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September 22, 2007

Dawgs win in T-Town

Mikey Henderson caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford in overtime to lift No. 22 Georgia to a 26-23 victory over No. 16 Alabama on Saturday night.

The Crimson Tide 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 Southeastern Conference) needed one play to win it. 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.

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

Stafford completed 19-of-35 passes for 224 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and getting intercepted twice. He was excellent on third downs, helping Georgia convert 9-for-19.

The Tide (3-1, 2-1) had rallied to beat Arkansas 41-38 last week on John Parker Wilson's touchdown pass to Matt Caddell with 8 seconds left, the team's first fourth-quarter comeback win since the 2004 Independence Bowl.

This one might have been even more improbable if Alabama could have pulled it off after scoring 10 points in the final 6:30 to force overtime.

Wilson threw for 185 yards, ran for a touchdown and completed 17-of-35 passes.

Alabama's Glen Coffee was stopped for no gain on the first play of OT, then Wilson threw a pair of incompletions.

Last week's win had vaulted the Tide back into the rankings and worked already title-hungry fans into a frenzy. They were even more excited when it appeared Nick Saban's team was going to do it again, only to watch the Bulldogs celebrate instead.

Georgia nearly got the win in regulation time. Stafford got the ball back at the Bulldogs 34 with 1:09 left, and completed a couple of quick passes for a first down. After two straight incompletions, Thomas Brown ran for 8 yards.

The Bulldogs used their final timeout on fourth-and-2 from the 41 with 12 seconds left. Stafford hit Tripp Chandler across the middle for an 11-yard gain, stopping the clock with a first down. He spiked the ball to bring Brandon Coutu onto the field with 3 seconds left, but the kick went wide left by about a foot.

The Tide had started its late comeback with Tiffin's 22-yard field goal on a drive kept alive by a pass interference call on fourth-and-7.

Alabama held Georgia without a first down and got the ball back at its own 12 with 4:44 left. Wilson hit Keith Brown down the left sideline for a 43-yard gain after Brown broke free from cornerback Bryan Evans, moving into Georgia territory.

Roy Upchurch's tackle-breaking 10-yard run up the middle gave Alabama first-and-goal from the 6. Then Wilson dropped backed before quickly darting into an open lane and zig-zagging into the end zone with 1:09 left.

Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno rushed for 74 yards apiece for Georgia. Coffee and Terry Grant combined for 142 yards rushing for Georgia.



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