Alabama star wide receiver John Metchie III tore his ACL in Saturday’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban confirmed during his Cotton Bowl press conference on Sunday. Metchie suffered the injury late in the first half after turning back on a route and appearing to have his knee pop. He was able to walk off the field under his own power but did not return in the second half.
Metchie missing time would be a huge hit to Alabama’s offense and, not to mention, his NFL Draft stock. The native of Canada had 96 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns in the 13 games this year.
Despite Metchie’s absence, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young put together a legendary performance against the top-ranked Georgia defense. Young threw for 421 yards — an SEC title game record — three touchdowns and rushed for another score. Heading into the game, Georgia’s defense had not allowed more than 17 points.
With Metchie sidelined Ja’Corey Brooks, who caught the game-tying touchdown in the final minute of regulation in the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn, will likely take on more of a role outside for the Crimson Tide. Brooks stepped up against Auburn after Williams was disqualified for targeting in the first half. Slade Bolden, who has 333 receiving yards this season, will likely also take on more responsibility. Saban and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien also could get tight ends Cameron Latu and Jahleel Billingsley more involved in the game plan as well.
No. 1 Alabama is set to meet No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl semifinal on Friday, Dec. 31 in Arlington, Texas.