“We had a lot of opportunities, moved the ball relatively well. We did some stuff well. We didn’t execute, and at the end of the day, that’s on me,” said Young, who threw the ball a season-high 57 times and was sacked four times.
In Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC championship game a month ago, Young wasn’t sacked a single time. But he was pressured relentlessly Monday and took as many hits as he has all season. Nonetheless, Young lamented the fact that he was unable to make more plays for his teammates. That’s despite Young carrying the Tide for much of the season en route to winning the Heisman Trophy in just his first season as their starter.
“I love my guys. I’ll forever love my guys. I wouldn’t trade my guys for anything,” Young said. “And … it’s a little tough that I let them down today. But I love those guys and they stepped up. Adversity has been our thing all year. I’ve just gotta do better with it.”
Young played most of the game without his top two receivers. John Metchie tore his ACL in the SEC championship, and Jameson Williams injured his knee early in the second quarter Monday after catching a 50-yard pass and was unable to return to the game.
Metchie and Williams combined for 23 touchdown receptions this season, and with his top two playmakers gone, Young was unable to take advantage of the Georgia secondary the way he did in the first game against the Dawgs when he set an SEC championship game record with 461 yards of total offense. He passed for three touchdowns and ran for another touchdown in that game.
“We worked tremendously hard, and the guys around me, they all worked super hard, and I don’t feel like they deserve this,” Young said. “So it’s something that I have to take from. And I’m just proud of my guys. I love my guys, every one of them, both sides of the ball. I wish I could have been better for them tonight.”
Alabama moved the ball against Georgia’s defense and hit some big plays, but struggled to finish drives. Three different times in the game, the Tide had first downs inside the Georgia 20-yard line and could muster only field goals. Two of those were first-and-goal situations inside the 10.
“Just didn’t execute, one reason or another,” Young said of the Tide’s inability to score touchdowns. “Didn’t execute, and ball touches my hands every play. It’s my job to put the ball into the end zone.”
Young had thrown only five interceptions all season, but he threw two against Georgia — one of those was returned 79 yards for a touchdown by Kelee Ringo in the game’s final minute.
Young said Georgia’s defense changed some things around and gave the Tide different looks.
“Some looks took me a little bit just to get down,” he said. “The O-line battled and fought all day, all season, and some of that stuff may look like, may look interior, may look like scheme, but there’s a lot I have to do with that. And I think that they switched up some stuff, had different tendencies. And I have to process that faster, just make the right play for the team better than I did tonight.”