Alabama wins SEC Championship in epic thriller


Alabama is headed back to the BCS National Championship in back-to-back seasons with a 32-28 victory over the Bulldogs – a mere five yards stood between Georgia and a thrilling victory.

For Georgia fans it hurts, but for the SEC it was an epic game that will be remembered by all, including the rest of the country.

Sheldon Richardson called it old man football.  We’ll call it big boy football, power football.  It was like two Big Horn sheep fighting and butting heads to get a chance to play Notre Dame in Miami, and neither team would budge.

What it means:  With the victory, Alabama will move on to play the Irish for all the marbles, reaching the national championship for the third time in the last four years, while Georgia likely falls to the Capital One Bowl, Cotton Bowl, or the Outback Bowl.  Bama will stay at #2 in the BCS rankings tomorrow when they come out, and it sets up to be a great national championship game against two teams that are very similar and built around defense.

What I liked:  This was power football at its best.  Both defenses knew what was coming, and both were vulnerable to the running game because of the physical play of all the running backs.  Todd Gurley, Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon were fabulous, and this game was all about why the SEC is such a powerful conference: physical, power running games.

The game itself probably topped the Alabama-LSU game earlier this season as the best game in the SEC for 2012.  No doubt, this will be remembered for a long, long time.  Usually the SEC Championship turns into a two touchdown or more victory, but not this one.

You have to hand it to both teams, because neither panicked in times of trouble or adversity.  Down 21-10 in the third quarter and with all the momentum on the Bulldogs’ sideline, no one on the Bama sideline panicked.  The Tide answered the bell with back-to-back touchdowns to go ahead 25-21.  Then Georgia answered with a touchdown to jump back up 28-25.  Then, Bama threw the haymaker with Amari Cooper’s 45-yard touchdown reception that ended up being the difference.

Both teams played their hearts out, and neither deserved to walk off the field a loser. Georgia could have had better clock management with time winding down, though.

Who’s the man:  How about who are the men?  Alabama running backs Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon combined for 334 yards and three touchdowns.  The Tide’s running game amassed 350 yards on the ground.  Alabama was 48-0 entering today’s game when rushing for over 150 yards.  They hit that mark in the second quarter.  And while some will criticize Aaron Murray or Mark Richt for their inability to win the big game and make plays on offense, it was all about Georgia’s run defense, or lack thereof, that eventually took a toll on the team in the second half.

Key play:  Alabama’s running game was cranking, but AJ McCarron’s 45-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter with a little over three minutes left was a massive play.  McCarron finished 13 of 21 for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Cooper, bothered by an ankle, was the Tide’s only deep threat entering the game, and he came up huge in the fourth quarter. This play-action pass was possible because the Tide were running the ball at will.

What’s next:  Notre Dame gets Alabama, and Georgia will go bowling likely at the Outback, Cotton or Capital One, with Florida sliding into the other BCS at-large for the SEC.  Notre Dame probably matches up better with Alabama than Georgia, but I wonder what they are thinking in Irish land tonight?

Can we just get Alabama and Georgia to play a rematch in January?

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports



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  • What a game. What a season in the SEC. I feel bad for Notre Dame. Saban now has 5 weeks to prepare for them. Let’s go ahead and call it… 3 BCS Championships in 4 years? That’s just absurd.

  • Great game, I’m not mad or sad at all by our lost. If anything, we gave it our all and I’m proud of the way it turned out. Roll Tide and Beat Notre Dame. Glory glory to ole’ SEC!

  • Gotta give props to UGA for playing Bama one helluva game. Too bad both teams couldn’t walk away winners. Now it’s on to South Beach! Here’s hoping Bama can stir up some echoes of their own! We still owe the Golden Domers for ’73! RTR and congrats to Bama for a big win!

  • Not gonna lie. I’m sad about the loss. When connely caught the ball I caught myself saying no no no as I watched the clock wind down. So close but so far. I wanted a win for those guys so bad. I’m just a big dawg fan and I knew they had a lot of pride and emotion in the team this year. One more play and they could’ve won the game BUT one more play and they could’ve lost too. Was an awesome game truthfully and I think Murray proved he can play with the big boys. The rush defense is ultimately what killed us I believe. Kudos to Alabama. I’m still proud of the dawgs because so many doubted them and they came so close.

    • I believed Bama would win, but not by 20 or anything like that (I didn’t believe Bama would cover the spread and I was right). Murray did indeed prove he can play with the big boys, and it’s too bad someone had to lose. Helluva game by two true quality programs. Both teams had some questionable stuff going on (missed calls on both teams, clock management both sides), but it was awesome (even though I was in mental anguish for most of it). Gurley and Yeldon will both be fun to watch again for the next 2 years, no?

      • No doubt about that. Alabama made me eat my words last night. We were watching the game and it was during the 3rd quarter right after the blocked kick and I said “well Im liking when they run Yeldon. We’ve been able to contain him a lot better than Lacy.” and then Georgia proceeded to have them run the football down their throats. It was an awesome game and was going to be a heartbreaker for either side. Going into the game I didnt know what to expect. When we had Alabama go 3 and out on the opening drive I finally started to feel like it was going to be a real slug fest. Definitely look forward to seeing Gurley/Marshall and our Oline play some physical ball in the coming years.

  • T loved the game. The ending killed me though. Hopefully people wont judge Aaron Murray after a game like that. RTR…………..

  • Fantastic game! If you are not a BAMA fan, you usually hate us BUT I’m hoping our SEC brethren rally behind us. GA has NOTHING to be ashamed of…great performance…we just got lucky. BAMA is dominant right doubt..and we ate on the losing side of this ND rivalry…but NICK don’t take that type of BS well….ROLL TIDE…ROLL!!~

  • Not a big Alabama fan but when it comes to the BCS Championship this year, I say: Roll Tide.

  • I’m so proud of the way our guys played tonight. Both teams were incredible. Even though we lost, Georgia can go home knowing that they played like true champions. Win or lose, glory glory to ole’ Georgia.

  • What a great game — best SECCG in a while. Sixty minutes of smash-mouth, grown-man football. While I wish the outcome had been different, Georgia played its best game of the year last night and should be proud for taking the game to the final second. They left it all on the field; hats off to Murray, the OL, and Gurley for hreat performances. In the end, though, Bama’s OL took control and won the game.That by far was a better game than he national championship game will be. Notre Dame should be wetting their pants and wringing them out in their shiney golden helmets right now. Take care of business, Bama, and bring #7 back to the SEC.

  • Jon Cooper, I will agree with your key play being the 45 TD pass to Amari Cooper for the go ahead TD. But I would also like to throw in The decision to go for the 2 pointer in the 3rd, and getting it. That was a massive decision on Nick Saban and pulling it off could have sealed a win for Bama.

  • What a fantastic game. It was so back and forth. You often hear broadcasters say “this is like two heavyweights!” Well, this really was. Each offense got to do whatever they wanted to the other defense and it became a game of ‘who makes less mistakes’. The officiating was painful to watch though. For both sides. The quite illegal hit on Aaron Murray 5 yards infront of an official, the magically “tipped” passed that led to a blocked FG/TD. And that’s not including a few other little things.

    • I keep thinking the very same things. Yeah, that hit on Murray was cheap (and should have been called), but UGA got away with pass interference on the “tipped” pass as well as a block in the back on a punt return (I know they got called for one, but there was another…). True enough though, both teams deserved a shot at the game and they both played well. ROLL TIDE, ROLL!!!

  • What else can be said? What an amazing game! That game was tougher on me than the loss to A&M earlier in the year! While Gurley had a great game (and I truly respect what he and Marshall have done for the UGA running game all year), I have been wondering why so many people yell “GURSHALL” when Bama has a pair of running backs that are probably just as talented. Maybe “GURSHALL” just sounds better than “YELCY” or “LADON”. Serioulsy, though – my hat’s off to both teams, and both coaches. I hate that UGA probably won’t get a chance to play a BCS bowl game. I think they are a far superior team to UF (even though the UGA-UF score didn’t reflect that), and even beat UF head-to-head.

  • I’ll admit, I just about had a heart attack watching the last few minutes of the game. I jumped and whooped and hollered when that interception got overturned. I also just about cried when Georgia didn’t make that last minute touchdown. What’s done is done, and come January, I’ll be happily shouting Roll Tide Roll

  • Can you imagine if UGA’s kicker would have made that FG earlier in the game. We would have been down by 1 in Alabama’s territory…

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