The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs have dominated their respective divisions in the Southeastern Conference over the last decade. Ten combined SEC Championship Game appearances and four total college football national championships (thanks, Nick Saban) tell you all you need to know about their sheer dominance.
When the two teams meet on the gridiron, the result is usually epic. They produced one of the best national title games of all time in 2017, one that ended on an overtime walk-off Tua Tagovailoa touchdown. From Amari Cooper‘s late score in the 2012 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta to Vince Dooley’s 1965 upset in Athens to Eric Zeier‘s record-setting day in Tuscaloosa in 1994, this SEC powerhouse showdown is as must-watch as it gets.
The 2007 matchup was no different.
Head coach Mark Richt’s Bulldogs boasted Matthew Stafford at quarterback, Knowshon Moreno at running back and top-flight talents like Geno Atkins and Reshad Jones on the defensive side of the ball. Stafford, still coming into his own as a sophomore, led the ‘Dawgs to an 11-2 mark that year.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban squad limped to a 7-6 overall record in his first year at the helm of the program. John Parker Wilson, Glen Coffee and D.J. Hall spearheaded the Alabama offense.
No. 22 Georgia and No. 16 Alabama squared off for an early season bout on September 22, 2007, inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Georgia took a 20-10 lead on a Brandon Coutu field goal in the fourth quarter. Alabama responded with a Leigh Tiffin field goal and a John Parker Wilson rushing touchdown to tie the game. Coutu narrowly missed the game-winning 47-yard field goal at the end of the quarter to force the game into overtime.
Stafford’s Overtime TD Seals Upset
Georgia’s defense held Alabama to a field goal on their first overtime possession, meaning Georgia just needed a touchdown to go home a winner.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Stafford executed a run fake and lofted a spiral down the sideline for wide receiver Mikey Henderson. He came down with it for a 25-yard touchdown, and the ‘Dawgs went bonkers in celebration. Everything about the play was oddly similar to the ending of the 2017 national championship game a decade later.
Alabama fans were in shock. Some looked like tears were on their way. Henderson recalled the play and the ensuing dog pile to the Athens Banner-Herald.
“When it goes into overtime, (receivers coach) John Eason came over to me during that lull between possessions – we had held them to a field goal – and he said, ‘We’re throwing the fade to you on the first play,'” Henderson said.
“The game plan for the week was we could tell they would be playing man-to-man if we moved the tight end and if the safety went with the tight end, they would be playing man-to-man on the outside. So I knew about three seconds before that it was coming to me. And the rest is history – I was on the bottom of a huge Dawg pile. I must have had a thousand pounds on me from all those guys, but I still remember the celebration to this day.”Advertisement
Georgia went on to beat the likes of Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs finished the season the Associated Press’ No. 2 team in the country, their highest end-of-season NCAA ranking since the undefeated 1980 national championship team.
As for Alabama, it dropped games to Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State and even Sun Belt Conference team Louisiana-Monroe.
Alabama will always be able to brag about 2017 College Football Playoff national championship, but at least UGA fans can counteract with the memorable 2007 matchup.