Blackout ends up black eye

ATHENS, Ga. --- Alabama left Georgia black and blue and beaten down at its latest "blackout" Saturday night.

 

Georgia's color scheme wasn't the problem, but Alabama's 3-4 defensive scheme certainly was. And so was a red-hot Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson.

Just retired legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson, the eternal pessimist, would have wanted to destroy some property if he was in the broadcast booth Saturday night.

This second blackout game at Sanford Stadium turned out to be as entertaining for Georgia fans as The Next Karate Kid . Third-ranked Georgia might want to retire those black jerseys they wore after No. 8 Alabama's 41-30 beatdown.

Georgia's national title hopes might not be dead but they looked close to life support after the Crimson Tide rolled up to a stunning 31-0 halftime lead, scoring on its first five possessions.

Instead of impressing a national TV audience and making a case to move back atop the polls, the Bulldogs went to the locker room with its largest first-half deficit under Mark Richt and its biggest since trailing Auburn in 1999.

Georgia (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) will take a slide down the national polls after the nation's second-longest winning streak ends at 11 games. Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) looked like the most serious national title threat from the SEC in only Nick Saban's second season.

The No. 3 Bulldogs joined the ranks of one-loss teams that include Southern California, Florida, Auburn, Ohio State and Kansas.

Georgia still has a chance to play its way into the SEC title game and the BCS title game with a schedule that still includes LSU, Florida and Auburn.

The Bulldogs, who have an open date next weekend, will have to sit and stew with this loss for two weeks until Tennessee rolls into town. The Volunteers have had Georgia's number the past two seasons, dealing Georgia 35-14 and 51-33 losses.

ESPN's College GameDay was in Athens for the first time in 10 years and Lee Corso put an elephant head on at the end predicted a Crimson Tide win.

Turned out he was right. Georgia lost for the first time in six games against Alabama when both teams were ranked. The Tide knocked off their second top-10 foe this season (then No. 9 Clemson was the other).

In the first game between top 10 teams in Sanford in six years, everything that could go wrong did for Georgia in the first half when it was outgained 231-86 in yards and 17-4 in first downs.

Wilson completed his first seven passes for 101 yards and was 10-of-11 for 139 yards including a 22-yard touchdown pass to freshman wideout Julio Jones, who had four catches for 79 yards in the first half.

There were killer penalties and killer turnovers for Georgia.

Akeem Dent was whistled for roughing the passer, negating an Alabama fumble that Georgia recovered deep in its own territory. Two plays later, Mark Ingram scored on a seven-yard touchdown run to start Alabama's scoring. Georgia had four penalties for 51 yards in the first quarter alone.

A Matthew Stafford pass to freshman receiver A.J. Green turned into a fumble when it was knocked out of Green's hands and into the hands of Don'ta Hightower.

That led to a 4-yard Roy Upchurch touchdown run and a 24-0 lead. Stafford's interception streak ended at 120 when he was picked off on his final attempt in the first half.

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@onlineathens.com.

SPECIAL PLAY: Prince Miller's 92-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter kept the Bulldogs' hopes alive.

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