Football

Georgia Dome hosts its final college game

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and team enter the field the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football playoff game between Alabama and Washington, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Atlanta.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and team enter the field the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football playoff game between Alabama and Washington, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Atlanta. AP

Saturday’s Peach Bowl and College Football Playoff semifinal between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington marked the final college football game that will be played at the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons.

Taking the dome’s place after the Falcons’ season ends will be Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will be located directly south of where the Georgia Dome currently sits. The $1.4 billion stadium has been under construction since May 2014 and is expected to be completed by June 1.

The Georgia Dome has been the home of the Atlanta Falcons and the Peach Bowl since 1992, and the Southeastern Conference Championship Game has been played at the stadium every year since 1994.

But over the past few years, it has also felt like the unofficial second home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Alabama has played 10 games inside the Georgia Dome since Nick Saban took over as the Crimson Tide’s coach in 2007. Included in those games are six SEC championships, of which Alabama won five.

“This place definitely feels like home — a home away from home — because we’re here so often,” Alabama punter JK Scott said last week. “We like this stadium.”

Alabama was part of the final two college football games in the Georgia Dome, with the other being its 54-16 win over Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 3.

The Crimson Tide will also participate in the first college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when it opens its 2017 campaign there against Florida State on Sept. 2.

Saturday’s game was Washington’s first at the Georgia Dome.

HONORARY CAPTAINS

Former Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland and former Washington safety Lawyer Milloy were named honorary captains for the Peach Bowl.

Ragland was part of two national title teams during his time at Alabama (2012, 2015). He capped his four-year stint with the Crimson Tide as the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year as well as being tabbed a unanimous All-American.

He was drafted in the second round by the Buffalo Bills in the 2016 NFL Draft but has not played this season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during training camp.

Milloy was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the best defensive back in the country, following the 1995 season.

The New England Patriots took Milloy with the sixth overall pick of the 1996 draft, the start of a 15-year career in which he made it to four Pro Bowls, earned two All-Pro recognitions and won a Super Bowl (with the Patriots).

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