first four games of the season, this matchup was bound to gain attention. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 and had hopes of winning a national title. In fact, Georgia started the season as the highest-ranked team in the AP poll. With Georgia hosting a night game, they decided to have a black-out game to intimidate the inexperienced Tide team. However, the Bulldogs ended up wearing black to their own funeral. The Tide won by double digits, and they went on to have an undefeated regular season.
To remember this game, I went back and watched it. Let’s talk about how the Tide won and what followed in the birth of the Alabama football dynasty.
How did Alabama football beat Georgia on the road?
The Tide’s strategy to beat the Bulldogs was to chew clock with their running game. They had a veteran back in Glen Coffee and one of the best offensive lines in college football. They ran the ball eight times on their first drive, chewing six and a half minutes of clock before UGA even put their quarterback on the field. The drive ended with a touchdown run by the freshman Mark Ingram.
UGA also hurt themselves in this game on many occasions. They got called for pass interference in the end zone and roughing the passer in the red zone, the latter of which negated a fumble inside the 10-yard line. Their issues did not resolve themselves over the course of the game, as many mistakes on both offense and defense kept them from keeping this game close in the first half.
Offensively, the Georgia Bulldogs relied on the three-headed monster of Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and A.J. Green. None of these players could succeed in the first half. Moreno was getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage, and Green bobbled a catch that led to an interception by Stafford. The offense failed to convert a single third down in the first half.
Alabama football’s offense was not necessarily explosive early in the game, but they were practically flawless. They scored on every drive, dominated time of possession, and only threw one incompletion. Mark Ingram and Julio Jones provided a spark as skill position players, and John Parker Wilson made every play necessary to extend drives.
Everything clicked in the first half for the Alabama Crimson Tide. However, there were some struggles late in the game that almost cost Alabama football the game. Even with Georgia looking scared heading into the locker room, they knew they had a chance to come back.