Nick Saban, Alabama Teach Bulldogs to Play Dead

Adam WrenCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2008

Scott Cochran, Alabama's strength and conditioning coach, couldn't have been further from the truth. Georgia prepared and witnessed the death of national title hopes in Athens and, more than likely, the desire to wear black for a long time.

Sportswriters nationwide are beside themselves. Georgia fans are in disbelief, and "'Bamers" are hysterical.

The formerly third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs are left with nothing but remnants of high expectations. The Dawgs' manhood, spirit, and plane tickets to Miami were reportedly stolen out of Athens late Saturday night. Possible suspects were reported leaving the scene of the crime wearing crimson helmets and white jerseys.

The first half of the so-called "black out" was dominated, through and through, by the boys from the West.  The SEC's best rushing defense struggled to penetrate Alabama's offensive line, led by All-American left tackle Andre Smith, giving up three out of the four first-half touchdowns on the ground.

John Parker Wilson added the icing to the cake by connecting with true freshman Julio Jones for a 22-yard touchdown pass to close the first half at 31-0. The defensive line, led by 365-pound nose tackle Terrence "Mount" Cody, held heisman candidate, Knowshon Moreno, to just 22 rushing yards on five attempts.

The second half wasn't as one-sided. Georgia opened the first half with a field goal and held Alabama's first two possessions to three-and-out. Moreno then added the first rushing touchdown against Alabama's defense with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 31-10.

The fourth quarter started off with a bang and gave the Georgia fans one last breath of hope. Prince Miller returned a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown, narrowing the point margin to 14. However, that breath couldn't be held for very long, and the Tide's current was just too strong.

Leigh Tiffin added a 32-yard field goal to make it 34-17, and five short minutes later the final nail in the coffin was hammered in when Glen Coffee ran for a 12-yard touchdown with 4:13 remaining. 

The sea of black was departing en masse. Despite a 24-yard touchdown pass by Matthew Stafford to Michael Moore, a successful onside kick, and a 21-yard pass to AJ Green, Alabama had done too much and the game ended with an already empty stadium. 

Final score: Alabama 41, Georgia 30. 

The Crimson Tide's 41 points was the most Alabama has scored in the 65-game history of the series that dates back to 1895.

Nick Saban visited the ESPN College Gameday crew after the game, expressing his concern about the second-half performance.

"This was the best win for me, because we won the game but we played so poorly in the second half," he said. "I can go get on them now so that we can keep our intensity and not fall in love with the score."

With the mindset of Nick Saban and the talent on both sides of the ball, the question must now be asked: Is Alabama a legitimate BCS contender? 

Without a doubt. Despite a second-half disappointment, the first-half dominance brought back memories of the greatest coach of all time.

"Don't celebrate when you get to the end zone. Act like you've been there before."—Paul "Bear" Bryant.

The expectations in Alabama are always high, but now they have a reason to believe that this year is, indeed, the year.

Alabama's next (not first) big test will come when the Tide visits Baton Rouge, where Nick Saban will visit Tiger Stadium for the first time since he left for the NFL back in 2004.


    Amherst Player Dies in Mexico

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Amherst Player Dies in Mexico

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Justin Fields Already Wowing UGA Players, Coaches

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Justin Fields Already Wowing UGA Players, Coaches

    Nathan Berg
    via Gridiron Now