ATHENS, Ga. — With its season in the balance, Alabama had quite a response Saturday.
The Crimson Tide is still a force in the national race.
Jake Coker ran the offense to perfection, the defense turned in a dominating performance and No. 13 Alabama even got a touchdown from its special teams in a 38-10 rout of No. 8 Georgia.
The game was a virtual repeat of Alabama's last visit to Sanford Stadium, when a 2008 Georgia team that had started the season No. 1 went out wearing black jerseys as part of a "blackout" and fell behind 31-0 at halftime. Alabama's 41-30 win signaled the start of coach Nick Saban's dominating run in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama jumped ahead 24-3 at halftime Saturday and iced the game on Georgia's first offensive play of the second half. Cornerback Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass by the Bulldogs' second quarterback, Brice Ramsey, and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
After a five-turnover loss at home 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, ordinary men couldn't go out there and get it done," Saban said. "We needed them to be extraordinary. … I know they've been criticized a lot, but I thought we played an outstanding game, every part of the game."
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 yanked starting QB 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, Lambert was 10-of-24 for 86 yards and an interception. Ramsey was even worse, 1-of-6 for 20 yards.
"We've got to re-evaluate everything," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "The quarterback play. Everything."
With the score 3-3, Henry ran untouched through the line to cap an eight-play, 76-yard drive.