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