SEC Championship: Gators CB Trey Dean intercepts Alabama QB Mac Jones but fumbles it back
The Florida Gators defense needed to make a few big plays to beat No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
They got one in the first quarter — then gave it right back.
Trey Dean intercepted Mac Jones as the Crimson Tide were driving with the game tied midway through the first quarter. The Gators cornerback stole the ball from Jones' intended target and Dean the ball back on the return.
But Dean then got clobbered from his blind side on the tackle by John Metchie. DeVonta Smith recovered for Alabama, giving the Tide the ball back at the Gators' 31-yard line.
Five takeaways:Florida can't stop Alabama
Dean was down on the field after the play. He was walking around on the sideline after the play.
On the next play, Smith was wide open for Alabama's second TD in as many drives.
Smith also broke Alabama’s career receiving-yard record in the first quarter when he hit 3,488 receiving yards, passing former Crimson Tide pass-catcher Amari Cooper’s mark of 3,463 yard.
The Gators' defense will have to capitalize on their next chance, whenever it comes.
Gainesville Sun reporter Graham Hall contributed to this report.
More Gators coverage
Speed boost:Kadarius Toney brings Gators even vs. Crimson Tide
Highlights:Best plays of the SEC Championship Game
From LSU loss:Head Gator Dan Mullen takes unexpected view of the shoe toss