Both teams talked all week about their championship caliber defenses but it was the back-and-forth struggle between their offenses which made this SEC Championship Game the best in its 21-year history. There was something for every fan — big hits by both defenses, special teams plays (all on the Bulldogs’ side) and clutch plays offensively.
In the end, the national television audience was dazzled by quarterbacks Aaron Murray and AJ McCarron, who brought their teams back from the brink of defeat time and again. While McCarron got a huge assist from his running backs, it was his bomb to Amari Cooper that provided the game-winning points. And not to be outdone, Murray got a second chance after an interception was overturned in the final moments and led his team inside the Alabama 5. Both teams put on a show to remember.
If there was a sound game plan for the Alabama offense in the first half, Georgia must have had a copy because the Tide got away from what it does best and seemed to help the Bulldogs at every turn.
There were times in the first half when offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s insistence on throwing the ball with quick, short routes seemed more logical for the Pac-12 Championship Game than the SEC. With 5:04 left in the first half, Nussmeier apparently got the reminder — UA ran on five of six plays to tie the game and four of five plays (although two were QB scrambles) for a 10-7 halftime lead. The Tide continued the plan in the second half, pounding the Bulldog defense for 350 rushing yards to pull out the victory.
By the Numbers
7 — Forced fumbles by Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones this season, including the first one in the SEC Championship Game with his hit on Tide QB AJ McCarron.
8 — Appearances in the SEC Championship Game by Alabama, which includes meetings with Florida in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2008 and 2009.
18 — Rushing first downs by Alabama, which is an SEC Championship Game record.
23 — SEC titles won by Alabama, including those in the SEC Championship Game victories of 1992, 1999, 2009 and 2012.
48 — Wins in 48 games by Alabama since 2008 when rushing for at least 150 yards.
334 — Combined rushing yards by Alabama tailbacks Eddie Lacy (181) and T.J. Yeldon (153), the best rushing tandem in SEC Championship Game history.