ATHENS, Ga. -- Jake Coker ran the offense to perfection, the defense turned in a dominating performance, and No. 13 Alabama even got a touchdown from its special teams Saturday in a 38-10 rout of No. 8 Georgia that re-established the Crimson Tide as a force in the national race.
Alabama (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern) jumped ahead 24-3 at halftime and iced the victory on Georgia's first offensive play of the second half. Eddie Jackson intercepted a pass from the Bulldogs' second quarterback, Brice Ramsey, and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.
Coker, with an assist from Lane Kiffin's play-calling, completed 11 of 16 for 190 yards, passed for one touchdown, and ran for another. Derrick Henry rushed for 148 yards and scored on a 30-yard run that put Alabama ahead to stay midway through the second quarter.
Georgia (4-1, 2-1) yanked starting quarterback Greyson Lambert late in the first half, but it didn't matter. He even went back in after Ramsey threw his second interception.
For those who felt Alabama's dynasty was showing cracks after a home loss to Mississippi two weeks ago, Nick Saban and his team sent an emphatic message: The Crimson Tide is still a force in college football.
Certainly, there will be no argument from Georgia.
After going 33 of 35 in the previous two games against South Carolina and FCS opponent Southern University, Lambert was 10 of 24 for 86 yards and an interception on his final throw. Ramsey was even worse (1 of 6 for 20 yards), leaving Georgia with a huge question mark at the most prominent position on the field.
With the game tied at 3 on a rainy day between the hedges, Henry burst untouched through the middle of the line to cap an eight-play, 76-yard drive. Little did the home crowd of more than 91,000 realize, the Tide was just getting warmed up.
Minkah Fitzpatrick burst through the line to block a Georgia punt, the ball bouncing right into his arms at the 1 for an easy touchdown. Then, after Georgia went three-and-out for the sixth time in its first seven possessions, offensive coordinator Kiffin went for the jugular on his team's very next play. Coker sucked in the defense with play action and launched a 45-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley, hitting the receiver right in stride down the middle of the field.
For good measure, Coker added a 1-yard run for a touchdown that stretched Alabama's lead to 38-3 less than 5 minutes into the second half.
The steady rain sparked by Hurricane Joaquin really started coming down after halftime. Midway through the third quarter, Georgia fans were streaming toward the exits on a dreary evening that thoroughly matched the mood of the red-clad crowd in Athens.
The game was a virtual repeat of Alabama's last visit to Sanford Stadium in 2008.
In that contest, a Georgia team that started the season ranked No. 1 came out wearing black jerseys as part of a "blackout" between the hedges, only to fall behind 31-0 at halftime. It signaled the start of Saban's dominating run in Tuscaloosa, which has resulted in four conference titles and three national championships.
Alabama is still in the chase for another crown, avoiding its first 0-2 start in SEC play since 1990.
The only highlight for Georgia's was Nick Chubb's 83-yard touchdown run in the waning second of the third quarter. That provided the bulk of his 146-yard effort, which extended his streak of 100-yard games to 13 in a row.
AP college football site: www.collegefootball.ap.org