Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Battle of the quarterbacks: Predicting who will take his team to victory in the SEC championship

CW/ Natalie Teat
Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (#4) warms up before facing Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25 in Auburn, Ala.

After 31 years of the 14-team SEC, the final football championship before Texas and Oklahoma join the conference will be held between No. 1 Georgia and No. 8 Alabama.  

At the start of the 2023 football season, it was not clear if either team would make it to the SEC Championship. The changes in the starting quarterbacks could be one reason for that.  

In the first couple of games, Alabama and Georgia fans were skeptical about their starting quarterbacks and if they could lead their team to another national championship title.  

Alabama’s Jalen Milroe and Georgia’s Carson Beck had big shoes to fill this season when the teams’ past quarterbacks were drafted into the NFL. Milroe took the place of the first-round draft pick and 2021 Heisman winner, Bryce Young, while Beck replaced the 2022 top five Heisman finalist and back-to-back national champion Stetson Bennett.  

Both quarterbacks had a slow start. In the first three games of the season, Beck was 71-96 in passing attempts, 846 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception. Milroe was 27-45 in passing attempts, 449 passing yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions; he was also benched the third week against South Florida for backup quarterback Tyler Buchner.  

People thought Alabama’s dynasty had finally ended and Georgia’s extensive streak win was soon to be over, but things soon started picking up for both football teams.  

Milroe found his rhythm after that dreadful loss to Texas on Sept. 9 and is now 158-238 in passing attempts and has 2,526 passing yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.  

“We look at it as a learning moment, do not dwell on that moment, but also acknowledging what are some things and corrections that we need to make as a football team,” Milroe said of the loss to Texas.  

Milroe has shown how well he can run the ball under pressure with an impressive 108 carries, 332 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. His streak did not stop there. Milroe set a school record for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single game with four against the LSU Tigers.  

Alabama head coach Nick Saban could not speak more highly of Milroe and how he has become a leader on the team.  

“It’s always the goal your team grows and develops. … Obviously I think this team started sort of not like we wanted … but I think a lot of guys made a huge difference in the development of this team,” Saban said. “Jalen’s growth and development and confidence, ability to execute, take what the defense gives, sort of transformed our offense.” 

While Georgia has not experienced a loss like Alabama, that does not mean it has not struggled in the quarterback department.  

Beck received some online criticism for his performance in Georgia’s season opener against UT-Martin, but it seems like he has found his own rhythm. He is now 268-370 in passing attempts, 3,495 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.  

Against Kentucky on Oct. 7, Beck threw for 389 yards with four touchdowns, proving he is the right person for the QB1 position. Beck is also the first quarterback under Georgia head coach Kirby Smart to have three consecutive 300-yard-plus passing games.  

“Each week as we continue to improve as a team and obviously individually, we’re just gaining confidence as an entire offense,” Beck said.  

Smart said he has full confidence in Beck’s quarterback ability and that he gets overlooked a lot.  

“He’s talented, guys, and he’s smart, and he’s a better athlete than you think,” Smart said. 

Two key parts to Beck’s impressive performance are tight end Brock Bowers and running back Daijun Edwards. Bowers, who has 661 yards receiving, and Edwards, who has 781 yards rushing, have played vital roles in Georgia’s offense.  

Alabama has a perfect record of 7-0 so far playing at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Since Saban became the head coach, Alabama is 17-1 in Atlanta (games were played at the Georgia Dome before Mercedes-Benz was built in 2017) and has won 16 straight games.  

Can the Crimson Tide keep the streak alive? Or is Georgia planning to break the streak in a victory similar to the 2022 National Championship? 

Alabama and Georgia will meet once again for the final SEC championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. CT, and from there, will determine who gets a spot in the College Football Playoff.  

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