Bama’s runners, Saban’s gaffe and a classic SEC title game

Georgia's Marshall Morgan's toe meets leather to start the game. (AJC photo by Ben Gray)

Georgia's Marshall Morgan's toe meets leather to start the SEC title game. (AJC photo by Ben Gray)

This post is an adjunct to the game column, which can be found here.

1. Alabama shattered the SEC Championship game record for yards rushing. The Tide ran for 350 yards, with two backs — game MVP Eddie Lacy and backup T.J. Yeldon — each going way over 100. (Lacy had 181, Yeldon 153.) And it was, almost inevitably, the fear of the Alabama ground game that spawned the Tide’s winning touchdown. AJ McCarron threw deep to Amari Cooper, who had run past Damain Swann, for the winning touchdown with 3:15 to play. But Alabama couldn’t run out the clock inside the final two minutes, and it nearly cost the Tide the game.

2. Even the best in the business sometimes whiffs. Alabama coach Nick Saban waited until five seconds remained in the first half to use his first timeout. After converting on third-and-2 at the Georgia 39 with 42 seconds left, the Crimson Tide allowed the clock to tick under 30 seconds before snapping the ball again. AJ McCarron’s 22-yard scramble to the Georgia 5 came too late for the Tide to do anything but kick a field goal, which put Bama ahead — but by three points, not seven.

3. This SEC Championship game matchup was one of the best in the event’s 21-year history. The 1994 pairing of No. 6 Florida versus No. 3 Alabama has always been considered a high point by conference insiders, given that it was the first time the game had been staged in the Georgia Dome and the game itself — Florida won 24-23 — was a stone-cold classic. The two No. 1 against No. 2 games between Alabama and Florida — the Gators won in 2008, the Tide in 2009 — are likewise high points, but this game featured No. 2 against No. 3 in a BCS play-in, and it also featured two storied programs that had never collided in such a setting. No wonder tickets were reselling for crazy money. Gary Stokan of the Chick-fil-A Bowl spoke to an Alabama booster club in Atlanta on Thursday and witnessed four tickets for Saturday’s game auctioned for $7,000. (Oh, and the game itself: The best SEC Championship ever.)

By Mark Bradley

323 comments Add your comment

somedawg

December 1st, 2012
7:59 pm

Still Love my Dawgs!

irishlady

December 1st, 2012
8:09 pm

This was the best game of the year! Those Dawgs were tough (nice game Georgia)! However, there can only be one winner and one SEC Championship team….ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!

Clay

December 1st, 2012
8:11 pm

Spike. The. Ball.

L_Dawg

December 1st, 2012
8:15 pm

Let the “fire CMR” comments begin !!!

[...] analysis: Alabama 32, Georgia 28ESPN (blog)CBSSports.com (blog) -al.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 938 news [...]

Tim Scott

December 1st, 2012
8:16 pm

Best game of the year!! Congrats to Alabama. My hat is off to CMR and the Georgia Bulldogs on a great season,wish it had been my Gators playing but you earned it. Heartbreaker but you had a great season and should be proud.

GaDawg97

December 1st, 2012
8:16 pm

Coulda, woulda, shoulda, but didn’t. Now it’s on to the chicken sandwich bowl.

Dawgbroken

December 1st, 2012
8:16 pm

Great game but someone needs to say it……not spiking the ball at the end was the dumbest call EVER. It cost us two shots at the win. The boy’s should be proud but the coach let them down at the end. Just calling at as I see it.

dawglova

December 1st, 2012
8:16 pm

We had it. No spike because they had plays already called. Still will always love my dawgs and anybody with negative bs to say can go to hell. Dawgs played there asses off and hearts out. Just ran out of time. Most gut wrenching loss I have ever seen.

Hillbilly D

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

I just can’t comprehend $7K to watch a ballgame.

Tears

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

Poor DAWGIES! Hope your makeup is running! Suck on it Baccari!!!

Scooter

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

Great game, but the result was what I expected. Just a lot closer than I thought it would be.

Brent Layfield

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

Enter your comments here

Dawgbroken

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

Great game but someone needs to say it……not spiking the ball at the end was the dumbest call EVER. It cost us two shots at the win. The boy’s should be proud but the coach let them down at the end. Just calling it as I see it.

idaho Bulldog

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

Proud of our dawgs They played their hearts out and left it all on the field! Don’t hang your heads! You will go down as one of the greatest teams in Georgia History! Thank you for your efforts! Go Dawgs!!! woof ,woof sic ‘em!!

silentmajority

December 1st, 2012
8:17 pm

SEC football at its finest. Could have gone either way. Tough loss for the Dawgs, best of luck to the Tide. Bring home another NC for the SEC. Also, note to Tide Roll, please spare us the racist rant about why UGA lost this game. Just STFU and appreciate a great game between 2 equally integrated teams.

Michael

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

After the completion to the TE to the 15, one camera angle caught Aaron Murray running up to the line of scrimmage and signaling that he was going to spike the ball.

The ball was not spiked to stop the clock. Why?

Amanda

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

This game me a nervious wreck! Still love my Dawgs they played a great game and could have won! Best game of the year! Now I’ll be sticking with my SEC family and be cheering on Alabama against ND. SEC!SEC!SEC!

Big Enos Burdette

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

I feel like a gut with the crap slung out of it

GaDawg97

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

Most talent, but no nc again. 32 years and counting. Hopefully AM goes pro…

Keith

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

L_Dawg

December 1st, 2012
8:15 pm

Let the “fire CMR” comments begin !!!

That’s a bunch of BS. He did a very good job this year. They played a very good game against an excellent Alabama team.

Roy

December 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

Georgia played a heck of a game. But you have to wonder what this loss will do to the psyche of the UGA players for next year. They were so close this year and just didn’t get it done. Most of the defense is gone, King, Brown are gone on offense, etc. UGA is likely headed to the Cotton Bowl. SC will go to the Capital One, LSU is headed for the Outback, and Florida is headed to the Sugar.

Smitty

December 1st, 2012
8:19 pm

Proud to be a Dawg….two best teams in America played today

Hmmm

December 1st, 2012
8:19 pm

Murray is a bad sport!!!

Waa....waa.....waaaaahhhhhh...........

December 1st, 2012
8:19 pm

Poor little Dawggie fans you can go cry your eyes out on the way back to Loser-ville, Athens that is……..THE REAL CHAMPIONS WON TONIGHT…..oh and Murray hope you remember that lick we laid on you for a long long time…….

The Hammer

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

Only UGA would throw to a guy on the five yard line with five seconds to go.

This is why the team deserves to lose. Why even run that route?

G tech

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

You guys should not be upset, you know and I know, this is what your teams do. Next up in the losers bracket is the Failcants. I told you guys, Georgia only made it to the championship game, because they avoided Lsu and bama. They played in that weak eastern conference. Every time they at the big boys, they get whipped, ala Lsu last year

Vince

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

What pathetic game management in the last 15 seconds!!!!!!

Big Gator

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

Lets see, how many Sec championship game have UGA lost now? hold your head up UGA you are east champs ha, ha, again, I guess it will be another 35 years you before play for the Nat.
Oh by the way us Gators will be in the Sugar while you are in the Capitol one bowl.

Maybe if you had LSU, Ala on your schedule during the year, instead of playing them every 5 years you may have won one by now.

BamaStan

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

Close, but still LOSERS. ThuGA.

Scooter

December 1st, 2012
8:20 pm

gapeach1

December 1st, 2012
8:21 pm

Still proud to be a dog fan! I don’t think the national championship game will be this exciting. Do you think that bama player that had a helmet-to-helmet with Murray will get suspended for a game? Seeing as he is a player from Alabama….probably not. I would love to see refs from another conference next year.

Buckeye

December 1st, 2012
8:21 pm

dogs,

Welcome (again) to post-season irrelevance.

GaDawg00

December 1st, 2012
8:21 pm

Great game could have been better if refs call the game equal. So many non calls, but how does a ref less than five yards away not flag the hit on Murray?

Buckeye

December 1st, 2012
8:21 pm

dogs,

Mark your calendars. #1 come February.

G tech

December 1st, 2012
8:21 pm

Go lick your wounds, the Failcants are next, bank on it.

The Hammer

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

In other words, Mark Richt is to blame. He’s the only one incompetent enough to call such a stupid play. Why even put a receiver in a position to lose the game? WHY?

bulldog

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

Bulldogs are going to the Peach Bowl aka Chick-Fil-A Bowl. It is not the National Championship game but it is as close as they can come to any championship bowl. If you do not win the SEC championship game, you are losers same as last year. Maybe 2018 (hint: 1942, 19080).

Vince

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

A flair pass to the 5 yard line with 9 seconds left—-Such genius!!!

Britt

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

Magnificent football game. However, spike the ball and throw for the end zone might have made it even more interesting there at the end. Incredible game though. I think ‘Bama will be a good rep for the SEC in the BCS Championship Game.

idaho Bulldog

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

@ dawgbroken it does seem like spiking the ball would be the right thing but they were having a lot of success in hurryup mode don’t fault them for that decision if they would have scored we’d be saying what a genius decision. Two great teams one winner. I’m kinda broken too! Go dawgs!

icedawg

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

Good old man smash mouth football but we’re used to losing the big ones.

BamaStan

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

Smity, have a chicken sandwich for me!

Buckeye

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

dogs,

I’ll tune into watch dogs v Michigan or dogs v Texas.

Who Cares?!?

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

hahahahah

wait, wait…

ok…

hahhahaha

dawglova

December 1st, 2012
8:22 pm

Murray played as well as he ever has. The defense got gassed and the best oline in the game did their thing. Not being able to stop the run lost the game…not Murray.He is the reason we almost won

Doubtful Dawg

December 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

Will we EVER win another big one? How could we miss on this chance with all this talent on the field? I feel sorry for Murray. He played a heck of a game, but it didn’t look to me like the offense was prepared for that final scenario.

Ho hum. Back to mediocrity-land.

Buckeye

December 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

dogs,

Look forward to the AP.

BamaGirl

December 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

Bama Wins 32-28. Think it’s been decided who the best team is. On the the National Championship for the 2nd year in a row! Now, for all those Georgia fans that were calling me names last week, like trailer trash and toothless inbred brother and father lover, just because I’m a Bama fan, you can kiss my Crimson Tide!

GA REDCOATS fan

December 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

Quinton Dial should be suspended for that nasty hit on Aaron Murray. That was horrible to watch…and what’s with that ref right behind them not calling the foul? Besides that it was a great game and certainly not an easy win for AL.