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Georgia makes most of its shot in overtime

On team's first play in extra session, Stafford throws a 25-yard touchdown pass to beat No. 16 Alabama, 26-23.

September 23, 2007|From the Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Matthew Stafford and Mikey Henderson crashed No. 16 Alabama's latest celebration, and touched off one of their own.

Henderson caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to lift No. 22 Georgia to a 26-23 overtime victory over the Crimson Tide in Southeastern Conference game Saturday.

"When you make plays you erase the what-ifs," Henderson said. "He gave me a perfect ball and I caught it."

The Crimson Tide (3-1, 2-1) started overtime with the ball but failed to gain a yard and Leigh Tiffin put Alabama ahead with a 42-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1) needed one play to win it. After faking a handoff, Stafford lofted a pass to the left side of the end zone for Henderson, who made an over-the-shoulder catch and ended the Tide's hopes of a second straight dramatic victory.

Georgia Coach Mark Richt said he felt good about the play when he saw the safeties creeping up to defend the run, leaving the receivers in man-to-man coverage.

"Matthew threw a beautiful ball," Richt said. "When [Henderson] caught it, I dropped my playbook and started celebrating.

"A game like this makes it all worthwhile. Rings and trophies are nice but the memories we made tonight are going to last a lifetime."

Henderson's first career touchdown catch was a big one for a team that was flirting with its first 0-2 SEC start since 1993.

"We just tried to give Mikey a chance," said Stafford, who completed 19 of 35 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. "He's a speed guy who would just kind of burst by them. I just tried to get him the ball and he ended up making the play for me."

Stafford was excellent on third downs, helping Georgia convert nine of 19 and keep the ball nearly nine minutes longer than Alabama..

"I think the biggest difference in the game was time of possession and their ability to keep the ball," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said. "It was really a problem in the first half."

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