Live updates: Alabama leads Georgia at half of College Football Playoff championship game


The college football champion for the 2021 season will be crowned in Indianapolis on Monday night as SEC rivals Alabama and Georgia meet in the playoff's national title game.

The meeting is a rematch from last month when the Crimson Tide took down the then-No. 1 Bulldogs, 41-24, that earned them a place in the playoff and gave coach Nick Saban his fourth victory in four tries against former assistant Kirby Smart.

Saban is seeking his seventh national title at Alabama and his eighth overall, more than any coach in major college football history. It would also be the second repeat championship for the Crimson Tide under Saban after winning in 2011 and 2012. 

Georgia will be trying to end a 41-year drought between titles that dates back to the freshman season of all-time great Herschel Walker in 1980. The Bulldogs also lost to Alabama in the 2017 title game, the other previous meeting of conference foes in the national championship.

There will be star power all around the field with Alabama's offense boasting Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young at quarterback and Jameson Williams at receiver, along with All-America linebacker Will Anderson. Georgia will counter with several defensive stars, led by defensive lineman Jordan Davis and linebacker Naboke Dean.

It should be a great game. We'll provide updates on all the action throughout. Please follow along.

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It's all field goals in the first half as Alabama leads Georgia 

Nobody reached the end zone in the first 30 minutes but there were five scoring drives as Alabama had three field goals and Georgia had two, making the score unexpectedly 9-6. Not that there was supposed to be a shootout.

The running games for both teams were nonexistent, leaving the quarterbacks to make much of the big plays. Bryce Young threw for 206 yards and appeared more comfortable than counterpart Stetson Bennett. The loss of receiver Jameson Williams makes the Crimson Tide thin with experience at the position. That will be something to watch in the second half. Georgia gets the ball to start the second half. That drive could be critical as field position can be key if the offense continue to bog down. 

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If you like defense and physical play, this game is over you. It's a change from shootouts in previous editions of the title matchups. Welcome to SEC football.

Big missed opportunity as Alabama extends lead

The Crimson Tide look poised to extend their lead to 10 after Cameron Latu's 61-yard catch and run put them inside the Georgia 10. However, Latu dropped a sure touchdown on the second snap after his big play. Alabama was forced to kick its third field goal of the game and increase its lead to 9-3 with 7 minutes left in the second quarter.

It was a big escape for the Bulldogs, who are struggling on offense and couldn't afford to go down 10 points. Instead, it is still a one-score game even though the Crimson Tide have mostly dominated things.

Alabama leads battle of field goals

No touchdowns so far as the game nears the midway point of the second quarter. There have been three field goals, however. Will Reichard converted a 45-yard field goal for the last points as Alabama leads 6-3. The scoring drive was marred by the injury to Crimson Tide leading receiver Jameson Williams on a 40-yard reception that set up the score. 

Alabama receiver Jameson Williams leaves injured

Williams caught 40-yard pass over the middle of the Georgia defense but as he was twisting to avoid the tackle attempts of two defenders he went down holding his knee. Williams was helped off the field and went to the injury tent on the sideline for evaluation.

Besides Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, Williams was easily the biggest offensive weapon for the Crimson Tide this season with 1,507 yards and 15 touchdowns entering tonight's game. Alabama is also without its other starting receiver John Metchie III, who tore his ACL against Georgia in the SEC title game. Major loss for the Crimson Tide if Williams cannot return. 

Georgia ties up Alabama

The first signs of life for the Bulldogs offense as Stetson Bennett hits George PIckens with a deep ball for 52 yards to the Alabama 29. They'd get closer to the end zone before the Crimson Tide stiffened and Jack Podlesny kicked a 24-yard field goal to even things at 3-3 with 12:35 left in the second quarter.

The pass to PIckens is significant as the deep ball could loosen things up for the Georgia running game that has been bogged down. Bulldogs have 11 yards on eight attempts. The ground hasn't been much better for Alabama, which has 16 yards on six carrie

Defenses dominating as Georgia, Alabama look for points

Three of the last four possessions have ended without first downs as both teams struggle to run the ball effectively and there is little time to throw. It's not a huge surprise with the talent on both defenses and this is the way things started in the SEC championship game. A feeling-out process for sure.

Georgia has one yard offense after its two drives. Stetson Bennett still has not completed a pass. It's early and things should loosen up as game wears on.

Thirty minutes of gameplay.

Twenty-six combined wins on the season.

Two of the best teams in the nation.

Zero touchdowns.

Through the first half of the National Championship game, Alabama leads Georgia 9-6 as neither team has been able to find the end zone.

The two teams are a combined 6-17 on third down, as both quarterbacks have had to contend with pestering and productive pass rushes from the other side.

Alabama's Bryce Young, the Heisman Trophy winner, has completed 15 of his 26 pass attempts for 206 yards, with the bulk of the damage being done on two second quarter chunk plays: a 61-yard catch-and-run by tight end Cameron Latu, and a 40-yard dime hauled in by wide receiver Jameson Williams. Williams, however, suffered an apparent knee injury on the play and has yet to return.

Meanwhile, Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett, who's been plagued by penalties and long third-down conditions, has completed 11 of 17 passes for 127 yards, with the highlight coming on a 52-yard completion to George Pickens. The Bennett to Pickens connection led to Georgia's first points of the evening, care of a 24-yard field goal from Jack Podlesny.

Podlsesny added a 49-yarder later in the second quarter, as the Georgia kicker is trying to go toe-to-toe with Alabama's Will Reichard who has a trio of 3-pointers himself.

In the first half Alabama outgained Georgia 216 yards to 153 — though Georgia is winning the time of possession battle, 16:08 to 13:52.

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